I Became a Hacker Thanks to the Gold Opportunity Fund, AKA Codecademy Pro Membership

Posted in: Opportunity Fund

In the post, I am going to walk you through why I decided to take this opportunity, how it might help you, and some tips I have learned for staying consistent to make the most of whatever you decide to do.

As you clever people might have guessed from the title, I decided to apply for the opportunity to gain access to a free pro account of Codecademy. Let me tell you why.

My villain origin story

I study Criminology at the University of Bath and sometime in my second year, I realized it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for a career. As much as I love reading heavy manuscripts, I felt dissatisfied and wanted to branch out into what interested me without having to spend money I didn’t have or change course and start all over. That’s about when I started getting very targeted ads on YouTube pointing me to Codecademy (probably because I was googling “computer science jobs from criminology).

I’d had a budding interest in coding since the end of school, however having not done a computer science a-level and not knowing much about the subject I decided to play to my essay writing strengths and choose criminology. So, I decided to take a look at Codecademy to see what it had to offer and was pleasantly surprised.

I’m a simple creature, I see colour, I like. I actually started on the free version which was fine for infographics and articles, but I wanted to learn practical skills that I could use. From this interest, I began to formulate an idea of my career path, I wanted to do cybercrime… I mean, analyze cybercrime. Spoiler alert, I’m currently working as a cyber crime analyst for a placement year, so I’d say it worked.

Applying yourself.

The application process was very simple for this opportunity, especially as it’s more of a low-cost course compared to some other projects.

The application goes to a panel that reviews the allocation of funds, so to receive the funding necessary you have to argue your case why you think this opportunity is relevant and beneficial to you. Furthermore, to give them an idea of pricing and a plan for how you will go about completing the opportunity.

So for this, I worked out the membership cost (£95.94 at time of purchase), specific courses on the platform I was interested in, and why exactly the pro version would be a worthwhile investment.

Overall, a very easy process. I was then informed I had received the funding, the money was given to me and I sent them a proof of purchase.

Show me the good stuff.

So, diving more into the site itself. The pro version which lasts a year was instrumental in my learning as it allowed me to practically apply the knowledge I’d learned, both embedding the knowledge in my smooth brain and teaching me interesting ways to utilize the skills taught. I think the coolest instance of this was learning how to inspect network traffic using tools professionals use.

I won’t bore you here with the details, but basically, the platform works as a catalog of things to learn. I was interested in cybersecurity, so I followed that route originally. I started on the beginner courses serving as introductions and overviews of the topic and then proceeded to follow things that specifically interested me. However, I soon found I wanted to use the platform to its highest potential, so I started branching out into coding languages like Python and JavaScript and whatever interested me.

It uses core principles of learning to give you usable knowledge. For example, it includes digestible articles, questions, examples, work guides, practice, challenges, and case studies to make sure you’re properly retaining and applying the information.


A life in the day of a real basement dwelling cyber security analyst.

So, as I mentioned I am currently on placement in Bath working at a company called Netcraft, far-flung from my theoretical/sociological essay-writing origins.

It was a 3-hour long interview and I’d say I used my knowledge from Codecademy for about 80% of it (they gave a specific course on interview techniques for the role). The platform gave me a really good starting place. Going into the interview I felt confident knowing how network systems worked, the parts of a URL, the basics of the internet, and some general knowledge about IT and cybersecurity.

I definitely gained some knowledge from it and also experienced working independently which I really struggle with. I found that tiny goals like reading one article were a good springboard into bigger goals like coding projects so I would say that is definitely my biggest tip in staying consistent.

But I fell off the horse, and you might too. And I think that’s okay. You’re going to get sidetracked or be too busy to work on it, but the important thing is it’s there and you can dive back into it anytime you want. My advice is to open up the app and try an article, if you don’t feel like it, that’s okay. Come back later that day, you might feel more up to it. Either way, you will have tried twice and that’s a win in my book.


Brendan Approved!

Overall, I would for sure recommend this opportunity, it really worked for me and helped me decide what I want to do with my life. Plus, it provides the learning experience in a fun and friendly way, with a whole community of coders behind you.

The only issue I have with the platform is that I am more inclined to auditory learning. So I think more videos and live demonstrations would further cement my knowledge. You may have to supplement the program with external resources for greater understanding which I feel dampens the effectiveness of the teaching.

I think with this opportunity, you will take away what you put in. So, if you are interested in using Codecademy to its full potential, I would say it is great value for money.

Posted in: Opportunity Fund


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