PyCon UK

Registration Office

Coding as a second career

How I found a second chance at a tech startup 20 years after opting for economics over computer science.

Susan Shindler

Tuesday 18th, 16:30 (Assembly Room)


A talk (25 minutes)

This session will tell the all too uncommon story of how I joined a tech start-up and learned to code as a plucky 40-year old.

Having opted out of studying computer science at university because I didn't fit in with the geeky, tech-loving boys in my classes, I joined the Python community 20 years later than most and taught myself through trial, error and a lot of Stack Overflow searches.

I'll explain why people still do a double-take when they hear I'm a tech start-up COO, why a career doesn’t have to be a straight line, and why an analytical mindset, not an engineering background, is key for learning to program.

I'll reflect on what could have persuaded a young me to give computer science a go, explain why kids having smartphones and RaspberryPis to play with at home hasn't solved this problem, and challenge attendees to commit to mentoring someone in their life who has never coded before.


  • The speaker suggested this session is suitable for new programmers.
  • The speaker suggested this session is suitable for teachers.
  • The speaker suggested this session is suitable for data scientists.

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