Your safety is important! Find all the details of our response to COVID-19 ❯

“Design and programming are linked. Here’s how one led me to the other.”

Hanna Mazur was a designer by trade. A coding bootcamp opened new doors to her.
copyright Hanna Mazur
copyright Hanna Mazur
Andrea Tallarita
Andrea Tallarita

Many who take a coding bootcamp do so because they feel unhappy with their current job, or with their salary, or both. Hanna Mazur’s motivations were different.

She enjoyed her work as a product designer for startups, but there was a recurring thought that bothered her. “I knew the principles by which the products I worked on were designed,” she tells me today, “but I didn’t know anything about how they actually worked.”

Hanna had come into the world of professional product design by an irregular path. Originally from Donetsk, Ukraine, she had moved to Belarus not long after the Russian invasion of 2014. In Minsk, she got involved with the vibrant local tech scene, repurposing her academic skills in economics and cybernetics to do designer work on games and health apps. Eventually she moved to Berlin in 2019, where she continued her work in the same field.

“The thing about working with startups,” she explains to me, “is that you collaborate first-hand with the developers. They don’t have a separate department, or someone mediating for their team, or anything like that. It’s just you and them, talking face to face.”

It was precisely this close level of collaboration that allowed Hanna to realise just how intimately the work of modern design is related to that of coding.

Two professional programmer cooperating and working on web site project in a software developing on desktop computer at company, codes and typing data code, Programming with HTML, PHP and javascript.
Adobe Stock / Freedomz

“We would come up with ideas together, and tackle the fundamental question of how things can be done, how they can be implemented. But I realized that their work had its own set of rules, which were different from mine. I began to grow curious.

“As I worked, I started to look into what coding was about – although slowly at first, one step at a time. I read a little bit of the documentation behind the work we did, I checked out a few introductions on YouTube. I also talked to the many developers around me. I asked them what developing was like, which tools they used, if their work made them happy.”

The shared environment of design and development played a part in Hanna’s decision to learn to code – but ultimately, the deciding factor came from within.

“The shift in my interest was very gradual – there was never an ‘a-ha!’ moment. But I think what really captivated me, what proved decisive once I first tried my hand at programming, was a feeling that isn’t easy to find elsewhere. When you crack a difficult problem, when you solve it using your logical powers, you feel happy. You feel proud of yourself. That’s what really got me.”

Once she had committed to becoming a developer, her experience with startups proved a great advantage. “I was not intimidated by the world of programming,” she says with a shrug. “I had worked with these people for years. I knew how things were.”

And so Hanna, by then living in Berlin, approached the world of coding methodically. She tried learning by herself, quickly ascertained that the method was inefficient, and so researched her options for structured education, taking advantage of her many friends in the sector.

Eventually her choice fell on the WBS CODING SCHOOL Web & App Development bootcamp. “The 15 weeks duration was longer than most other options. And the technologies it taught were exactly what I was looking for.”

Berlin Cathedral. German Berliner Dom. A famous landmark on the Museum Island in Mitte, Berlin, Germany.
Berlin, where Hanna moved to – Adobe Stock / Photocreo Bednarek

Thus, after 15 weeks of intensive training, Hanna once again found herself working for a start-up – but this time in the role she had previously watched from the outside. “I am more of a hybrid worker now,” she explains. “I work as a developer, but I keep in mind the design and the overall goals of the product. When I write code, I do so with an understanding of how it will affect the user experience.

“Aside from the work itself though, it’s nice to be able to speak to developers as a developer. It’s like having learned a whole new language, but one which was already at the heart of my own work.”

So in the end, did the developer overwrite the designer in her heart? Has she given up on design work to follow this new path?

“No. Design thinking will always be with me, for the same reason that drew me to development in the first place – the two disciplines are linked. Design work was about finding generalized solutions, and then iterating and testing them until we had the product we wanted. This approach isn’t just useful in programming – it’s a good mental framework to have in everyday life.”

On those grounds, her advice to other designers is not necessarily that they should switch fields or that they should follow her same path. But she does have one recommendation for everyone: “To always experiment. In our career, as in life, we should not be afraid of failure. It is by making mistakes that we learn new things, and it is through this experience that we eventually find our own path.”

And that, no doubt, holds true whether your path is in design, in programming, or in anything else.

Hanna Mazur completed the WBS CODING SCHOOL Web & App Development bootcamp in April 2022, and is presently employed as Backend Developer with an early-stage startup.

Do you also want to change your career?

Related articles

You are your best investment.

Need more information?

We're Here
To Assist You

Get in touch with us, and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.

*This field is required.
Thank you very much for your inquiry.

We will get back to you as soon as possible.