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84: Find out if you’ve got what it takes for a career in coding – with Chris Hill of Northcoders


The Career Farm Podcast Episode 84 - Find out if you've got what it takes for a career in tech - with Chris Hill of Northcoders

My guest in this month’s podcast is Chris Hill, co-founder of Northcoders, the North’s original coding school.

Chris and I talked about the burgeoning opportunities in the digital economy and how a good grounding in coding can be the key to accessing them. If you’ve ever wondered whether the tech world might hold some promise for you, listen to my interview with Chris.


Chris’s goal is to see a Northcoders presence in every major city in the North of England. Given the potential for growth in the tech sector, which now involves almost every business in the modern world, this seems achievable.

The rapid expansion of the digital world is often referred to as the next industrial revolution and the UK is at the heart of it, just as it was during the first industrial revolution. The UK digital sector is currently creating jobs at twice the rate of the wider economy.

Career Farm podcast episode 84 - The northern digital manifesto

Getting Started

Chris is himself a career changer, having started his working life in restaurant management. (His business partner, James, was an actuary.) After signing up for a software boot camp in London, both began new careers in software development while at the same time they saw a large geographical gap in the market.

They realised that the North of the country lacked the facilities and opportunities to learn coding and develop technical skills that were available in London. Yet 50-75% of northern employers reportedly struggle to fill technical positions. After spotting this need in the market, setting up the Manchester business was the next logical step.

The Career Farm Podcast episode 84 - Northcoders


Northcoders draws a broad range of candidates from varied industries, from supermarket workers to accountants to mums returning to the workplace. With so much diversity, it’s hard to specify an ideal candidate. Many people will be working in careers where the skills they will need in coding have never been tested. That's why, according to Chris, the best way to determine if coding is for you is to try it. If you like being creative, working hard and solving problems, that’s a good start - but the important thing is that you enjoy it.

Northcoders sets a brief test so candidates can see if they have an aptitude for coding before they commit to invest time, energy and resources in the course, which for most leads to total career change. Northcoders concentrates on teaching JavaScript, which provides a solid baseline for most tech positions. The courses are structured over 12-weeks, divided into 2-week blocks so candidates consolidate their learning at regular intervals along the way.

Or, you can find out more about coding with a Northcoders taster session.


So far, 93% of the Northcoders grads are working in software development and Northcoders have a dedicated team to help match candidates with jobs. Chris is determined to work with Northcoders graduates until they find jobs in the digital industry.

The Future

With growth across the digital world set to continue and with increasing automation and AI, Chris sees the role for coding skills as remaining robust. The human element is still the most important and coders are needed across all sectors to write the code for those machines.

To contact Chris, go to the Northcoders website, call them, or drop them an email to [email protected]




Chris's favourite business tools for productivity:




Chris’s favourite business books:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz

Growing a Business: Strategies for Leaders and Entrepreneurs, by Rupert Merson

Thanks again to Chris for taking the time to be interviewed and for sharing his expertise so generously.

What do you think?

Whether this is the first episode you've come across, or if you've listened to all 84 (!) I would love to hear your feedback. Reviews on iTunes are hugely important to the success of the show, so I would be incredibly grateful if you were able to spare a minute to leave some honest feedback there. Thanks so much if you are able to help.

Click here to leave a review.


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