Study Software Development: Sophie’s Switch

How the global pandemic prompted Sophie Boyle to pivot from her hospitality job in New York to study software development in her native Kerry.

Sophie Boyle had been living in the US for over three years when COVID hit. She was an experienced hospitality worker employed by an Irish bar near Times Square, New York. Life was good and so was the money. But when the hospitality sector shut down it gave Sophie a chance to reassess her career.

Sophie started to notice ads for coding which piqued her interest. With additional time on her hands, she signed up for a free online coding course and which started her a new career path.

Five months after the pandemic started and the NY bars and restaurants began to reopen. Sophie was now faced with a choice. Continue working in hospitality, as she had done for the last decade, or pursue her new interest and study coding more seriously?

Sophie decided to return home to her native Kerry and study Software Development (Full-Stack) at Kerry College.

She took a few moments to chat with KerrySciTech about her experience.

What is Software Development (Full-Stack)?

In layman terms, Full Stack Software Development relates to websites and mobile apps and includes both the front end (how it looks) and back end (how it works).

How are you finding the course at Kerry College?

It’s brilliant! You learn a little of everything and are incredibly well supported throughout. I’d highly recommend it.

I initially choose it because I found the five-month accelerated Diploma more appealing than committing to a three or four-year degree. It is very intense because you have a lot of content crammed into a short amount of time but it’s such a great way to learn. You work on several projects and implement what you’ve learnt after each module.

As we’re using computers it’s been pretty easy to adapt to remote learning, which we had to do after a couple of months. They’ve created a series of videos which explain everything really well and in great detail. The support through the Coding Institute is great as well. I felt supported 24 hours a day. If I was stuck at any time they would get back to me quickly.

Could you have imagined yourself working in Software Development?

I’ve always been a creative person but hadn’t really imagined myself working as a Software Developer. When I first considered working with websites I intended to focus more on web design. When we started delving into programming languages such as JavaScript I was thinking “why did I sign up for this?”. It can be intimidating at the start.

But then you get familiar with all of the different languages and the specific ways they’re used. Now I’m really getting into it.

I couldn’t have imagined this was going to be a career path I would explore. Now I’ve applied to do a three-year degree in September.

Do you feel it’s a male-dominated sector?

Of the fourteen people on the course, only two of us were female but I do feel the industry is evolving with more women becoming interested in web development. It’s not something I feel intimidated by and everyone on my course was great.

How have you found being back in Kerry?

It’s a beautiful place and it is nice to be back and closer to my family and my friends. Life has been very different due to the lockdown but being busy with the course has meant I haven’t noticed it as much as some people. I’ve had something to focus on and that’s been a real positive. I do love to travel so this kind of career could really work for me. I would be able to work from anywhere.

What does the future hold?

After my studies I would like to work in a company to gain more knowledge and experience. At some stage I would love to own my own business, building and developing websites and apps. It’s a very exciting sector.

We wish Sophie all the best with her studies and future career.

Want to study software development or make your own switch to the STEM Sector?

County Kerry is an exciting place to be if you’re looking to pivot your career. With a thriving STEM industry, explosive start-up ecosystem and an abundance of tertiary courses for the STEM sector, it’s the place to live, study and work.

Kerry College runs 10 full-time courses in the STEM area. They recently qualified their first-ever female Overhead Lines Operative, have a recent graduate on the Aer Lingus Aircraft Maintenance Technician apprenticeship in Shannon and have a strong track record of first-female apprentices in Metal Fabricating and Mechanical Automotive Maintenance Fitting amongst others.

Find out more about Kerry College at and jobs in our KerrySciTech companies here.