Against All The Odds  –  Jonathan’s Story

23rd August 2018

School wasn’t for me


To say that Jonathan was a ‘difficult student’ would be the understatement of the year. At least, that’s what his former teachers might say. The 23-year-old looks back at his schooldays with a sigh of disappointment and a frustrated shake of his head.


“School didn’t stimulate me — as a consequence I didn’t engage with the generic curriculum” says Jonathan, and he admits his lack of interest in the classroom often led to reprimands from tutors and accusations of disruption. “It left me wondering how flawed the very foundation of the education system must have been.” Then he adds, “I was glad to leave it all behind.”


But escaping what he considered to be an archaic education system brought no respite for the restless young man. For the next 3 years, Jonathan joined the ranks of the unemployed. Perhaps it was a lack of ambition. Maybe it was an absence of clearly defined goals. Either way, it was slowly becoming clear that something wasn’t quite right in Jonathan’s world.

“it was a very difficult time for me. I felt like I was drifting through life, devoid of a real purpose.”


Jonathan tried to escape, this time seeking refuge in computer games, television or even pondering his own existence. “I would experience complete immersion for days,” he says, “It was a distraction. It kept me occupied. I was also very aware I was sinking into a deep depression.” But all that changed when Jonathan discovered coding.

“I attended a one week course in November 2014. Simply out of curiosity. From the moment I learned the first tag of html I was utterly consumed. Coding became an outlet for me.”


How learning to code changed my life


Jonathan had finally found something that excited and fascinated him and it’s fair to say that the one week coding course changed his life — so much so that now, Jonathan has taken the entrepreneurial plunge and is now working as a freelancer. “I began with HTML and CSS and then progressed to Word Press and just developed my skills from there. becoming a freelancer seemed like the next logical step.”


A is for Autism


At the age of 19 Jonathan received news that would have totally stymied any other mere mortal. The up and coming entrepreneur was diagnosed with autism. Totally unfazed, Jonathan took the news completely in his stride. “I always knew I was unconventional in thought and execution.” he says with a disarming air of remarkable self confidence. “And I’d already become to suspect I was autistic. But I see autism as an advantage in my future career — seeing the world from a different perspective and thinking differently has advantages!”


So far, it’s going well — Jonathan is busy and has founded his own business Cobra Coding he enjoys being his own boss “I work very closely with clients to ensure I meet their requirements” he says and goes on, “I never compromise on quality no matter the time frame.”


Jonathan’s digital skills and growing confidence has led him to to develop a number of interesting and diverse ventures including:


1 Co-Founded an online Corporate Governance Platform which teaches best practice corporate governance to Non Executive Directors, Business Leaders and Company Secretaries

2 An accredited mediator (Queen Margaret University)

3 An apprentice board member on an autism charity

4 Committee Member for the local Chamber of Commerce

On top of all this in 2018 he was appointed Head of Strategy for National Coding Week!

I really enjoy meeting people now and I am becoming much more confident when dealing with business leaders, journalists and members of the public. I was recently interviewed on the radio and I found myself really enjoying the experience.


Jonathan’s Tips


Don’t be afraid to attend a coding course even if it is a short taster course. It will give you the foundation to build on your skills and will give you the opportunity to see if you like coding.


Find a local hub or meet-up and go along to any talks or events. You will find everyone very approachable.


Make sure you find a mentor and surround yourself with ambitious supportive people.