Psychology or Tech? A Beginner Developers Journey

Let's talk psychology, research, start-ups and no-code


3 min read

About Me ๐ŸŒท

I'm Amirah, a psychology graduate, freelance writer and co-founder. I'm a beginner developer interested in Research Software Engineering and Full-Stack Development.

Why Development?

Problem-Solving: I can create tools that solve problems in our everyday lives. Tools that improve our well-being, mental health and encourage intentionality.

Human Interaction: How do we use technology? I enjoy learning about human behaviour and cognition. Building tools for other humans means I get to put myself in the shoes of the user and learn how we interact with technology.

Creativity: Of course, I need the technical skills but the thought process behind building tools and solutions is a creative one. Thinking, ideating, and writing are an important part of the development process.

Psychology ๐Ÿง  and Computer Science ๐Ÿ’ป

What made me want to be a developer? It was actually my time as a psychology student.

Psychology and Computer Science overlap more than you might think. Despite choosing to study psychology as an undergraduate, programming popped up throughout my degree.

Computer related metaphors are often used to describe the brain, how it functions and forms connections. Beyond concepts and metaphors, programming skills and knowledge are important for research.

Psychology experiments can be conducted using computer-based tasks. Researchers can create such tasks with user interfaces, custom algorithms, and collect data using tools such as MATLAB. Like programming, variables, data types, and arrays etc are all used to build tools for research.

You're not typically expected to know programming as a psychology student, don't worry! This is just one example of how technology is used within psychology.

Data science was another key aspect of my degree. I learnt how to use statistical software, and conduct data analysis. Statistical software such as SPSS and R can get pretty technical. I was taught SPSS but later discovered R, a programming language for statistical computing.

Even as a psychology student, programming seemed to be following me around. Upon graduating, I was curious about reviving my coding skills and transitioning into tech.

The Journey So Far

Education ๐ŸŽ“

2013 ~ 2016: GCSE and A-Level Computer Science.

2016 ~ 2020: Psychology BSc, introduced to SPSS and MATLAB.

Courses, Internships and Projects ๐Ÿ“š


Introduction to Data and SQL (Code First Girls): This course covered SQL for database management, manipulation and administration; relational databases and their design, data normalisation and visualisation.

Team Project: Beauty clinic booking system database.


Introduction to Web Development (Code First Girls): This course covered building responsive websites using HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript fundamentals, Visual Studio Code and GitHub

Team Project: Cafe website that won best project.

UNIQ+ Internship (University of Oxford): I interned on a neuroscience project where I learnt R, UNIX commands, and shell scripting.

Research Software Camp (Software Sustainability Institute): This was a Research Software Engineering mentorship opportunity where I learned how to manipulate spreadsheet data using Python and openpyxl.

You can read about my project here.

What's Next?

Originally, I planned to self-learn JavaScript and React using Codeacademy, and online courses. However, my developer journey is currently on pause.

Last year, I began the process of co-founding a start-up. I planned to get serious about learning to code and build the platform myself but, there was a change of plans. Instead, I've been self-learning UX/UI and Figma to support the development of our minimum viable product (MVP).

Co-Founding a Start-Up

I'll talk about this more in future but the start-up idea was a web application. Thanks to a funding award, the first version of our web application has been built by a no-code developer in Bubble. Now, I'm unsure whether to continue learning code or pursue no-code.

Code or No-Code?

Long term, I still want to pursue a career in development, whether that's full-stack web development or research software engineering. But currently, no-code seems important for my start-up and looks very exciting. I'm considering a Bubble bootcamp and #100daysofnocode. I might still attempt learning JavaScript in the meantime too - I need to put my Codeacademy membership to use.