Unpacking the common coding misconceptions

Programmer editing computer code


Jimmy Headdon, principal consultant at Daemon, has been navigating the dynamic world of coding and software engineering for some time now. As he reflects on his journey, he can’t help but notice the many misconceptions around this fascinating field.

Jimmy shares his personal experiences, from his early obsession with technology, to his current role as principal consultant at Daemon. He debunks some of the common myths that may be holding aspiring coders back, sharing his advice for young coders and how the industry can continue diversifying and attracting more women in STEM industries. 


Jimmy Headdon, principal consultant at Daemon,

I grew up in the mid-1980s, right alongside the rollout of the World Wide Web, the advent of smartphones, and the rise of social platforms. My father, an IT Director in London, filled our home with the constant hum of modem connections and the chattering of fax machines. It’s no surprise that I developed a keen interest in technology and a deep desire to understand how things worked. 

My journey in technology began with building home PCs and the creation of an award-winning PC game called Black Mesa. I pursued a degree in Business Information Systems Management at university before embarking on my career. My initial role as a junior consultant in the broadcast and media industry took me to exciting places like Amsterdam, Las Vegas, and New York. However, it was my ten-year stint at the McLaren Formula 1 team that truly defined my career

At McLaren, I went from being a junior developer to a senior manager responsible for building and operating critical software projects and systems during race events. This included everything from race strategy and driver performance to vehicle simulation platforms. I had the opportunity to work alongside racing drivers and passionate professionals, crisscrossing the globe in pursuit of victory. After my time at McLaren, I briefly entered the world of mobile gaming as VP of Engineering for one of Snapchat’s gaming studio partners before finding my current role as a principal consultant at Daemon, where I continue to apply my experience to help clients achieve success. 


I’ve seen the industry change a lot over my career, with, thankfully an increase in diversity in the workforce. It’s fantastic, for example, to read British Computer Society’s (BCS) analysis that more young women than ever before will start computing degree this September. However, although the gender gap has closed for the second year running, men still outnumber women on degree courses by 3.8 to one, according to BCS. 

Throughout my journey, I’ve encountered and shattered several common misconceptions about coding and software engineering, some of which may be discouraging new, diverse talent from taking forward a career in software engineering. Let’s address three of them now: 

Myth 1: Software Engineers work in isolation 

Contrary to the stereotype of coders working alone in dimly lit rooms, our job is pretty flexible from a location perspective. For example, I’ve written code from the passenger seat of a supercar speeding around a racetrack! The coding world offers diverse and exciting opportunities beyond the traditional office setting, meaning it can be flexible to your preferred working style and schedule. 

Myth 2: Coders code all day 

Coding is just one part of the job. Successful software engineers engage in extensive thought and collaboration to deliver technology products and systems. It’s not just about writing code; it’s about solving complex problems and working as part of a team and creativity is highly valued. 

Myth 3: It’s too late to start coding 

I firmly believe that it’s never too late to start a career in coding. New technologies and applications mean that even the most seasoned developers are learning new things and upskilling regularly. Initiatives like Tech Returners support new talent coming into the industry and getting up to speed after a break from or switch into the industry. The coding community thrives on diversity, and anyone with the passion and willingness to learn can find a place here. 


For those looking to embark on a coding journey, here are some pieces of advice based on my experiences: 

1.    Gain Hands-On Experience: Dive into open-source projects, participate in hackathons, attend meetups, and explore bug bounty programmes. Hands-on experience is invaluable early in your career. 

2.    Explore Opportunities: Seek out events like National Coding Week and the Hour of Code, as well as local hobbyist community centres. These platforms provide excellent starting points for beginners and students. 

3.    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Embrace your unique coding style and don’t hesitate to ask questions. In the coding world, there’s rarely a single “correct” solution, and diversity in approaches is celebrated. 


To continue diversifying our industry and welcoming inclusive environments that encourage individuals from all backgrounds, we must keep on raising awareness though initiatives like National Coding Week and the Hour of Code. Code First Girls are doing, quite frankly, an astonishing job of helping more than 150,000 women learn to code.  

Mentorship programmes and collaborative efforts within the industry are imperative to support those who are early on in their careers or still in education. By continuing to break down barriers, promote inclusivity, and showcasing the thrilling possibilities within the coding world, we can inspire and attract more women to pursue STEM careers.



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