Enough lonely coding – The story of Codum

Enough lonely coding – The story of Codum

Written by Isabella Hoesch


Isabella is the founder and CEO of Codum, a goal-achievement platform that matches Newbie Coders with an accountability partner to help beginners worldwide upskill and transition into tech.

The Story and the Spark 

Codum derived from my very own need. 

My self-teaching coding journey began when I graduated from Business School in 2018 and set my mind on finding a job as a data scientist in Silicon Valley. Somehow I achieved this goal (with little experience and loads of motivation in my pocket), but the dream burst only a few months later when the company went bust… just about when I felt skilled enough to do “cool” coding stuff. What timing! 

To keep up the “coding game,” I continued learning and coding in my free time. To realize that without peers, a real use case, or deadlines, self-teaching can be VERY frustrating and, most of all, lonely

To surround myself with like-minded people and to get involved in the tech space, I joined WWCode as a volunteer. Here I found my first coding buddy, Rachel, who soon turned into a good friend! 

We shared our thirst for learning (next to our humor and interest in plants, …) and were both excited to have found someone ambitious and fun to learn and build together. We started building a matchmaking algorithm with a simple interface for other community members to find a buddy – initially, for fun and to learn by building.

Little did we know how many people worldwide were tired of never finishing their coding courses and learning by themselves – and were craving a coding buddy.

Fast forward one year, and this small initiative evolved into the first version of Codum, a platform free of use and open to every Tech Newbie looking for a buddy to skill up together in Web Development or Data Science.

Starting journey and why it’s ok not to know it all!

As a first-time founder, you’ll wear many different hats. You will be wearing ALL the different hats if you start a company alone, with little to no budget (don’t do that if you can avoid it!). You’ll be a designer one day, a QA tester another day, and will be giving your best on early customer support all the while too…

Throughout the process of getting the MVP ready without spending money (tricky, tricky), I wished my previous career would have entailed a lot of different lives. A previous life as a UX designer would have been useful, a law degree would have come in handy, project management experience of course, and all of this combined with a few years as a VC analyst would have saved days, probably weeks, I spent on Google, Stack Overflow and Youtube (thank you, content creators, you are amazing!). Most of all, I would have loved to have a past life as a full stack developer (and I know the time will come when I’ll miss a proper background as Data Scientist and ML engineer …). 

Juggling to keep all the balls in the air while moving the company forward step by step can be tough, but one learns quickly that a motivated allrounder mindset and perseverance are what you’ll need to get things up and to run. More than that, it teaches you what to look out for to find people better than you to take over! 

Corum's early users – people with the most diverse backgrounds that want to learn and improve their lives by entering tech-inspired, reminded me daily why I started this journey altogether (heroes!). 

Physicists, Zoologists, and Teachers, … from all over the world signed up to find a peer to reach their goals better. I still get excited by every single signup today.

Meanwhile, my 2 Co-Founders joined me, and we are a small and amazing team at Codum, ready to move things on with combined forces. Each of us has been through self-teaching and wants to make the tech entry easier for everyone. 

You’re looking to start something? – This may help;)

Be clear on your why!

The entrepreneurs' route can be challenging. Be convinced of what and why you chose it. This will help you get through the bumpy times!

Involve them!

You’re never alone – even as a solo founder. Involve your family. Involve your friends! Involve the people that love your mission! And if you love your mission yourself, you will quickly find fans and supporters!

Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that leads others to join you! 

– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Don’t underestimate the power of music!

I am not a music pro by any means (I can’t even remember the title of any song), but I believe that music can help you reach the right energy level you need to take certain actions – especially if you’re actually in the procrastinator mood!

Here are three playlists that work for me:

About to leave your comfort zone? 

Boost your confidence and get energetic with this playlist just before, e.g., talking to an investor on a tiring day!

Working on dull tasks that need to be done?

You’ll love accounting and the search for billing documents with this playlist!

Working on tasks that require your focus, creativity, or problem-solving?

This no-lyrics playlist helps me get in the zone!

Try it out for yourself, and enjoy!