After a degree in Politics of the Economy, what Inspired you to get into tech?
I have loved technology since I was very young but never saw myself being able to work in a tech role. When working as a Policy Research Intern after university I became frustrated by the lack of efficiency and automation and started to think about how technology could be applied to make it more effective.
I then applied for a 3-month Full Stack coding bootcamp with Makers Academy and a master’s degree in Computer Science at Imperial College London. I was accepted on to both courses so I decided to do both! In the conversion masters were there lots of people from STEM backgrounds. It felt like other students were three steps ahead sometimes and I found it so hard going from Ruby (which I learnt at Maker Academy) to C++. However, doing both courses allowed me to appreciate a wide spectrum of technologies from web development to the fundamentals of operating systems.
What attracted you to Attest in the first place?
Attest contacted me directly on LinkedIn. They really took the time to understand what I was looking for in my first role and what was important to me. After a chat with Dario (technical lead), I came in for a week trial. I loved it straight away; I got to work alongside others on something that was deployed into production that week!
What would you say your typical day at Attest looks like?
I’m a morning person so I’m in at 8am. I code until we have a ten minute stand up at 10:40am everyday to talk about the things you are working on and to communicate about what needs to be done. The rest of the day is coding which is great! We have a ‘Retro’ at 11am every other week to talk about what’s gone well, what hasn’t and what could have been done differently. This allows us deliver valuable features to customers and deal with issues as they arise. We’re a small team so everyone reviews each others code, there is quite a flat structure.
Tell us about working at Attest and your role?
I’m in the Platform Team so currently I’m focusing on feature work and infrastructure. At the moment I am working alongside with Zak, the other backend engineer in the Platform team, to migrate our architecture to use Kafka; this enables the platform to become more scalable.
There is lots of autonomy which is fantastic but I work very closely with a more senior engineer who is able to answer all of my questions and lend a hand when needed, so I always feel supported. We have a catch up every week to talk about areas where I can improve and to set clear goals which I find very helpful for my progress and learning. I love that when I started I didn’t know anything about microservices or Go, and now I’m working in Go on my biggest project so far.
What does your career path look like?
I would like to be a technical lead like Dario. I gain satisfaction from solving problems using code, so I would like to remain hands-on. My short-term aim is to improve my problem-solving capabilities; longer-term, I would like to help up-skill others . I enjoy thinking communally and then making technical decisions as a group.
I would like to give back more to the engineering community through volunteering and mentoring. It would be nice to teach people just getting into specific types of tech (like Java or Go) or with very little tech experience.
If you weren’t going into tech, what would you be instead – and why?
I think I would have stayed working for Think Tanks as I do enjoy structuring arguments and problem solving. Tech is still doing this, but much more directly; the tech lifecycle is much shorter than in politics so you can see the impact of your work much more quickly.
If you had to teach one lesson based on your past experiences, to young women who want to get into tech, what would it be?
It would be how to learn without being afraid.
Don’t be afraid of failing, if you don’t embrace failure you can’t grow!
Are you active in any Women in Tech groups?
I attend Dario’s monthly London Microservices meet up but I’m usually the only woman. I like London Gophers too, as Go is still relatively new to me! I would like to go to more female specific meet ups to connect with more women in the community. I especially enjoy going to meet ups where I’m going to learn something new.
Is now a good time for women to enter into the tech industry?
Yes, right now is a tipping point. Companies are aware of the need for diversity. Products needs to be reflective of the users, so therefore the tech teams building the products must be diverse. There are lots of opportunities for investment in tech companies; people will give time to train and mentor you.
However, I would say the idea of programming is quite romantic, but you have to be passionate about it on a deeper level is as it is hard. Find the reason, or a couple of reasons, why you like it. Is it the problem solving aspect, the creativity it lends, or the interest in building commercially-useful products?
Take the risk and start learning!