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Meet Ruth Uwemedimo, Senior Software Engineer at Lantum

Ruth and her peers at Founders and Coders, Lantum

ARTICLE SUMMARY

In this brilliant interview, Ruth Uwemedimo from Lantum, shares a whole host of brilliant resources for those wanting to get into or developer their career in tech.

We recently caught up with Ruth Uwemedimo, Senior Software Engineer at Lantum.

How did you get into tech?

Tech was never something I thought about as a career option. I barely knew anything about the industry until I was about 22. Growing up, I always thought that I’d be an Accountant or Actuary because I was good at Maths. It was also the only subject taught at school that seemed like it could be a probable career option for me.

After graduating, I also realised I didn’t want to go into a graduate scheme. It wasn’t until after leaving my first job as an Estate Agent (which definitely wasn’t for me!) that I started to explore other career options available.

I read a Guardian article about teaching people how to code, regardless of previous coding experience. It highlighted Founders and Coders: a UK based nonprofit that runs free web development training programmes. I immediately contacted Dan Sofer – the Founder – and a month later I was enrolled into their 6th cohort!

What is it about tech that you love?

There are always so many opportunities to learn! There is always a new adventure and I learn something new every day: from something as simple as a shortcut command in my code editor to understanding how to use a new framework or library. Tech is evolving so fast and it’s sometimes hard to keep up especially when “life” gets in the way, but I love the ever-changing tech landscape.

What advice would you give to women, on building a network?

Throughout my career, I’ve realised just how important building a network really is. I was lucky because Founders and Coders gave me an instant platform to connect with the right people working in the industry. I realise that might not be the case for a lot of people starting out, but there are lots of ways to expand networks. I’m passionate about helping to educate others – especially women and those in underrepresented communities – on starting a career in tech and growing their networks.

  • Going to events is a great way of meeting new people – not only helping to build your own network but it’s also a fantastic way of encouraging others to do the same.
  • Seek out mentoring opportunities at events such as Node Girls and Codebar. I spoke at an event with Founders and Coders for example, and it really helped me cement what I had been learning and it gave me a chance to share it with others.
  • Joining online communities like Ada’s List can help you enormously. Ada’s List is where I found my first junior role at JustGiving and my current role at Lantum!
Ada's List logo

Any tools, resources or organisations that you have found helpful?

  • ReactJS Girls is a great meetup that aims to educate women in React, but everyone is welcome to attend. I attended their first conference last year and it was amazing! All the speakers were women and its mission really celebrated women in code. The sessions were so insightful and I came out with new lessons in React Hooks, web accessibility and creating psychological safety in a team. I can’t wait for them to do another event!
  • freeCodeCamp and Codecademy are both accessible learning resources to get started with. Then you can dive deeper into completing coding challenges and building projects once you have understood the basics.
  • I would recommend signing up to newsletters that send weekly updates in the world of React, JavaScript and Node, to keep you up to date with the latest blog posts, tutorials and releases.

So what attracted you to Lantum?

It was their mission to save the NHS £1BN that really got my attention. When I first read that in the job ad, I thought “How are they going to do that?! That’s amazing!” It instantly made me want to find out more about the job, company and the product.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?

The people. The people at Lantum are awesome! Everyone is so motivated by the company’s mission and goals that putting in the work, energy and commitment into building the product becomes really enjoyable.

My role at Lantum is a Senior Frontend Engineer and it’s my first senior role. When I got the job I was worried I didn’t have the experience to be classified as a “senior” engineer. I thought: “did I present myself better in the interviews than I actually am?” And: “can I live up to their expectations of the role?” But I reminded myself that everything I talked about in the interviews were things that I have good knowledge on. The more I reflected on the role, the less I saw it as an obstacle and it then became an opportunity for expanding on the skills I already have. I came to see that not only was it something I can definitely do but also something I wanted to do! Ultimately, I wouldn’t have been offered the job if the company didn’t think I was good enough.

Some of the team at Lantum

My team made me feel instantly at ease on my first day. Everyone is so supportive and welcoming. I found it was easy to naturally slip into the new role that I had been given and I love it.

Do you find that non-technical skills are ever helpful in your role?

Yes, definitely! For me, it’s particularly writing and line management.

Writing is not a skill that immediately comes to mind when people think of an engineering role but it’s a useful skill to have when you are writing technical documentation or blog posts. If you are a good writer, readers can better understand the technology you are referencing or teachings you are posing. Blog posts for instance aren’t always read by technical experts so having the skills to write clearly can be very helpful. I’ve kickstarted a blog at Lantum on engineering, product and design. I wrote the first blog post on top tips to finding your way around a new codebase which was released at the end of last month.

Line management is also a skill that I have come to use in my role and it’s something that I am very new to, but I am constantly learning new ways to be better. It’s a skill that enables me to take ownership of my own performance and development and further enhance my own communication skills.

How does Lantum currently promote inclusion and diversity?

Diversity and inclusion is something Lantum does so well. We have a 56% female workforce which is one of the reasons I joined Lantum!

Back in March, Lantum hosted an International Women’s Day lunch for everyone (regardless of gender) to come together and celebrate all the strong women in the company.

We have also recently introduced an inclusivity task force which I am a part of and our primary focus right now is anti-racism. We try to meet every other week to discuss what we want our primary initiatives to be in the short and long term and how we can actively achieve them. Some of the topics we discuss are employee diversity & inclusion and community engagement. I love being a part of the task force and it is great to see Lantum always pushing to be better.

In May, it was Mental Health Awareness Week and my manager who is trained in mental health first aid gave an interactive presentation over Zoom to the company, to raise awareness. Attendance was optional but nearly everyone joined. It was so insightful and welcoming to hear mental health being discussed so openly.

Finally: what would you tell your younger, more junior self – with hindsight?

Ask more questions.

Building a network and putting myself out there was not something that came naturally to me in the beginning, so it’s something that I have had to work hard on. Because as mentioned, networking is hugely beneficial. Even though I am proud of where I have got to so far, I would tell my younger, more junior self to not be so afraid to ask questions and speak up, even when it might be difficult or feel wrong. So, I’d really encourage others starting out to do the same.

 

 

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