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Women in Tech: My career transformation into coding

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: developer, Digital skills

To continue the conversations from International Women’s Day 2021, I want to share my journey on how I went from a generalist administration role into the world of Software Development.

Having worked in Business Support for 2 years, I have spent the past 10 months undertaking an MoJ software developer apprenticeship.

It’s not something I would have predicted, women and non-binary people are famously underepresented in tech and mainstream media had left me the assumption I needed a maths degree and eidetic memory to write code.

Working at the MoJ challenged that illusion; I worked in a diverse team of people with relatable role models. I found that people had got into coding in different ways, while some took the traditional degree approach, others went through boot camps or were totally self taught. Talking to developers in my team made me believe that anyone could learn to code.

Where to start?

I started working through codecademy and freecodecamp tutorials to learn Ruby. I tested out the knowledge I’d learnt completing katas on codewars.

I started personal projects and went to codebar for help when I got stuck. I attended django girls and ruby girls free workshops where I made web projects.

Different team members saw what I was doing and offered help. There’s a really great culture of co-learning and upskilling staff within the team; they dedicated time to teach me skills like debugging or git.

After a few months I knew a language pretty well and I could use it to solve problems. I could create a simple website and host it through github.

Shortly after I applied for an apprentice developer role, involving a 3 month intensive Makers Academy bootcamp and then a year working within OPG.

Life as an apprentice

The bootcamp was intense and I learnt a different skill each week, aimed at making me a full stack developer (and also making me dream in code). It gave me a really solid foundation for joining a team and most importantly taught me how to learn.

I’ve been working in my team for 7 months now and it’s amazing. My role requires that I am constantly learning. I get things wrong sometimes, I break stuff but I work in an awesome and supportive team who help me understand where I’ve gone wrong and how to improve.

Interested in coding?

The best advice I was given is to learn one language and learn it well. If you’re unsure what language you want to learn check out this cool infographic.

There are some amazing free resources out there, I’ve linked the main one’s I learnt but if you want to learn a specific skill / language there’s definitely a tutorial somewhere on the internet.

Some great sites working on increasing diversity in tech are:

Promoting a more balanced ratio in the tech industry is not an overnight process, but even small steps can make a big difference when it comes to helping to encourage more women and non-binary people to enter and stay in IT.

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