“I Was Wasting My Skills”

new zealand women in tech learning to code
Maya Ningsih, Dev Academy graduate, presenting her final project at graduation

Maya Ningsih was working in Marketing but always had a passion for technology. After finding that her job wasn’t using all of her abilities, and deciding that she didn’t want to miss out on the opportunities in tech, she took the leap and joined Enspiral Dev Academy in late 2018.

“Back in 2015 I was thinking about doing the course, but I was just holding back for too long, and now I’m kind of regretting it. I should’ve just done it then.

I was thinking programming is not my kind of thing, that I’m not smart enough to do this.

You think about programming, and you think it requires a lot of logical thinking, mathematics, algorithms — it does require a little but you can work your way around that I think, there are tools out there that help you. But I started learning on my own from a JavaScript book. It was all variables and complicated language. And I just thought ‘I can’t do it.’ I think I looked at the book and I just left it, and I said No, I’m not going to do it.

“I wanted the specific skills for the future…I just felt like I was missing out if I didn’t do the course.”

Eventually I was encouraged to come on the Dev Academy course because I wanted the specific skills for the future. I’ve always loved technology. And I wanted to do it, I wanted to get hands on in this big opportunity working in tech. And especially because I thought I’d be good at it, and what a waste of skills if I don’t do it. I want those specific skills, I want to earn it. Plus I wasn’t enjoying my role, I wasn’t utilising my resources and all this knowledge that I have. So I thought I’d just do it.

I took a few days off work to just really think about what I wanted to do, so I had a couple of days thinking of whether I wanted to carry on doing my Marketing career and where it was taking me. And I thought that at least if the Dev Academy course didn’t go the way I wanted, I wouldn’t be losing anything — I would have gained all this knowledge, and then I could potentially do anything. Even if I don’t get my dream job I could at least still jump into tech. I like technology, I just like being able to solve problems, and I like making things beautiful. I just felt like I was missing out if I didn’t do the course.

My dream job is that I’d like to be a front-end developer. What I mean by that is, if you give me a design, I’ll turn that into the product that you want me to build. The design is important, I’d love to work closely with a web designer, and then turn that project into product. I love that. I could play around with CSS, play around with the look of things, for ages, making things dynamic. I think when I speak about it I have a real passion for it. So I’m very excited about this.

“My advice to someone who was thinking of doing Dev Academy is: Just do it.”

Bootcamp is hard. The learning keeps going, you don’t even have time to revisit what you’ve just studied. But I’ve got a plan of my own. Once I finish this I’ll go all the way back and redo the content on my own. It will be a lot easier because we’ve done it, we’ve gone through these exercises, so it will just embed it a bit more. Get a better understanding of things. Because I don’t expect to get a job right away. I’ll be stoked if I do. But you want to have those skills solidified behind you when you go into a workplace.

People have been freaking out about React, but I’m actually excited about React. I don’t know. I like shortcuts. Maybe I haven’t understood it really well, I have to admit. I’m just getting there. But I think my philosophy is that sometimes, if you think that you understand it, I think your mind follows. I used MaterialUI for my personal project, I used this awesome library, and I had no real struggle until we got to the backend programming. But I know how to get help, I know my way around how to utilise the existing tools. They’re out there for you to use. So I managed to put a map API into my personal project, and that was a huge achievement. And then Bryce, the teacher, came along and said “Oh shoot, that looks legit.” And I just said, “Oh thanks!” Because I didn’t want to brag about it! But that was a huge high.

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Maya with her classmates and teachers at Dev Academy Auckland

My advice to someone who was thinking of doing Dev Academy is: Just do it, because it’s one hell of an experience. It’s hard, but I treat it as a retreat at the same time. Because you don’t get this experience elsewhere. If you want, you can do a course online, on your own. But it’s not the same experience. All the yoga, meditation, all the things that help with your wellbeing as a person, it means you’re not just becoming a tech person, but a real developer.

So if you want to do it, do it, because it’s not all about being pushed to your limit in terms of technical skills, but all these other social skills as well. And you get to bond with people that you’ve never known before. The wellness stuff is a good escape. But my favourite part is actually doing the technical stuff. I’ve come out of the course feeling like programming is my kind of thing, and I am smart enough for this. Or more, it is possible for me to figure these things out. And that’s the biggest thing. Now I’m so excited to go out into the world and see where these possibilities take me!”

Dev Academy — Now with Student Loans! If you love technology, have a passion for learning and the tenacity to work hard, this is for you. Suitable for all levels of experience. Several upcoming cohorts are already full. Don’t miss out – Apply now: https://www.devacademy.co.nz/apply-now

A Day in the Life is a one-day Intro to Dev Academy on Friday, 8th February. It’s the best way to see why web development is right for you. Sign up now for Auckland or Wellington.