The Tech Bug — Indi’s story

“My name is Indigo Phillips and I am a recent graduate of Enspiral Dev Academy, a rapid, full-immersion web development school in Auckland and Wellington. I was in the Mamaku cohort. I have always considered myself both of Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue whakapapa, but upon recent research and journey I found I am affiliated to several tribes. I’ve had the tech bug since the first time my hands touched a keyboard. Having always believed that I was destined to work in the tech field I asked myself, how could I achieve this goal?

Women in tech aotearoa
Indigo Phillips, recent Dev Academy graduate

First, I attended my local polytechnic and completed two very different short courses, one with elements of computing. After some research I realised that I needed to get myself to Auckland and I quickly did so and successfully completed another course. Eventually, weighing up the need to support myself, I reluctantly set aside my career goals to earn an income.

“Don’t give up on whatever it is you wish to pursue.”

Fast forward ten years and three children later I chose to rekindle my dream of being a web developer. I completed an online web design course while working full time. Feeling renewed and confident I applied and attended an institute that offered a year long course delivering their curriculum via modules and exams on a computer. Up to forty students or more were serviced by two tutors so the student to tutor ratio worked against the students. Also out of the subjects I would find none of the modules had any real relevance in the Auckland job market.

After completing this course I was offered my first role at about half of what I had earned in the previous year as a courier contractor. Finances were really tight because I was raising a family through full time study. I could not justify such a huge drop in income that would put my family through more hardship. I made the difficult decision to return back into my former line of work.

My experience at Dev Academy

The next time I thought about the tech industry was 2015 through Enspiral Dev Academy. What attracted me was that 86% of all students that had graduated the bootcamp more than 4 months ago had found employment. I started the course and was six weeks into Phase Zero, which is the preparation module that you do from home to get up to speed before you start the course. But due to a lack of accommodation and support the opportunity slipped away and I returned yet again to courier work.

“Dev Academy is a phenomenal place to experience and learn. Each student becomes a permanent part of the family. That’s right, family.”

Finally, this year, the opportunity arose again, and I was awarded a Te Uru Rangi Scholarship, which aims to get more Māori into high value tech roles.

Through my experience at the Academy I had the pleasure of meeting some pretty awesome people. Four of these people are the heart and soul of the Auckland Campus.

Dougal Stott is the Kaiārahi and Human Skills Coach. He is very giving with his time and is super supportive. He has had great impact on my life. He is also dedicated to human skills, and has truly opened up a greater level of understanding and self awareness for me.

Marion Prebble takes care of each cohort that attends in many different ways. Her support makes the many events, graduations, community lunches and movie nights all run with planning and ease. Marion took the time to listen to me at a time I felt vulnerable and I will forever be grateful for her compassion.

Emily Coco Parkes is a more than just a Teacher Aide. She is a past cohort member and her knowledge and support of everyone that comes through the door is definitely instrumental. She is kind, patient and willing to pursue any avenue to help each person she comes into contact with.

Finally, Don Smith. He is responsible for many things but most notably the curriculum at Dev Academy. He is very animated and passionate about coding. He is always willing to share his knowledge and experiences, having worked for over 20 years as a professional developer in the industry, and still working today. This makes him a truly unique human being. Don makes time for everyone in the cohort and I could not have had a better more thoughtful teacher. He has most definitely changed my life forever.

Since graduating I’ve been invited to go to the Kurbernetes Cloud Native Conference in China, and the Vodafone Change Accelerator event in Christchurch to help design apps for social change. While my journey into tech was unique, what I learned along the way is to stay strong. Don’t give up on whatever it is you wish to pursue. For anyone hoping to attend Dev Academy, I can absolutely tell you that there is no place or experience like it in New Zealand. It is a phenomenal place to experience and learn. Each student becomes a permanent part of the family. That’s right, family. In fact you are encouraged to return to the Academy anytime to visit, or work in the co-working space.

Enspiral Dev Academy will continue to produce some of the finest web developers because they have worked out what is most important, it is the people that they take pride in teaching.”

If you’d like to take the leap and join Dev Academy, now’s the time. Take charge of your life — apply now!

Indigo is actively seeking opportunities — connect with her on LinkedIn.