Tech is for me because it changes as much as I do

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Kat Robbie, Enspiral Dev Academy graduate & badass web developer

Enspiral Dev Academy is a rapid web development school for everyone, based in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand.

“I learnt to spell out my name on a computer before I could write it by hand. It was the early 90s and my siblings and I were obsessed with an old Atari. By 4 years old I was able to turn the machine on, and used the opening console screen to play with text and formulate the beginnings of a life long love of the English language, and computer programming.

But it wasn’t always love for code.

“Somewhere between the drone of typing practise and filing documents in Year 9 Computing at an all girls school, technology suddenly wasn’t exciting anymore.”

My family later upgraded the old Atari to a Windows ’98, and I soon mastered Commander Keen and the other free games it came with. Before the turn of the century I was the proud owner of iluvkittykat@hotmail.com, and during intermediate would rush home to get on MSN Messenger to chat with my friends.

Shortly after starting high school, my enjoyment of computers stopped. Somewhere between the drone of typing practise and filing documents in Year 9 Computing at an all girls school, technology suddenly wasn’t exciting anymore. What followed was years of resistance, feeling out of touch, and assuming that because I was good at English and Arts, I clearly wasn’t good at Maths or Technology. By the time I got to university I believed that my brain was not the right kind of brain for anything computer related. The last place that I would have been found back then was in a coding club. If someone would have told me 10 years ago that I was a now a Software Developer, I would have laughed in their face (and then followed it up with …but actually, what is that?)

“I clearly wasn’t good at Maths or Technology. By the time I got to university I believed that my brain was not the right kind of brain for anything computer related.”

So how did I find my place in the tech world?

Long story short, I found myself in teaching, and eventually a job teaching tech at a public library. Code Clubs, which taught coding basics to primary aged kids, were kicking off around the country and we followed suit. Realising my classes were full of keen, confident boys, and only a few girls, I could see the same pattern was happening. I wanted to help lessen this gender imbalance and realised that I needed to be the change that I wanted to see.

I had been following Dev Academy for some time, and now with a purpose: I could feasibly see a future for myself working in the tech industry. I scraped my savings together, took a loan from my parents, and headed to Wellington with a lot of courage and very little technical skill.

“I’m still a bit amazed about how I found myself here, less than 2 years later, working in a challenging and satisfying coding job.”

I’m still a bit amazed about how I found myself here, less than 2 years later, working in a challenging and satisfying coding job. I now work at company called Critchlow, where I’m a developer for WebEOC, Emergency Management software. Together with a supportive team, we create comms systems for the likes of police forces and fire departments, so they can do their crucial jobs better. I primarily work with JavaScript/jQuery, CSS/HTML, and my next goal is to get a better grasp on SQL and databases. An 18 week coding boot camp could never teach everything needed in every tech role, but it is noticeable how many small things that we did at Dev Academy are still in my day to day life — things like morning stand ups, agile sprints, and dealing with merge conflicts!

Learning how to code has been a total change in attitude and self belief. There are still days when I feel like an imposter, or that my kind of brain isn’t cut out for this — and it’s days like these that turning to the encouraging and dynamic tech community gives me the courage and perspective to keep going.”

Tech is for everyone. If you’d like to take the leap and change your life, build exciting products that change the future and get a well paid job where there’s always more to learn — apply to Dev Academy today. You could be graduating with the skills to become a Junior Web Developer in just 15 weeks!

https://www.devacademy.co.nz/apply-now