Using tech to improve company travel: Ania’s graduate story

Sometimes events that happen in our lives form into something which later we call ‘a happy coincidence’. I think the first time I came across Dev Academy might be one of those.

At the beginning of the year my partner and I had just landed in Wellington and I was considering different career paths, thinking about how I wanted to start out in a new country.

I already had over 7 years non-technical experience in IT and the financial industry in Europe. During that time I was always inspired by people who could code. However, at the same time, I thought that my rather non-technical education and work experience were not enough grounding for me to even consider learning software development skills.

On the other hand, during my work as a business travel coordinator, I had an opportunity to define the high-level requirements for the new travel system in company. The whole experience of defining functional UI and creating reporting requirements to reduce travel costs for the organisation was very enjoyable for me. Creating a new system that made travel easier for our employees was a real highlight of the job. So when I came to NZ, I thought it would make sense to continue along this path and look into building applications, though I did not yet know how to do that.

Just as I started looking for opportunities, by a lucky coincidence, I heard about Enspiral Dev Academy from one of its former students. After doing some research and getting even more positive feedback about Dev Academy, I decided to re-evaluate my plans. Consequently, I enrolled into bootcamp on 1 May 2017.

The school gave me a supportive environment in which to grow. Dev Academy follows basic principles: Kindness, Effort and Integrity. These are the grounding for everything that we learn during the course. As students we not only learn new technologies, but we also learn how to learn. Being able to learn quickly and have a growth mindset are key values that enable us to adapt in a changing environment like technology, which requires us to learn new skills constantly.

Besides the core skills, students are exposed to a technical training programme which adapts to the industry and students’ needs. The programme is very intense and practical. It is based on learning while doing. Students get relatively little theoretical lectures. These later evolve to become live-coding sessions designed to suit current industry needs. When learning, students spend most of their time on the floor or at the computer desks. Pair programming and working in teams during the cohort is a standard, and it gives students more of a sense of what working in the industry is like.

At the end of the course we were given a chance to work on our personal projects. This gave me an opportunity to start working on my business travel system in a completely new role. Since I already knew the business requirements, I took the challenge and started writing actual code to create a prototype of the system.

Using new skills as a tool to build something I always needed at work, and had never thought I would be able to do on my own, was one of the best aspects of the course for me.

Another outstanding experience I had was working on the final project with two other women I met on the course. It has been a challenging yet satisfying time for us.

Now, when we have just graduated and presented our final group projects, I can say that learning at the Enspiral Dev Academy was the best and most intensive learning experiences I have ever had. I plan to continue learning in order get my dream job and I look forward to the future.


Ania, also known as Anna Podhajska, worked as a Business Travel Coordinator for 7 years at S3Group and 1 year at Deloitte before moving to New Zealand. She has an MA in theoretical linguistics at the University of Wroclaw, Poland.