Tatiana is a developer at Government Digital Service (GDS) in the GOV.UK team, a regular coach at codebar, and is also a huge advocate for diversity in tech, having won the Cabinet Office award for “Diversity and Inclusion” during her time at GDS.
Find Tatiana online at:
1) What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to live abroad and be filthy rich! At least I got the first half done :-)
2) When did your interest in tech start?
The day my sister showed me how to program a Mastermind game on my Texas Instruments calculator when I was 14. I was able to understand the code and rewrite it, and I also wrote a Trivial Pursuit game. Being able to sneakily play a game on my calculator during Maths class was a potent incentive.
3) How did you make the transition to being a developer?
I was looking for a new job, and although I had toyed with the idea of learning to code. I thought getting to a level where you could get a job would require me to go back to uni for 5 years or lock yourself in a dark cave with books for months. So when I stumbled upon Makers Academy, a coding bootcamp that allows you to get from zero coding experience to job, in a couple of months, I knew it was time to take that step.
I attended Makers Academy for 12 weeks and then took another month to prepare my portfolio before applying for jobs.
4) What was your first development job?
My first development job is my current one — I work at Government Digital Service in the GOV.UK team, and I really enjoy it. GDS is a truly Agile organisation where initiative and feedback are encouraged, and because the website is here to stay, we care about writing clean, maintainable and readable code. I feel like I have learned so much from my colleagues, and to boot my desk is located under beautiful rainbow bunting. They’re bunting mad here.
5) What is your favourite thing about being a developer?
Being able to solve a logical problem, and directly seeing the impact of what I’ve built. One of the first stories I worked on when I joined GOV.UK was changing an image on the homepage. As a beginner developer, seeing that a change I made was headlining the website of the government, and that tens of thousands of people were clicking on it really felt great.
As a beginner developer, seeing that a change I made was headlining the website of the government, and that tens of thousands of people were clicking on it really felt great.
6) What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My 20% project, the seal. As a junior, I was able to spend one day a week building an application that supported my learning needs while being useful to the organisation. Because some of our stories sometimes stayed in review for a long time, I suggested creating a Slackbot that posted my team’s pull requests to our Slack channel as a reminder. The bot’s alias is a baby seal, which becomes an angry seal if the pull requests have been forgotten about, and adds to its message the reminder that “each time you forget a pull request, a baby seal dies”.
7) How did you get involved with codebar?
I first found out about codebar shortly before joining my coding bootcamp, as I was looking to get support for learning the basics of coding in preparation for the intense course. My mentors were amazing and very patient with me! I later attended as a coach, and I now got my organisation to sponsor codebar, so we host it every couple of months.
8) Why do you keep coming back to codebar?
It’s a great community full of interesting people, and I can’t help but be amazed when I see developers give up their time to teach others and get more diverse people into the profession.
9) What advice would you give to aspiring developers?
Coding can be so much fun — if you like solving problems, investigating an issue and building things, that’s the career that will scratch that itch. Learning it can be challenging, and one of the most valuable skills I learned along the way was perseverance; it’s not because you’re stuck on a problem for hours that you won’t find the answer tomorrow! The image that best sums up how I feel as a developer is: