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codebar stories

Zaira Rasool — Junior Engineer

Zaira is a junior engineer at World Remit, she joined the codebar community in October 2018 before completing Makers Bootcamp. She then started her career at Farmdrop.

You can find Zaira on the internet at:

Instagram | LinkedIn

A lawyer………I’m not sure that was my own aspiration, ha! My dad worked in technology so I was really resistant to it as a teenager but I finally saw the light in adult life.

2) When did your interest in tech start?

About 3 years ago. I had been working for 7 years running community grassroots projects especially around sustainability and reconnecting marginalised communities to nature. In essence, a lot of people in this sector were very resistant to technology, and so was I for a while. Then I realised how powerful it is as a tool of transformation — both to help solve social problems but also as one of the quickest ways around for someone to change their life path.

3) How did you make the transition to being a developer?

I was lucky enough to get on to a scholarship programme at Makers Academy.

4) What was your first development job?

Junior Backend Engineer at Farmdrop

5) What is your favourite thing about being a developer?

Solving problems!! I spent years thinking I love to find solutions to social problems (which I do…) but actually what I’ve realised is just that I love problem solving full stop.

6) What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

Probably my Makers final project, a smart travel packing app — because everyone in the team got to use their skills to make it super cool, and because we built it from scratch in 2 weeks with a stack that none of us had any knowledge of.

7) How did you get involved with codebar?

When I first started being interested in coding, I had tried coding at home but was just started to feel a little lonely and dejected about it all. Then I found out about codebar and went along, super nervous, had a great time and was like ‘yup, I’m gonna be a coder’.

Then I found out about codebar and went along, super nervous, had a great time and was like ‘yup, I’m gonna be a coder’.

8) Why do you keep coming back to codebar?

It was friendly, the coaches are super helpful, you get to meet a really diverse group of budding developers, and there was free pizza!

9) What are your plans for the future?

Keep coding, I’m working with Typescript and GraphQL at my job at the moment and would love to keep developing my front end Javascript skills too. And also, run my non-profit coderoots!

10) coderoots, is the non -profit you run, could you tell us more about that, please?

Yes I’ve founded a non-profit called coderoots which is all about providing digital access and growing tech talent in Africa. We are currently developing our first project in Abuko, The Gambia.

The Gambia is a place where 57% of the country is under 25, only 3% of the GDP is spent on education and 4.5% have access to broadband. Our own community-based research has shown that only half of these young people have even used a computer or the internet before.

Our project has 3 phases — access by providing space and computers/internet that can be accessed by 60 young people, education through access to offline resources and online courses, and skills by linking young people to online mentors and trainers from around the world in professional skills like coding, accountancy, health, law and more.

We’re currently running a fundraiser — only £800 away from paying two Gambian staff to run the first phase of the project for a year. Please donate and/or share if you can!

11) What advice would you give to aspiring developers?

Stay focussed on your goal, keep calm when you encounter problems, and learn to enjoy the ride. These are lessons I learnt through coding (and still learning!) and they help me in pretty much all aspects of my life. Oh, and seriously you definitely need more breaks than you realise — coding longer does not mean better. Oh if you can do a headstand, do it often…and if not, just bend forward and let your head hang out for a bit … blood flow to the head will help you solve your problems better and faster!

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codebar is a non-profit initiative that facilitates the growth of a diverse tech community by running free weekly programming workshops.