Introducing the codebar Oxford Team!

In September 2016, Beverley started up the codebar Oxford chapter, and organised two workshops for 2016. Now, the team is growing, and she’s being joined by Bonnie and Marten for a bigger and even better year for the Oxford chapter! Also to stay up to date with the latest workshops and goings on within the new chapter make sure to follow the chapter on twitter.

Here is a Q&A session with each of the three organisers, to introduce them to you — although hopefully you’ll get to know them in person at an Oxford workshop soon ;)

Bonnie

Bonnie!

Q: What motivated you to join codebar Oxford?

Having landed my first developer role this year I felt a big responsibility to get out there and use my position as a minority in the tech industry to promote diversity. I’m really passionate about giving people the knowledge and self-confidence to break into the world of programming.

Q: What is your day job?

I’m a developer at a website called Photocrowd. We are a social platform for amateur photographers where you can enter contests and get feedback on your photos from the community. I work primarily with Django.

Q: How did you get into tech?

My degree is in Chemistry, but after university I ended up in a job testing websites. This job gave me a good insight into the industry and some valuable experience working with websites, but left me wanting to be more involved in actually creating them! I had learnt a small amount of Java at university and really enjoyed programming, so I taught myself web development online, put together a portfolio website of the projects I had done and started applying for dev roles.

Q: What advice would you give to people looking to switch into tech?

You’ll have to put in some work to get there, but it is very doable — don’t give up! Get onto some online courses like Codecademy and Udacity, go to local tech meetups and definitely check out if there’s a codebar chapter near you! It is so much easier to learn if you have people that can help you out when you get stuck, plus it’s a massive confidence boost to have people who can show you how far you’ve come.

Start applying for jobs before you think you’re ready. Often you’re being really critical of your abilities and you’ll find that companies are actually looking for talent more than experience. Interviewing is also a valuable experience where you’ll get some really great advice and meet influential people in the sector.

Marten!

Marten

Q: What motivated you to join codebar Oxford?

I’ve long been aware that tech has a diversity issue, and I think it’s great that initiatives like codebar are trying to remedy this. Since I love working with people to become better developers, what better way to actually help improve diversity beyond retweeting things?

Q: What is your day job?

I’m a developer for the University of Oxford, working on a citizen science website called Zooniverse. We enable anyone to contribute to scientific research by doing some analysis on large datasets that scientists can’t feasibly get analysed in other ways.

Q: How did you get into tech?

One of my first computers came with a programming language called QBasic, which had an example game where you controlled gorillas throwing bananas at each other. It also included the source code for this, which led to tinkering with banana speeds and other (to my young mind) hilarious changes to the game like making the gorillas really big.

I got my first “real” job was while I was still doing computer science in college. On the side, I was working on an open-source blog engine in the then-new Ruby on Rails. This got me noticed by a web hosting company who asked whether I would work part-time for them to provide tech support for their customers that wanted to run Rails. From there I grew into a role with more development responsibilities.

Q: What advice would you give to people looking to switch into tech?

Think of something you would want to build, but try to keep it relatively simple and something that you make your own life better if it existed. Keeping it personal makes motivation to keep chipping away at it easier. Maybe try to find a mentor, someone who is further along than you are and is happy to discuss questions for 30 minutes to an hour every one or two weeks in exchange for a hot beverage of choice.

Beverley

Q: What motivated you to join codebar Oxford?

I really love what codebar does, and when I left London, I knew I’d really miss it. So I thought I’d put my organisational skills into use, and take on a new challenge — and start up a chapter here! It’s been hard work, but worth every second.

Q: What is your day job?

A: I work as a Front End intern at Oxford Computer Consultants at the moment, and I’m really enjoying it! I work mostly with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, in a UX Design team.

Q: How did you get into tech?

My degree is actually in English and German Literature, which I gained in 2015! I then got a job in the non-profit Code First: Girls, where I got to take a course or two of theirs. I worked there for 7 months before switching to a Front End internship at Zooniverse at the University of Oxford (where I met Marten!) After that ended, I moved to my current internship.

Q: What advice would you give to people looking to switch into tech?

It is tough, particularly with non-traditional routes, but don’t give up! Make a GitHub profile, think of a project idea, create a repository for it and keep adding to it every few days in short amounts. Add issues to help you track what you want to build and add, and to keep you motivated. And if you get stuck, ask for help! There are so many wonderful people out there in the tech industry who are keen to help you :). I’ve also learnt that teaching others what you’ve learnt is really helpful!