Introducing Kate Westbrook, Full Stack Software Developer
What is your role and current job?
I am a full stack software developer at Planes Studio, a digital product agency.
How did you get into tech?
I have always been really interested in tech, design and languages, but only recently transitioned into tech from a ten year career in education (I was a primary school teacher and then worked in museum education). I built up a solid basis of full stack engineering knowledge by learning how to code on a 3 month long bootcamp course.
What have the biggest challenges been as a woman or non-binary person in tech?
Moving into tech from a field dominated by women has been a bit of a shock to the system. I think I had been a bit unaware of how unequal some industries like tech still are in terms of gender representation. Luckily the company I work for has pretty good gender representation on our teams, including the engineering team, so it’s super inspiring to see more senior engineers that are women and that it might be a possible path for me.
Have you overcome any of these issues? If so, how?
I am always a very confident/passionate advocate for equality and am lucky enough to have found discussions about this are embraced and actioned where I work. So I have just kept on shouting about it. My personal next step is to find a mentor to give me advice about developing my engineering skills and navigating the industry as a woman.
What advice would you give others in a similar position?
Keep being brave, don’t let anyone tell you that you “can’t”, keep finding opportunities to learn and take advantage of all of the amazing free, open-source resources there are available for people learning to code.
Are there any resources you recommend sharing?
There are so many brilliant free resources for learning how to code — I often top up my understanding using W3 schools as a reference and have completed courses on Codecademy to cement understanding. Frontend Mentor also has some amazing hands on challenges to complete, which is a great way to practice skills.
When did you first hear about Triangirls?
I am in the Planes DEI group and so am always on the look out for events for underrepresented groups in tech to share with our team. I spotted the Triangirls IWD event just around the corner from our office and knew I had to sign up!
What have you learnt about yourself in the past year?
I only started my coding journey in July 2021, so my biggest revelation in the past year has been how brave I could be! Totally changing career track and learning a whole new skill set has been a huge transition, but I did it! And the skills from my previous career (communication, team work, project management) have all been incredibly useful alongside my new coding skills.