What first sparked your interest in Tech?

Janet (Junior QA Engineer): The pandemic. During this time, the world had to rely on technology to communicate. This inspired me to do some research into tech, and I became more attracted to the field as I saw how it could be applied to every single sector. There are truly so many paths to choose within tech, and I liked the endless choices. 

Lucy (Junior Software Engineer): I was working as a Programme Manager in an innovation organisation that gave funding to tech startups that have charitable aims. I was working ‘tech-adjacent’ but from the outside looking in, and I really wanted to be on the ground floor, building tech products. 

Reema (Junior Software Engineer): I took some Python courses online and discovered Codecademy. After this, I knew that I enjoyed coding and wanted to invest more of my time into it. 


How did you initially come to be involved with Code First Girls?

Janet: I saw a Code First Girls (CFG) ad on Instagram and spoke to someone I knew who also recommended them. I went to a few introductory sessions and then I decided to try one of their short courses. I really enjoyed it, so I applied for their qualification course. 


What did the onboarding process look like?

Reema: During my CFG degree, I was introduced to my mentor, a software engineer at Moneybox and I was given an introduction to the company. This included what we do at Moneybox, team structure, and a high-level overview of the systems and services used at Moneybox. This made my onboarding experience a lot smoother as I was able to integrate quickly with everyone. 

My line manager and mentor created a Trello board where I could focus on tasks to find my feet in my first month, such as softwares I needed to install, how to access different platforms, and also invites to team socials. I always felt like I had a clear direction of what I needed to do to get started. 


What does the day to day look like for someone in your team?

Janet: A typical day as a QA Engineer begins with a standup, where each person shares what they have been working on and highlights any blockers. Throughout the day, my main task is working on any bugs or features that need improving. 

I start by understanding the requirements of a task (we call these tickets), then write out scenarios and identify edge cases. As a mobile tester, I usually test features on both Android and iOS devices. I may also need to test the backend using tools like SQL to check the database. 

I add notes to the ticket to document my test findings. I also report any bugs or defects I find during testing and flag them to the relevant developer.

Lucy: A typical day as a Software Engineer begins with a standup where we go around the room and say what each of us are working on that day. Then we work on self-assigned JIRA tickets that could be related to fixing bugs, enacting copy changes, and building a new user journey through the app in our mission areas. 

We do this in groups, pairs or solo. We attend meetings on these new features, improvements and size tickets to see how long they may take, allowing our PMs to resource the team accordingly. I’m also still working on training on various platforms: you never truly stop learning with code. 

Reema (Junior Software Engineer): My day starts off with picking up tickets for fixing bugs. There are also a few stand up meetings, usually taking place every other morning with your mission team. Essentially you’re in two teams, a functional team (which is based around your role, for example Cloud Apps) and a mission team (based around a mission, for example, Retirement). 

In these meetings, you can discuss and update everyone on what you have been working on, your plans for the rest of the week, or raise any concerns. We also work on pair-programming (coding in pairs) which is really useful! 

Every Friday at 4.30pm our team has a ‘happy hour’ where we can catch-up, have a chat, and take part in a quiz made by someone in the team!


What would be your best piece of advice for someone who doesn’t come from a tech background but would like to challenge themselves?

Janet: Do your research and attend various introduction sessions as this will allow you to understand different areas of tech and what suits you. Do a short course so you can see if the potential field you are going down will be the field you enjoy. 

Also, it’s never too late to switch careers! Tech is constantly evolving, so there’s always time to start. 

Lucy: Give an online coding course a shot and see whether you enjoy coding. If you like proof-reading, thinking outside the box, and coming up with innovative solutions for problems, then tech may be the one for you.

Don’t be intimidated – lots of people who work in tech don’t have a Computer Science degree – your attitude and enthusiasm to learn are far more important. 

Reema: Definitely go for it! There are resources out there, such as CFG, Udemy, and Codecademy where you can try out some courses/projects before making a more invested decision. I didn’t come from a tech background and, though it is challenging at times, it keeps my brain ticking. 

Coding is really fun and being in tech is an environment that will allow you to constantly learn something new no matter how junior or senior you are. 


What is the biggest challenge you found getting into tech?

Janet: Unlearning the traditional habits we are taught. Tech is far from linear, it’s circular and involves constant growth. The processes are flexible and constant feedback will be provided which I think is crucial as it allows you to grow, work on yourself and improve your work.

Lucy: That it didn’t seem like an option sooner. It feels like it’s only now looked upon as something doable, and that’s not necessarily the case with other STEM areas. In a way, this makes getting into tech less intimidating.

Reema: Switching careers – I studied Medical Sciences at University and my understanding of switching fields was that I’d have to study for an additional 3 or 4 years. Luckily I was introduced to CFG at the right time. It’s a great platform for career changes as it was possible for me to make a much quicker transition into tech.