🧵Our final Ambassador for this series is Hannah Gooding, a CFG Ambassador and Senior Engineer with a passion for Python. Hannah’s journey from the fashion world to tech has been marked by resilience and determination, and she now aims to work on projects addressing the climate crisis in the sustainable fashion space.
THE HOT SIX QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS!
- Favourite coding language? (if you have one!)
- What is your choice of beverage for coding?
- Black coffee, and then when I’ve reached my caffeine limit, I switch to tea, or whatever I can pilfer from the office drinks fridge. If I’m lucky enough to acquire coconut water it’s a good day.
- Desk set up – RGB, Minimal or my aesthetic
- For my home working set up I like a standing desk because I get lower back pain. I briefly tried using a desk treadmill and that was absolutely awful and nearly resulted in serious injury.
- If You had to only use one for life: Laptop or PC?
- Laptop for sure – I like to move around!
- Are you most productive in the morning or evening/night?
- I am not a morning person no matter how hard I’ve tried, annoyingly I get all my energy in the evening when I shouldn’t.
- What do you listen to whilst you code and where? Spotify, radio, vinyl or fave CD?
- I code a lot in silence because words can be distracting, but if I need some debugging motivation blasting a really intense playlist can help!
I began my coding journey with CFG by completing a CFG course and continued on with the community afterwards, by staying up to date via the newsletters. Eventually, I reached a moment in my career, where I felt like I could free up some more time to teach others. So I wanted to give back to CFG in particular because they gave me the free education that helped with my career switch. I started by signing up to teach a Kickstarter course and then when the opportunity to become an ambassador came about – I jumped at the chance to spread the word about CFG to help promote gender diversity in tech. This is my second year as an ambassador, and it is really rewarding!
As for my career – I previously worked at EDITED, where I initially began working in the front-end team, because I wanted to gain new experience in that area of software development. However, during my probation period, I was able to support my team by demonstrating my back-end skills with Python and Django. Which kickstarted a change in my job title to becoming a Full-Stack Developer. This now simply means I work on the end-to-end development of products!
Aside from being a CFG Ambassador, I am happy to share that I have recently returned to Lyst and have started my new role as a Senior Engineer!
“My ultimate goal is to work for a company that is using technology to combat the climate crisis, particularly within the sustainable fashion space.”
💻Can you please share what led you on the path towards the tech industry? And what aspects of tech are you interested in?
By 2019, I had reached five years of working in the fashion industry and felt like my career was not progressing, which led me to start searching for a new pathway. At the time, a friend of mine had switched careers to web development, which she began with a Code First Girls course. She suggested that I too should give it a go and see if I enjoyed coding. So, I signed up and took part in the Web Dev Kickstarter course after work, and I loved it! I consequently quit my job to focus on teaching myself how to code, then eventually enrolled on the Founders and Coders boot camp, and the rest is history. I’ve been working as a software engineer for three years now, within product-focused roles using web technologies.
My ultimate goal is to work for a company that is using technology to combat the climate crisis, particularly within the sustainable fashion space. But right now my focus is on developing my skills to a senior level so that I can be best placed to chase that dream in the future!
👏What is the role of a Confidence Coach and what was your experience like as a Confidence Coach for CFG? Please could you also share some more details about the student you were also paired with and how that made you feel?
Code First Girls provides confidence coaching to candidates who are applying for sponsored places on the CFG degree programme. All of these companies are very prestigious and competitive to secure roles at, and as such they expect to interview candidates of high calibre. As the CFGdegree is designed for beginners (you do have to pass a basic tech assessment though!), some candidates may not have experienced a tech interview before because they may have just left university, or never interviewed for a corporate role before, whilst some others may have taken a career break. Confidence coaching is offered to give all the candidates guidance on performance such as understanding behaviour competencies, combatting imposter syndrome and boosting their confidence before their interview.
The most satisfying thing about being a Confidence Coach is helping candidates see their true potential, and reframing how they value their previous experience. Entering a new industry can be really daunting, and I also personally struggled with that feeling of not having the right experience to become a software engineer. So, when a candidate tells me at the end of a session that they are feeling much more confident, or connects with me on LinkedIn afterwards to say they were successful, I feel really proud of what I do.
📝What is the best or most memorable coding project you have worked on and what did you learn from it? This could either be during your training phase or at work (if you are allowed to share)
Previously, when I first started out at Lyst as an engineer, one of our OKRs (Objective and Key Results) was to improve the data quality of the mass amount of products we had listed on the website and mobile app. This was an open-ended project for my team, which unlike building a new feature where you start with a design, instead we had to dig deeper into the code and identify the potential sources of “bad” data.
It was a trial and error process because sometimes our suggested solutions didn’t work – so we’d have to iterate and come up with new ones. Let’s be honest, sometimes fixing data can be really dry so we also had to innovate ways to encourage the team to get involved. We even held a party in the office to carry out an audit and run a script that removed a huge amount of bad data altogether. There were a lot of memes and moments to celebrate that quarter. This was such a memorable project for me because it was a rare occasion that involved everyone working on the same project, which produced a huge amount of momentum and excitement.
💘As a CFG Ambassador, what one piece of helpful advice you’d like to share with our community? It could be career, life, coding, learning etc. related.
Coming from the fashion industry, it was a big switch for me to enter a male-dominated industry, so I wish someone had prepared me for the amount of resilience I would need to have in this industry. I love my job but it isn’t always easy being a woman in tech. When I started out I had a lot of faith that once I proved myself that it would be smooth sailing. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite. The more senior I get, the more it seems I have to prove myself.
So my advice is to find a mentor who can guide you, and a support network for when you just need to vent about how tough it is. Women leave the tech industry at an alarming rate, and if I didn’t have my mentors and support network, I could have been adding to that statistic.
👓 Being a Full-Stack Engineer requires a lot of screen time during your day. What do you like to do away from the 9-5?
I love watching TV to switch off – especially my reality shows so I refuse to give that up. Instead, I aimed to reduce my phone screen time to give my eyes and brain a rest from constant stimulation. I’ve set time limits on the apps on my phone so that it can only be overridden by a password, which I had my boyfriend decide on the passwords so I wouldn’t be tempted to type it out myself. Eventually, I got into a habit of not opening the apps and today don’t have Twitter, Instagram or TikTok apps on my phone at all.
Away from screens, I like going on dog walks. I don’t have a dog of my own but I am a prolific dog sitter. I am an extrovert so I love being around my friends and family, and if there is karaoke involved even better! I also enjoy travelling, so I try to maximise my annual leave to accommodate my wanderlust. I still love fashion but studying fashion retail made me associate sewing with high pressure and stress, however, I’ve recently dusted off my Granny’s 1980s Bernina and am slowly easing myself back into it.