What was your first-ever job?
My first-ever job was writing funding proposals and managing donor relationships for a charity based in Surrey. I had just moved back to the UK after my master’s degree and at the time I had applied to a range of very different roles.
Could you tell us a bit about your work history?
My career so far can be divided into two parts: before and after I discovered software engineering.
I spent the first few years of my career working for various nonprofits, from national charities to international development organisations.
After becoming a developer, I found my first job at a digital consultancy, Red River Software, where I developed web applications for a variety of clients, from travel companies to logistics and recycling businesses.
I then moved to London and joined Dow Jones, where I worked with international teams on user-facing and internal tools behind news websites such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial News London and Barron’s. I was in a small multifunctional team with lots of ownership and independence, so I had the chance to be involved with everything from developing features for users and subscribers and deploying them to production, to fixing publishing issues for editors to liaising with advertising and analytics teams. This role helped me grow a lot as a developer and introduced me to technologies such as Next.js and AWS.
I think my previous experiences have helped me become a better developer by introducing me to different fields, projects and ways of working. However, what made the biggest difference is that I have always been lucky to be surrounded by extremely smart and knowledgeable people, who have inspired me to challenge myself and never stop learning.
What advice would you give to somebody looking to start their career in your field of work, or looking to transition to your field of work?
My advice would be to certainly study the fundamentals well – such as studying one programming language in-depth – and to practice by doing personal projects. With that being said, it is also very important to acknowledge that the complexity and scope of web development are continuously growing, so there is room for many interests and specialisms. If transitioning into tech from another career, getting to know people working in the sector as well as other aspiring engineers, whether through meetups or online communities is also a great idea. Knowing I wasn’t the only one approaching software from a non-technical background encouraged me a lot.
Do you have any learning resource recommendations for your field of work?
There are lots of resources available online, many even for free, to learn about software development. Some which I found useful when I was starting out are freeCodeCamp, Codecademy and Udemy.
Recently, I’ve been using Frontend Masters, egghead and A Cloud Guru.
Youtube is also a good place for finding recordings of recent talks and conferences, whereas Smashing Magazine, CSS Tricks and web.dev from Google have in-depth articles covering every aspect of web development.
Finally, what led you to apply to NearForm?
I was looking for a role that would allow me to work remotely both from the UK, where I live now, and from Italy, where I’d like to return sometime soon to be closer to my family. What impressed me about NearForm is its commitment to open source and the prospect of working with very experienced professionals using the latest technologies. Right now, I couldn’t be happier with my choice.