Say hello to some of our women in engineering!

Posted by on June 25, 2021

We celebrated International Women in Engineering Day earlier this week with a video featuring some of our own. This inspired a few more of us to mark the occasion and say hello. What’s exciting is that there are many different routes to a career in engineering. Say hello to…


Katrina 👋

Katrina

Who inspires you in the tech world?

I think I’ve been genuinely lucky to start out at FreeAgent. Over the years I’ve worked with some great developers and what’s been lovely is they’re quite a varied bunch in terms of their areas of interest, which I think helps make us a strong team. I was horrendously nervous when I started and was very conscious of the fact I was starting out late and without a traditional background in computer science. But from day one I felt welcomed. To name a specific person, I’d have to say Maria Gutierrez, who was previously with FreeAgent and is now at Twitter. She was the person who first suggested I could have the skills for a move to tech and without her support and encouragement I would not have made the move – I’d still be in my other life feeling like a square peg in a round hole. And she’s still always there now if I want some advice or guidance.

What’s your favourite programming language or technology?

Ruby was the first language I learned and it’s one I use a lot at FreeAgent so I think I’d have to say Ruby.

Can you tell us how you started your career journey in engineering?

When I was on maternity leave with my second child, around six years ago, I was reassessing my career and realised I really wanted a change. A friend had suggested programming to me and I’d tried out a lot of online courses and tutorials and found I really enjoyed it. It was just around that time that CodeClan launched in Edinburgh so I went along to an info session, had an interview and signed up. I loved the course and afterwards joined FreeAgent, where I’ve been for 4 1/2 years now, moving from junior engineer to mid-level. Making the career change was the best decision ever and I have never regretted it.

What is your superpower? ✨

I think I’m adaptable. Things are always changing and it helps to be able to go with the flow and be open to new things.


Anda 👋

Anda

Who inspires you in the tech world?

Laura Kalbag for her excellent work on accessibility, social justice and privacy.

What’s your favourite programming language or technology?

I have a love/hate relationship with Javascript, sometimes I really enjoy it and sometimes I question why it exists. I also think Ruby is great!

Can you tell us how you started your career journey in engineering?

I studied Computer Science way back in high school. I’ve always enjoyed computers and technology ever since I was little so it made sense to stay in the field. I studied Computer Science & Software Engineering in Uni. Although I do have a degree, I don’t think it should be a requirement for a career in engineering. Everyone’s path is different and we should learn from people with different backgrounds and points of view.

What is your superpower? ✨

Communication! I love transparent communication, keeping people in the loop and making sure we’re all on the same page. I also love learning which is an asset in any career!


Sheila 👋

Sheila

Who inspires you in the tech world?

The first person to really inspire me within the tech world on a personal level was Ann Budge. Ann set up Newell & Budge with business partner Allison Newell in 1985. The company specialised in producing bespoke software and IT systems, serving clients including government and some of Edinburgh’s leading banks and insurance companies. I was employed by Newell & Budge in Edinburgh as a graduate software engineer. I discovered that I really enjoyed working with clients to understand their requirements and deliver software solutions to enable them to run their businesses more effectively. I was impressed how Ann had built the business so successfully and later it inspired me to take a risk and set up my own.

What’s your favourite programming language or technology?

I have enjoyed working with many programming languages in my career but I do have a soft spot for C#.

Can you tell us how you started your career journey in engineering?

Engineering found me I think. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I applied to university. I was offered a place at Trinity College in Dublin to study Mathematics and Computing and turned it down as I decided I didn’t want to take computing! Instead, I chose to study Accountancy and Finance at Heriot Watt as that seemed like a sensible career choice. While I very much enjoyed aspects of the course – Finance, Tax, Business Organisation – I wasn’t convinced Accountancy was the job for me. I wanted to do something more creative. I applied for a postgraduate course in Information Systems which was geared up for graduates with Social Science degrees to learn computing. I discovered I really enjoyed programming, especially gathering user requirements and delivering solutions to meet their needs. I was fortunate to be offered a graduate software engineering role at Newell & Budge and so my career journey began!

What is your superpower? ✨

Resilience. I like to prove the naysayers wrong. I set up a Website Monitoring company just as the dot com bubble burst and persevered to build a successful business.


Lorna 👋

Lorna

Who inspires you in the tech world?

Cat Swetel | Sal Freudenberg | Kim Crayton

What’s your favourite programming language or technology?

Anything that allows screensharing for collaborative coding, plus git for the same reason. I am at my best when I’m working as part of a group, which surprises a lot of people when they learn that I’m autistic and an engineer. 

Can you tell us how you started your career journey in engineering?

My then-employer decided to close their entire Edinburgh operation, which gave me the chance to really think about what I wanted to do. I went along to codebar Edinburgh for several months, and was fortunate to have some really good coaches who helped me explore not just the technicalities of coding but also the thought process behind this kind of problem solving.  Once I was certain that this was the right direction for me, I did the 16 week course at CodeClan.

What is your superpower? ✨

I’m a tractor: I’m not fast, but there’s very little that will actually stop me.


Claire 👋

Claire

Who inspires you in the tech world?

Managers or team leaders who are genuinely interested in widening the recruitment net to include people from all walks of life, not just those with specific qualifications or history, and who truly value the diversity and fresh perspectives resulting from this. Valerie Dryden is an Edinburgh-based leader in tech and was also my first tutor at CodeClan – she was only there for a few weeks of my course but made a huge impression on our class, and she’s out there pushing for change in recruiting and building genuinely diverse teams.

What’s your favourite programming language or technology?

Whichever one I am using the most at the time, so right now, Ruby! But it has previously been C# and Typescript, so I’m sure it’ll change again…

Can you tell us how you started your career journey in engineering?

I went to CodeClan, Scotland’s training program for people seeking a new career in software engineering. Previously I had worked in the events and festivals industry for many years, so it was quite a shift. I took the plunge after realising how much I enjoyed logic and creative problem-solving, and because I wanted to move into an industry that was growing fast and had more opportunities.

What is your superpower? ✨

Details: it was a superpower in the events industry and perhaps even more so now. Being able to see the intricacies of a problem or a project and find ways to address them. I also try to always ensure every voice in a team is being heard, since that’s the only way we will get the best result.


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