In the Spotlight 12: Morena Fiore-Kirby
It’s Spotlight Friday! Number 12: This week we’re meeting Morena Fiore-Kirby!
Name: Morena Fiore-Kirby
Job: Web Developer
Favorite website, app or gadget: At the moment I am in love with my goPro which I attach on my dog’s back and record her adventures. I am really looking forward to our road trip to Italy this summer so I can see my homeland from my dog’s perspective. Other than that I love and support Bauwow (http://bauwowworld.com/) , a social network for dog owners, but also an ever-growing list of all the dog friendly areas around you!
What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I grew up surrounded by computers. Two of my cousins were really into video games, so I spent hours when visiting their house just ejecting a floppy disk and inserting another…that, combined with my dad’s curiosity about technology and the influence a friend of his had on him, resulted with me getting a computer very early. But I grew up in South Italy when between lunch time and 4pm kids are not really allowed outside, so I started to explore any possible feature of Windows XP and to tinker with any possible software available.
I did a lot of PowerPoint presentations and Photoshop photomontages; fonts were my best friends, I used to have thousands installed! Somehow though, my interest did not grow towards the design aspect, but more towards how were web pages are made and I started to learn by exploring existing websites, copying and editing code.
My aspiration in life was to move to London, but I had no plans for my life here. So it took me 5 years to realise my hobby should really be my day job since I loved it so much and that’s how the magic happened!
What does your working day look like?
I live quite far from our office, so I am able to work there for two days and work from home the rest of the week. This gives me a chance to have a good work-life balance, giving me also an opportunity to be in touch with nature, as I spend my lunch hour in the park with my dog. Like any other developer, I do have my bad days, but I genuinely love my job, so it being bug fixing or full website building, I love pretty much every bit of it. Bug fixing can be particularly satisfactory actually as I face new challenges and tick off “to-dos” from a list, making the website I am working on better and better. I do get a bit lonely when I work from home, so when I’m in the office, I really enjoy all the socialising and the banter.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I’ve worked on is a milk monitor. It’s an internal project here at HeathWallace to be featured in our intranet: a bit of hardware will monitor how much milk we have in the fridge and alert our office managers when supplies run low. It will eventually gather statistics on how much milk we use and when do we have the highest peaks and lows. I’ve been using it to start learning Node.js and it’s only the starting point of what other cool things we could measure with hardware!
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
Absolutely, she has been my mentor during my internship. She believed in me enough to hire me, invested in me even at the hardest of times and has been an example for me as she juggles motherhood and a career as a successful web developer. She makes me feel a very proud woman in tech.
Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
My secret love is for data. Getting something together on a page from a real data source for me is like magic. I am really bad at anything practical like gardening or crafts, but somehow I have infinite patience for making websites. I also love the fact that we make tools for our society and that we can build anything we want, I particularly like hack days when the silliest of ideas come to life.
I also like the community around Web Development here in the UK: there are lots of people happy to either come and talk about their knowledge or just teach at lots of free events. It’s an industry moving so fast, but it feels like we are all in this tough but fun journey together.
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I don’t and I regret it all the time. I did not have enough money to go to university so I learned everything on my own. I have developed a very selective learning habit, I am often almost in some sort of survival mode and therefore I recognise that my knowledge is patchy and something might stick in my head only if I do it enough times. It’s very frustrating and I always feel less knowledgeable than other people, and that the holes in my knowledge (for example for maths or logic or good programming foundations) would definitely not be there if I had studied programming properly, at uni maybe, where I imagine I would have picked up a more solid learning method, rather than my crazy patchy selective “Japanese survival game show” style method.
On the other hand though, lots of people tell me uni would not really have made a difference and all in all I am happy, though. I am very proud of how far I’ve come from the land of table-layout CSS and I have to say, I think I have developed a versatile and quick learning attitude which, together with a hunger for learning more pushes me in new directions every day.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Be curious. It’s how how I got there and how I navigate my way through every single day. Questioning everything is a key part of learning I think and by asking lots of questions, you’ll find yourself exploring new avenues every day.
Extra question from Sarah: What’s something you’d like to learn, but haven’t?
As much as I love Front End development, I thrive to be an all-rounder and do back-end as well. I would like to learn Ruby or Node.js more solidly. I’ve kept away from client side JS as events and animations scare me, but I’m learning more now and I am super excited about it. I feel like a hiker climbing mount Everest, one day I’ll get to the top and I’ll be a full stack developer!
Thank you Morena!
It’s so much fun to interview all these superwomen! :) Do you also know someone who really deserves a place in the spotlight? Get in touch!