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In the Spotlight 29: Sorcha Bowler

It’s time for Spotlight number 29! This week we’re going to meet the amazing Sorcha Bowler. Enjoy reading!

About
Sorcha has been writing code most of her life, starting with drawing pictures in BASIC as a child. About four years ago she decided to switch careers and write code professionally. She’s been a Python developer for a year and a half now and is still completely delighted with herself. She has a husband, a seven year old son, and far too many hobbies, including running, playing boardgames, knitting, blues dancing, swing dancing, and writing more code.

Name:  Sorcha Bowler
Job: Server Developer (Python) at Dedsert / Betbright.com
Favorite website, app or gadget: Tumblr. It’s great for unwinding.
Twitter: saoili
Site: http://saoili.blogspot.ie/

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
My Dad’s a programmer. My two older brothers and my older sister all got into computers ahead of me. I was indecisive, so it kinda happened by itself :). I had always loved maths, and puzzles (particularly logic puzzles), so it was quite a natural fit.

What does your working day look like?
A bit of work in the morning, followed by the stand up meeting, where I catch up with what the rest of the team is doing. Throughout the day I work closely with the other members of my team, all of whom sit close to me. I write Python code, and tests for that code. I do code reviews on code written by the other back end developers on the team, I make changes that come back from reviews they’ve done on my code, and I fix bugs in back end code that’s come back from QA.

Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
I love the ‘aha’ moments of writing code. Solving a difficult puzzle, making something work when it hasn’t been working, and those sort of achievements provide a wonderful feeling of cleverness.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I have a Computer Science and Software Engineering degree from NUI Maynooth. I loved the maths, logic, and algorithms and data structures courses. But really the programming courses are where I learned the most useful skills for my career now. I wrote C++ and Java in college, and now I write Python, but I have been able to apply a lot of what I had learned.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
I actually gave a lightening talk on this at Pycon Ireland 2014, and the slides are available here: http://slides.com/sorchabowler/bootstrapping-a-programming-career/#/. I really recommend Python as a first programming language, there’s a lot of resources to learn it free online, and a great community. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this, there’s so much available for free. Do small projects and solve problems on sites like CodeEval. Attend workshops (often free!) and volunteer to mentor at them as soon as you feel ready. And apply for jobs, even if you think you’re underqualified. Applying and failing will show you what you need to work on.

 

Thank you Sorcha!

 

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