Spotlight 45: Let’s meet Rebecca Turner
Hello everyone! First of all: my apologies for posting only a few articles in the last couple of weeks. Due to personal circumstances I wasn’t able to write more blog posts. Sorry! But I’m making it up to you by publishing this wonderful new spotlight interview with senior developer Rebecca Turner. Thank you Rebecca for your honest and inspirational story!
“I’m 27 from the UK, I’ve been working in the IT industry for around 7 years now but I’ve been in love with building websites since I was around 13 years old.”
Name: Rebecca Turner
Job: Senior Developer at LHM Media
Favorite website, app or gadget: I think every web developer struggles with this question. But I do love the Exposure website and the whole ethos of sharing photo stories, but I’m also an avid user of Laracasts (I’m a total Laravel fan girl). I think it’s an exceptional idea and Jeffrey Way’s tutorials are brilliant. So I’m torn and really don’t want to pick just one!
What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
When I was younger I spent a lot of time on NeoPets, that site where you’d have your own virtual pet and play games, earn points and create guilds. I remember looking up how to edit your guilds HTML page and fell in love with it from there. The more I got into it, the more I felt excited about being able to make something. It’s addictive, I knew from that age I wanted to be a web developer.
What does your working day look like?
I get up around 6 am and commute to work, whilst on the train I catch up with all the daily Internet happenings on Reddit then take a brisk 20 minute walk to the office. I grab a coffee and we all get together in the boardroom for our daily catch up. We use trello to manage our sprint tasks so that’s the first tab I open. I then prioritize my task and fire up PhpStorm to start my day.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
The coolest project I’ve worked on is a pretty recent one. At LHM we developed a feedback centre which allows patients to rate and review their GPs, dentists, nurses and other healthcare services. The product we launched in September has been my favourite project to date, it’s called Informatics and it’s built on Laravel. It allows us to pull in all the data we get from the reviews and display it in a dashboard reporting tool. We also run it through a sentiment analysis to indicate how positive/negative the review is, this means users can load up their dashboards and see what areas need improving in their healthcare services. It was a fun project to work on because I’d never used Laravel before and it meant I got to learn some exciting new skills. I was also involved in the planning stages of the project, which (as a control freak) was really interesting for me.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m behind or slow at learning things and I’d panic which would take all the fun out of development. Pressure is good but be kind to yourself, you’ll soon realise that everyone is in the same boat, so embrace it and your confidence will sky rocket!”
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I have a lot of heroes, I think thats whats one of the coolest thing about working in IT. I love Marissa Mayer for obvious girl power reasons! I watched a talk by Anna Debenham, I think it was at a Generate conference and I remember leaving feeling extremely inspired. I also love Jeffrey Way and Taylor Otwell (I said I was a laravel fan girl) , I use Laracasts daily and the whole Laravel community as a whole is one of the best I’ve been a part of.
Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
I’ve been quite lucky with the places I’ve worked and the colleagues I’ve met. We’ve all worked as part of a team and I think that’s what I enjoy doing – bouncing ideas around with other like-minded people and being able to see it on screen. I love the constant learning and how fast flowing the sector is. So yeah, the people and the work is what I love the most.
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I do, I studied Computing for Business, the most important thing this taught me was how to work as part of a team on a development project, I think (being the control freak that I am) if I hadn’t have gone to University and worked with others I would have struggled to let others take control of situations and projects.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Not to panic. Sometimes I feel like I’m behind or slow at learning things and I’d panic which would take all the fun out of development. Pressure is good but be kind to yourself, you’ll soon realise that everyone is in the same boat, so embrace it and your confidence will sky rocket!
Extra question from Laura: Did you ever want to quit the world of tech, and if so, what made you change your mind?
If I’m being totally honest, I’ve wanted to quit numerous times. When my confidence is low and I feel like I can’t do it anymore. Then I start planning a side project/personal project to remind me how much I love being a developer. I also have a lot of friends who work in the tech world so just meeting up with them and chatting about their day helps me realise that it’s probably one of the coolest jobs to have.