your daily code for breakfast

Spotlight 65: Let me introduce you to developer Kimberley!

Happy July everyone! Another great week, another great Spotlight Friday, another great interview! This week we’re off to England to meet Kimberley! Kimberley is a front-end/iOs developer and she currently works as a creative technologist. Curious what her day looks like? Read more below.. :-) Thank you Kimberley!

Name: Kimberley Cook
Job: Creative Technologist at Shortlist Media
Favorite website, app or gadget: I have quiet a few favourite apps for different situations. CItymapper is great for getting around, it has saved me in many lost situations. You can save journeys offline too which is great if you’re in a city outside the UK with no data. Quartz is a great new app that lets you read the news is an iMessage chat format by saying whether you want to read more or skip that particular bit of news. And Instagram for looking at pretty pictures and documenting things I’ve done.
Favorite book: 1984 by George Orwell
Twitter:  kimberleycook91

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I’ve always had an interest in computers ever since we got one in our house for the first time when I was 8. I remember asking my Dad all the time to play on it, and hearing the dial-up tone and my mum asking me to get off it so she could phone someone. I didn’t really think I could do a job that involved this till I went to college and studied media studies. One of my modules was building a website, my sister is a mobile hairdresser so I asked if I could build her a website as part of my course and absolutely loved it. I was also studying Law and was adamant that was what I was going to study at university but completely changed my mind when I saw the website actually online. Seeing people looking at your website I knew I wanted to do this all the time.

What does your working day look like?
I get up at 7:30, and always try to cycle to the office. I find sitting at a computer all day can be pretty tiring so when I cycle I feel 10 times more awake. I’ll be in the office by 9:30, I’ll check emails and Slack whilst drink tea and eating breakfast. At 10 the team get together and have our morning stand up, then I normally have a list of things I’ll need to do for the day on Trello. Some days I can be sat coding all day, some days can involve meetings about a new project. My job involves a fair bit of prototyping so I can sometimes be sat in a team wire framing ideas too. Which is an aspect that I particularly enjoy. 

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Last year I spent 3 months building an app for DiabetesUK that went on a tour around the country. People would fill out a questionnaire and it would determine whether they were at a low, medium or high risk of Type 2 Diabetes. If they were at a high risk it would AirPrint out their results for them to take to a doctor. This was particularly fun because I not only got to work on parts of development that were new to me i.e AirPrint but also it was for a really good cause. Knowing that you had built something that was helping people was a really great feeling.

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I can’t really pin point one particular person but I am an organiser of a non-profit initiative called codebar. We run weekly workshops for underrepresented people in the community to come and learn to code in a safe and welcoming environment. I would say every single person that is involved in this. The other incredible organisers who all inspire me with their dedication and hard work. All of the coaches who give up their time to teach people, some coaches I see every single week which is absolutely incredible. And the students, who are all so dedicated to learning to code. It has taught me that regardless of what level or age you are, everyone has something to learn from someone else.

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
Because of how selfless people are. Someone will learn something and instantly want to share their knowledge at a meet up via a talk or online tutorials. No other industry I know is as sharing with their own knowledge.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I studied Interactive Media Production at Bournemouth University. It was a course for people who knew they enjoyed ‘tech’ but where unsure of what they wanted to do. We got to experiment with all kinds of aspects of tech from web, apps and gaming to even the languages we were writing these in. As well as looking into the design side of what you were building too. This meant I got to experiment with different areas of tech before spending my final year specialising in an area I enjoyed the most.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Just play around and build stuff. People can get so caught up in following tutorials that you’ll never feel ready to build something. Set yourself a little project and learn as you build it. This process is a much more fun way to learn. Also there is SO MUCH stuff to learn so do not stress yourself out trying to learn it all as you never will.

Extra question from Jill: What is the biggest struggle you’ve faced/are facing in your career?
I think the biggest struggle in tech is keeping up with the latest things, be it a new JavaScript framework, API, updates to a language, ETC ETC. I do find a great way to keep up with these things is to go to meet ups where there is regular talks or read blog posts. But this is also the reason why I love the industry as there is always something new to learn.