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“Don’t get lost in the sauce.” – An interview with Alice McNeil

I am obsessed by this interview from the awesome Alice McNeil, who is a Front-End Developer at our good friends at RocketMakers – she’s definitely one to watch! Alice came into the industry through the Mayden Academy bootcamp. If you are interested in a bootcamp, mayden is a great one and Alice explains why in this interview.

I loveeee Alice’s answer to ”Being a young female working in tech, what is something you would say has surprised you the most about the industry?” 

Have a read, support the next generation and eat all the cake!

Firstly congratulations on your new role with Rocketmakers, could you tell me a bit about what you do?

I am a front-end software developer. I design and build websites and apps as part of my team here at Rocketmakers. I write code to tell an application how to look and how to work. I am also doing some graphic design and branding for apps.

I know you did an internship with them and covered Marketing and Project Management, where did your passion for technology come from?

I wouldn’t consider myself as having a passion for technology in particular, I have a passion for creating things. I fell in love with coding because its a limitless tool that would help me create digital applications that looked and worked exactly how I had envisioned them. I’ve grown up surrounded by the evolution of technology, it is such an integral part of my lifestyle – creating it just makes sense to me.

When I left school to start my internship I only knew that I liked graphic design and event management, I knew more about the kind of place and people I wanted to work with than any definitive job role. I found Rocketmakers first and after curiously looking over the developers’ shoulders for 6 months I decided the career I wanted to pursue.

You haven’t followed the typical career path into tech but completed a bootcamp with Mayden, how was that?

When I was looking at my options for learning to become a software developer I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of it. I knew that:

  • I needed a relatively short term course so that I could get on to creating ‘real’ applications that are used by real people as quickly as possible
  • Going back to a heavily academic place, like university, for 3+ years wouldn’t suit me
  • I needed to have enough knowledge to be able to start contributing to projects when I came back to Rocketmakers.
  • I wouldn’t have the motivation, time or focus to teach myself

Mayden Academy, as a 16 week intensive course ticked all these boxes. I graduated on Friday and came back to Rocketmakers on Monday and could get straight into some project work. Mayden gave me a great across-the-board understanding of software development. Of course I still have so much more to learn but completing the bootcamp course has given me a head start.

Would you recommend a bootcamp for someone wanting to get into technology?

Absolutely, it worked so well as a boost for my career as a developer. The apprenticeship scheme I am on was a lifesaver, it means I was assured a job when I left Mayden Academy, I get a qualification at the end of it and it was much more financially viable!

Being a young female working in tech, what is something you would say has surprised you the most about the industry?

The thing that has surprised me most is how little judgment I’ve experienced being only 19 and a woman working in technology sector. I haven’t felt I’ve been treated any differently and frankly I wouldn’t have it, I want to be judged on my contributions, my ideas, my conversations with the people I work with, not by insignificant factors like my age and/or appearance. Initially I was a little worried, as most women working in a majority male workplace have had some experience with inequality, I consider myself extremely lucky to work in a progressive and equal workplace.

Although still relatively new to you, and I am sure you are still learning so much at RM but what is your favourite thing about coding so far?

I love seeing a project come together. I am an impatient developer, I want to see the application take shape, to look good and be usable as quickly as possible.

What is one bit of advice you would give to someone who is looking to get a role in tech?

Why not? Like really why not get into tech? This time last year I had no experience in development, very little knowledge about working in a tech team and no nerdy passion that I thought was necessary. I like creating, that’s my focus, code was just another tool for me to keep creating.

What is your favourite quote?

I don’t have just one favourite quote so here are a few:

Know the difference between the zone and the hole, keep moving and keep making moves and celebrate every little victory and most importantly, don’t get lost in the sauce.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My mum, she was an inspirational woman. She is still the voice in my head that tells me to take a break, and to ‘eat another slice of chocolate cake’.



Thank you for taking part x

Women Rock – A voice for diversity in tech <3

An interview by Alicia Teagle 

I: @womenrockbristol

T: @womenrockbrstl

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