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This is my shot to do what I want to do! An interview with Genesis Self-Fordham

Genesis is a full-stack developer at Ecotricity, Bristol. I met her at the WTHub last year. She is uplifting and has made a positive impact on her company and leading the way for young women in technology.  Her passion and interests lie in working with technology to make a profound and positive impact to the environment, people, & business. She loves being in a career and place where she gets to work on puzzles, research, experiment and have fun. In her words, ‘always ready everyday to evolve like a pokèmon’

From Geography degree to underwriter from Chicago, IL USA to Bristol, how did you land your internship at Ecotricity?

This question makes me smile because when I first signed up for my courses in Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, I didn’t know I would be where I am today. I knew when I was assigned to make a portfolio for my Geographical Information Systems course, my professor had us make our own websites using bootstrap templates. She didn’t want us to spend so much time on it and just wanted us to add pictures and text. I went all out and created a GitHub and making my first repo. I was really proud of the portfolio and I found myself asking for more more and more!

I thought about doing a bootcamp course but the student loans were killing me, so I just took any job and got promoted to be an Underwriter. I wasn’t happy doing that, so I started going to tech meetups that were women focused when my schedule allowed me. Then my husband got a job offer in the UK and that’s when things definitely started changing.

I had just moved to the UK in May 2017, making my third international home. I told myself when prepping to move here, “this is my shot to do what I want to do.” I have had this desire to just code for a long time. So I did that for 3 months and went to different Meetups to learn about people’s journeys, resources and support. One day in Women’s Tech Hub, a recruiter had spoken to us about a GREEN, VEGAN, ENERGY, INNOVATIVE company. I felt sick to my stomach because I knew straight away that was where I needed to be. So I reached out the agency and my passion about the environment and coding got me an internship.

Where does your passion for coding come from?

I think of coding projects as one of those DIY craft kits where you make beaded jewellery or the obstacle courses but they can grow more complex. I like to problem-solve; I appreciate the emotional and the logical bits of the journey to solve something. I think I also like getting immediate feedback if something is not right which keeps me engaged.

What advice would you give to ladies who want do an internship within tech?

Please first look into getting a job first. If it’s an internship for a company that you’re passionate about, go to the interview and be yourself. Show them what makes you unique, tell them why you’re interested, sell your personality for what it is. You deserve to be there so don’t profile yourself and think of stereotypes you may or may not fit. It’s 2018, we want inclusive, friendly, intelligent and diverse workplaces. Get yourself a mentor and once you have one get another, then after working for a couple of months, become a mentor.

Congratulations on securing a permanent position with Ecotricity. Did you face any challenges when moving from your internship to a permanent position?

It caught me off guard to be honest, I have been working hard setting up our new office in Bristol and working on a project at the time. It was a lot of work so when I was offered a permanent position, I was excited but also felt the imposter syndrome. I think what helped me get over the imposter syndrome, not that it ever goes away, is looking at job description I had when I applied, the JIRA tickets I have completed and speaking to the people who have supported me along the way. It’s important to speak to the people who have supported you because it’s difficult calculating your accomplishments as it’s your first Junior permanent role. I found talking to supportive people helps a lot.

What are you ambitions?

Setting up my own tech company one day, and start learning about hardware hacking because it looks fun!

Who is your role model?

My mother is the most positive person in my world. She left Ecuador with my sister and I to move to Chicago for a better life and opportunities. She did it as a single mom, it’s incredible! We had nothing and yet my mother took care of us both. She is my number one cheerleader and I absolutely love talking to her about anything and everything in Spanish.

Thank you so much Genesis, keep rocking!

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