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Take a chance, life is a chance! The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare – An interview with Jaycee Cheong

I met up with Jaycee a couple of weeks ago, and all I can say is WOW, she is such a positive inspiration for the industry and women in tech. She didn’t follow the typical STEM route, but always knew she wanted to follow a career in technology so did her research and completed a course with Makers Academy. She is often at meet-ups around the city, hackathons and conferences to stay in the loop of emerging frameworks, practices and languages.

Jaycee also contributes back to the community, mentoring others on their programming journey, contributing to Open Source, and presenting technical topics. Together we are going to be working on something really exciting for Bristol over the next coming months (now!)

Here is her story.

From a Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition to Full stack engineer, what is your story?

Growing up, I have an interest in both areas, science and coding. I decided to pursue Human Nutrition degree and during the years at university, I took the time to explore career options after graduation. In the end, I realised I loved anything tech. Over the years since graduation, I worked in tech companies but the roles I went for became more technical and eventually I decided to go to a bootcamp, and landed my first software development job shortly after the bootcamp.

Why did you choose Makers Academy?

I decided to attend a bootcamp after exploring a few training options so I researched a few online and local bootcamps. As my goal was to be a part of a software development team, I spoke to experienced developers, and they mentioned that the curriculum at Makers Academy really stood out from the crowd. I learnt a lot, not only technical knowledge, but a few other things such as adopting a growth mindset and more. Link to my blogpost about this.

Where does your passion for technology come from?

I completed a Double ICT module at GCSE, and one of the projects was to build a website! I was obsessed with that project, and I still remember the Myspace days, which helped me learnt HTML and CSS!

Being a ‘fullstack developer’ isn’t just about coding, what do you do day to day at immersive labs?

My day to day throughout the week at Immersive Labs can be quite vary. Beside coding, I help the business to translate business requirement into technical requirement for my team. I also facilitate Scrum duties within the team, so the team can stay focus within each sprint on the goal.

You are a volunteer for Women Hack for Non-profits, a leader of Women Who Code Bristol and an instructor at Code First: Girls – What does this entail?

Women Hack for Non-profits is a community of women in tech building open source projects for non-profit organizations and individuals with a cause. As a volunteer, I was involved in the organisation’s website rebuild project and I was mentoring a few volunteers with the project they were involved in.

I am also an instructor at CodeFirst:Girls where female student at universities attend a free 8 weeks course to learn about coding. I’ve taught around 20 students each term with other instructors about frontend technologies since 2017. I love the demo day at the end of the course, where the students present their website they built.

As a leader of Women Who Code Bristol, I organise events and workshops for the Women Who Code network in Bristol. Recently we partnered with LGBTQIA+ in tech for an amazing software development talk and an evening of networking. We are currently planning our summer social and hopefully have more volunteers on board!

We spoke about the need for more tech volunteers in Bristol, what is the most rewarding things about being a volunteer?

For me, it is when they have a lightbulb moment. Knowledge has the ability to empower anyone to continue learning and we need everyone’s contribution in tech to ensure the tech we use will always be fair and accessible.

How can someone become a volunteer in tech?

The first step is to reach out to the tech community in your local area. There are many initiatives across the UK to teach people across all ages and backgrounds about technology, such as CodeFirstGirls aiming at students, CodeYourFuture aiming at refugees, CodeClub aiming at children. Or you can even do it online, such as JrDevMentoring

What advice would you give to young women who would like to become a developer?

Join a group in the tech communities, and look for a mentor. No one should do it alone, and the support from your group and mentor can go a very long way!

What has been the biggest challenge getting where you are today?

The biggest challenge… it’s a bit cheesy but it was believing in myself. I have a wonderful partner who is my constant source of encouragement and support, and honestly the tech communities in London such as Codebar, Women Who Code London and Ladies Who Code, where I first started out were so welcoming and supportive, they gave me the confidence to start public speaking, and become more involved in the tech community in Bristol so the members will always have the level of  support I had.

You can reach Jaycee via Twitter @herecomesjaycee if you want to have a chat about anything!

Thank you so much Jaycee #yourock #womenrock


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