What's a returner? Ruth N

Mar 23rd, 2020

So much of my role is about people, about being able to communicate well, being able to plan work, be organised and make decisions, being willing to learn. These are all skills that a returner brings with them!

In our 'What's a Returner' series we're addressing common misconceptions around returner talent and sharing the stories of real life returners who have been through our programme and now work in industry.

We know from conversations with businesses that there is a lack of understanding about just 'who a returner is' and the value they bring to a business. Here we talk to Ruth, a graduate of our exclusive ' Your Journey Into Tech' cohort with the BBC about what she's doing now.

Tell us a bit about your previous experience and why you decided to make a career change into tech.

I moved into tech from a career working as a Clinical Scientist. There were lots of reasons for wanting to change. I'd found it really difficult to return to work after having children. There wasn't much in the way of flexible working, and few opportunities for me to progress in my role. I still found the work interesting but it wasn't stretching me and I was often feeling stressed and unhappy. I'd fallen into that career by accident, and often wondered if there was something else out there that I could be doing! I'd learned to code when I was at school and I was interested in picking it up again, so I started attending a few workshops and meetups, and that's how I found out about Tech Returners.

Having been through the Your Journey Into Tech programme, what would you say to businesses about returners?

I would say that so much of my role is about people, about being able to communicate well, being able to plan work, be organised and make decisions, being willing to learn. These are all skills that a returner brings with them! The Your Journey Into Tech programme is challenging, anyone getting to the end of it has already demonstrated their commitment to learning and a passion for tech. They might still have plenty to learn, but it's about recognising the potential that is there.

What’s your role now?

I'm a Junior Software Developer at the BBC.

How did you find the transition from the course curriculum into production ready software

It was a steep learning curve! There was a huge amount to take in at first but Tech Returners gave me a great foundation to build on. I think it's fair to say that it was a couple of months before I was able to contribute much, but I moved into a junior role after six months, so I'm fairly happy with my progress! I was lucky to be working on a greenfield project, so I got a lot of experience writing code early on.

What technologies/languages/tech stack are you working with?

I mostly work with JavaScript, PixiJS and Jest.

What development processes or practices do you utilise as a team and how are you finding them?

We use Agile methodologies. Things like stand ups and retros were all new to me when I started this job but I've found these processes have been really useful in helping me to find my feet in my team and get involved in things from day one. We practice TDD, and program in pairs often. I'm often able to work on tasks on my own now, but there's always someone on hand if I need help or to talk through a possible solution. We collaborate a lot with other disciplines, particularly UX, and I think this is one of the things I love the most, it's highly collaborative and I find that really rewarding.

Want to learm more about hiring returner talent just like Ruth? Get in touch hello@techreturners.com to discuss returners looking for roles right now or supporting future returner journeys