Katie P

Tell us about your experience?

After graduating with a BSc Hons in Mathematics, I joined Cap Gemini as a Junior Programmer. I worked there for 17 years progressing from an Oracle developer, designer, DBA, tester to a senior analyst. I managed teams of up to 10 people, with responsibilities for planning, managing and delivering software solutions across a broad range of industries. Due to family commitments I retrained as a teacher in 2007 and I have spent the last 12 years teaching maths and IT to 16-19 year olds at Trafford College. I am now ready to return to a career in tech and I have just completed the TechReturners training program to bring my coding skills into the twenty first century. I am learning JavaScript, React, HTML and CSS. I am keen to transfer my excellent communication and organisational skills along with my original IT skills into a new career in tech.

Tell us about your technical skills?

On the TechReturners programme I learnt JavaScript, React, HTML, CSS and version control using git/github. We used JEST to test our JavaScript functions, and all work was done on linux using Node.js.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the challenge of coding and it is great to be back finding solutions to coding problems. As part of the course I have created a To Do List web based application that will add new items to a list, update and delete items from the list. The app had to be responsive to work on phones, tablets and computers. I used HTML, React and Java Script to create the front end and AWS Lambda to communicate between MySQL database and the app.

During the project phase of the course I was in a team of 3 people and we developed a cocktail app. The main drive for the app was to search for cocktails by the drinks you have in your cupboard. This was written using HTML/CSS, React JS with a MySQL database and lambda functions used to interact with the APIs.

My role was as a full stack developer. I created the database and the lambda functions. I used Postman to test the APIs and then implemented the APIs in front end to search for the cocktails.

I also found a dataset of cocktails in CSV format on Kaggle and imported them into a spreadsheet. I had to manipulate the data to get it into the same format as my schema and then used MySQL Workbench to load the data into the database.

From my time at Cap Gemini I am familiar with an Oracle database and SQL.

Transferable Skills

I have a huge breadth of experience dealing with users/customers that has built up over the years from when I worked as a consultant at CapGemini. For Example:

  • Running users workshops to identify requirements
  • Negotiating skills
  • Planning and Organising
  • Prioritising and Estimating work

I am able to communicate difficult concepts to people from all different backgrounds and can modify my language and techniques appropriately to achieve this. I have good listening skills which enable me to understand the users needs better and target feedback to them based on their concerns. These skills have been enhanced by my time teaching.

Motivating staff and working well in teams comes naturally to me, I’m a glass half full type of person. If there is a problem I am always happy to get stuck in and help out even when it is not related to me. I am:

  • Self Starter
  • Resilient
  • Tenacious
  • Reliable

I pride myself on my planning and organisational skills, this along with my excellent time management enables me to effectively multi-task. In the past I have managed teams of up to 10 developers and became good at prioritising and estimating work for myself and others.

I am not afraid of a challenge and I am quick to learn new things. I love to work in a dynamic environment which keeps me on my toes.

Tell us why you are passionate about a career in tech?

As soon as I started coding again on the course it felt amazing ! I had forgotten the feeling of satisfaction and elation of solving a problem and getting your code to work. It brought back all the fond memories of my time at Cap Gemini and I knew then that my new challenge was to reignite my passion for my previous career. Once the course started I could not progress fast enough I just wanted to learn more and more and that is the beauty of tech, the learning opportunities are endless.

I am really enjoying coding again and although it can be frustrating at times the satisfaction always out ways the frustration every time. Since the course has finished I have been extending my coding experience by finding challenges to do which develop both my front end and backend experience.

One of the things that is new to this era of tech for me is meet-ups. They are a fantastic way to share best practice, learn new skills and meet like minded people. I have been trying to go to at least one a week, and I am always surprised at how much I take away from them, even when it feels like I did not understand anything!

I am interested in roles in the following areas :

Software Developer: I enjoyed doing the fullstack development role on the project we did as I liked the variety of both front end and back end, but I would be happy in any coding role. Due to my extensive IT career I can pick up new languages quickly and enjoy the challenge of learning new things.

Product Manager/Owner role : I have also been exploring how best to use my Cap Gemini experience. I have a huge breadth of knowledge and understanding of dealing with users/customers acquired over the years and I feel that the other skills developed at the same time - such as team leading, requirements gathering, analysis and design etc - are a good match to these product-oriented roles. I have been researching this world in a number of ways - reading books, going to meet-ups and talking to Product Managers/Owners - and I feel that with some initial support, I have many of the foundational skills already that would enable me to succeed in this area.