Last week we caught up with Andea Wagnera, a Front-end engineer at the British Council. Andrea has worked in tech for over 16 years and has an interesting story. We’re happy to share her journey with you.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Andrea Wagner. I’m originally from Rio de Janeiro but now live and work in London for almost 12 years. I have studied technology all my life. I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Information Systems in Brazil and then an MSc. in Digital Humanities at University College London. I’m currently receiving sponsorship to study for a second Masters as a Digital Technology Specialist, focusing on Software Engineering.
Why did you decide to get into tech?
My mother was very supportive and always believed that I could do anything. I wouldn’t be in tech without her support. I am very thankful to her. My first introduction was through playing computer games on a friend’s computer. I was became fascinated by technology and how it could change our lives. I knew that using computers would mean different ways of doing everyday things that would change the way we live, which keeps doing and keeps intriguing me.
What was your first tech job?
My first tech job title was ‘technologist’ for a charitable organisation. I worked in every tech area, from data input to programming and computer networking and tech support. It was the beginning of my journey. I learned a lot doing things, and it was a great way of getting experience.
How did you get out?
I had to study and work simultaneously to get my degree in technology. I got my qualifications whilst working at the same time. It gave me another perspective and a broader understanding of my role in technology. It is difficult to get employed if you are not qualified in Brazil; I have the added issue of being a black woman in a male-dominated industry where minorities are underrepresented. I have needed to carry on being determined and not be disparaged by not being given due regard and professional respect on occasion.
What does a job rejection mean to you?
It’s a discovery of your strengths and weaknesses. I can use this opportunity to work out a better way to improve my weakness. Rejection can be the fuel to enhance the missing skills and growth professionally; I admit it is hard not to take it personally, but I say to myself that if that company didn’t want me, I wouldn’t have wanted to be there anyway.
Why did you choose your current company?
I was attracted by the organisation working in education, arts and cultural relationships, things that I support and fit with my personal beliefs. In addition, it is an opportunity to work with different nationalities and backgrounds. I have some fantastic opportunities like a two-week working trip to an office in Maputo, Mozambique!
What does the future of software engineering look like through your eyes?
I sense a greater demand for Software engineering to become involved in strategy and suggest innovative software solutions. The future market will need individuals with skills in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, machine learning, automation, security, cloud computing and product management. Companies are currently encountering competitors undergoing rapid digital transformations, so we have to have effective processes with a customer focus and ‘technological agility’.
If you could advise your younger self about the world of tech, what would you advise?
Find a digital skill you are most interested in developing—there are many online courses, Udemy, Coursera, freeCodeCamp, Pluralsight, etc. Try and see if you have fun in some of those digital areas, then create something or help your community with what you learned. This is a quote by Martin’s from his book Clean Code: “There are two parts to learning craftsmanship: knowledge and work.” So you have to transform the theoretical knowledge into practical work. This is the daily life of software engineering. Keep learning and applying it. Challenging oneself is the most helpful definition of ambition in any field, not just programming.
Do you work remotely?
Yes, I have currently work remotely since the pandemic started.
What are your thoughts on remote work?
It is more productive for me because tasks can be done quicker than in the office. It demands a lot of discipline and a clear separation of personal and professional life. On the downside, the social interactions with your colleagues are lost when you work at home.
What do you like most about your current job?
It’s a new project that we are developing at the moment, creating a component library in React.js and building a multilingual content management system in the AWS cloud-based. I am finding it challenging and exciting.
It was a pleasure to catch up with Andrea. If you have an interesting story to share. Please get in touh: [email protected]