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Mentoring Women Learning to Code with Pauline Narvas

Sam Jarman ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผโ€๐Ÿ’ป
Software engineer (iOS/JS/Anything). Likes: blogging, running, improvising, public speaking, positivity, helping newbies and great banter!
Originally published at samjarman.co.nz on ใƒป3 min read

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Introduce yourself! Who are you? Where do you work?

Hi there! My name is Pauline. My formal job title is โ€œDigital Development and Operations Graduateโ€ at BT. Iโ€™m currently on a training programme (or graduate scheme as they like to call it in the UK), where Iโ€™ve joined the Digital Engineering team. During my two year programme, I have the opportunity to rotate around different teams ranging from Architecture, Development, Testing and all the way to Release! Itโ€™s a unique way to get an understanding of the vast number of careers in technology and hopefully specialise in something by the end of the scheme. Outside my 9-5, Iโ€™m also a freelance remote web developer and designer as well as a content creator!

Who or what got you into programming?

I got into development/programming when I was 8 years old. I wanted to change aspects of an online game I was playing, and since I worked out it was online, on a website, I decided to learn how to build a website. From then, I dove into front-end web development which I completely fell in love with. I developed several simple, fun websites over time and eventually started developing Wordpress themes in which at the same time I started blogging.

How has having a strong online presence (blog, youtube etc) had an impact on your career?

I absolutely love this question. Having a strong online presence has had a massive impact on my career, it has given me opportunities I never thought were possible including being a keynote and panel speaker at conferences and events, being part of campaigns that Iโ€™m passionate about, securing my jobs and most importantly, getting my voice out there which has had a direct impact on which companies have seen an alignment with my values to theirs. This all works if you have a positive online presence, of course!

How has volunteering mentoring women learning to code had an impact on your career?

So for those that arenโ€™t familiar with my background, I volunteered with a non-profit organisation, Code First: Girls for over the last 2 years in Sheffield and Leeds. This has greatly impacted my career in a positive way. One of the main things I looked out for when I was applying to jobs was their diversity and inclusion statements, this means a lot to me as a woman of colour who has experienced bias in the past. This has helped me find the right companies that align to my values and led me to where I am today! :) Volunteering with Code First: Girls also gave me the confidence to pursue a career in tech in the first place.

Have you got any hobbies outside of your job? Do you think they help your tech career in any way?

My hobby of blogging and documenting my learnings and experience has helped my tech career massively! This has been able to give people who have wanted to work with me, a better picture of what Iโ€™m interested in, how we can work well together and more. Examples I can think of include, several job interviews, speaking gigs and podcast features etc. Blogging has helped improve my way of communicating in a written format and get my thoughts in an organised format - something that is important for any career really! Another hobby that has indirectly helped is weight-lifting or superhero-training as I like to call it, itโ€™s made me more confident and resilient when I do face challenges.

What books/resources would you recommend for others wanting to follow a path similar to yours?

I actually wrote a blog post with a bunch of resources on anyone wanting to learn how to get started with coding - you can check it out here!

Finally, make your shoutout! What would you like the readers to go have a look at?

I write blogs at pawlean.com, tweet at @paulienuh, gram at @paw.lean and for more information about my wider portfolio, check me out at paulinenarvas.com.

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