Izzy Joe | Graduate Software Developer at TrustPower | Tauranga 

Q. Girls and non-binary children often find it hard to see a pathway for themselves into a coding career. How did you get into coding? What is one piece of advice you have for them?

The route I took to pursue a Software Engineering career was far from ordinary. In high school, I was adamant on pursuing a career in outdoor education. To this day I still take every chance I get to breathe in the fresh air halfway up the side of a rock climbing crag. I had so many misconceptions regarding computer science, which were all about sitting in a dark room working on problems alone. 


For me, it was vital to be in a job that embraced collaboration, stimulation, and had a slight bit of risk to keep things interesting. It was in year 10 when I spoke to my teacher about the future. She was a Digital Technologies teacher who had a degree in Physical Education. Intriguing? I thought so too. She spoke about all of these qualities being embedded in the digital industry, and so I took the plunge and joined her class.

This was the beginning of all that I have achieved today. Programming was far from anything I had ever dreamt of enjoying, although, over the last seven years it has challenged me in ways I will be forever grateful. Computer science is as much a mix of art as is it engineering, and there are endless opportunities that has to offer. The advice I would give to girls and non-binary children is to be open to change and be inquisitive of things that might look a little daunting at first. This industry is so diverse and has something for everyone if you look a little deeper. It doesn't matter if you come from a completely different background from your peers whether it be your interests, culture, gender, or experience. Without a doubt, you will find others like you.


“Computer science is as much a mix of art as it is engineering, and there are endless opportunities that has to offer”  


Q. Tell us about a rad piece of code that you’ve written? What piece of code are you most proud of in your career so far?

Since I've been in this industry, I have worked on some pretty awesome projects. Some examples are applications designed to help medical practitioners to conduct generic administration tasks, to aid in business strategies, and others for pure gaming entertainment. All of these taught me something new after facing multiple challenges along the way. The coolest piece of code that I have ever written stands out from the rest by simply being the first. Two of my best friends in high school and I worked on developing an application we called MyNurse. They too have grown into strong and empowering women in the technology industry.

In essence, this application aimed to help hospitals nurses prioritise their patients based on their required needs. The patients could use the app to request help from a nurse and state the urgency; for instance a patient would ask, "I'd like a glass of water please, urgency rated 1" or "I am in severe pain, urgency rated 5".

As a result, we minimised the need for nurses to run back and forth from patient rooms where they could potentially forget what they were doing in the first place. Instead, they could put their efforts into areas that needed it most. Unfortunately, this was not a fully fledged application. With the lack of time and experience, we only developed the frontend of the app. Nonetheless, it was the first piece of code that opened my eyes to what an awe-inspiring profession I was getting myself into.


“One dream that has never shifted is that I inspire others to pursue a career in tech, particularly those that feel they might not fit in.“


Q. What big dreams do you have as a coder? What are you aspiring to do next?

The short answer is that I have absolutely no idea. The long answer is that I have way too many aspirations for the future that I genuinely don't know where I should put my efforts. My dreams as a coder have changed so many times over the years, and I can guarantee that won't stop happening. As a result of this, I try to focus on what is happening in my life right now. I have an amazing software developer job, I work with and for inspiring people, and I’m lucky enough to be soaking in such a ludicrous amount of knowledge every day that my head could explode.

One dream that has never shifted is that I inspire others to pursue a career in tech, particularly those that feel they might not fit in. To influence people whether it be younger students still deciding their pathways, elders that never lost their love for learning, or people like me just trying to figure out this thing called life. You don't have to get it right all the time, I definitely didn't, and that's more than okay. As Dr Seuss said, "Why fit in when you were born to stand out?... You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." Izzy codes in C#, Java, Javascript, Python.

Code Club Aotearoa