Pang Suwanaposee | Software Engineer | Christchurch
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?
I spent a lot of time on the computer as a kid and was very fascinated with technology. Naturally, I became curious and wanted to know more about how a computer works. I strived to learn more about computers in school by taking digital technology classes. However, I found that the content was limited. I wanted to dig deeper than what was offered in high school, so I taught myself how to code in my spare time.
The internet was my classroom and I made a start on “CS50x - Introduction to Computer Science” which is an online course offered by Harvard University. By that point, I had a good idea I wanted to work in the technology sector so I sought advice from the career advisor. I was then placed to observe a computer repair shop once a week, where I learnt that working with computer hardware and pulling computers apart was not my thing! But that’s okay, because based this experience, I went back to the internet and narrowed down my university options to Software Engineering.
One piece of advice I have for girls and non-binary children would be to focus on yourself and have the courage to make what you want happen. You do you! Don’t worry too much about what other people think and if you want to try coding then go for it. The resources you need to get started are easily accessible on the internet and don’t be scared to ask questions. If you are open about your interest in coding, you may find people that can help you or even inspire others to get into coding.
“I want to keep writing code that will impact the world in a positive way.“
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?
For my final year project at university I was sponsored by Seequent to work with augmented reality. I developed a Hololens application that can display and share a hologram of a geologic model. Essentially, it’s a 3D model of colourful rock layers that represent what’s under the Earth. Multiple users with the Hololens headset can see the same geologic model in the same room and interact with it.
Every interaction on the geologic model will be seen by other users in real-time. For example, if one person picks up the geologic model and places it on a table, then another person will be able to see it being placed on the same table. Other actions on the shared model includes resizing it, turning it around and changing the visibility of the rock layers. It’s not every day that you can share your interaction with a model through holograms, but it may be something geological experts would like to use in the future. Overall, I found it very exciting to be working on an emerging piece of technology. I had so much fun on this project – I never thought that one day I’d be able to work with such cool material like this.
Q. What big dreams do you have as a coder? What are you aspiring to do next?
I am already living my dream and I am very happy with where I am in life right now. As a coder, I want to be able to develop my skills and to never stop learning. I want to keep writing code that will impact the world in a positive way. At the moment I am working full time as a software engineer so I am constantly improving skills in the industry. However, in the future I want to have a more important role in the technology sector and contribute to something great for the world.
“I want to set a good example for under-represented groups and help those who want to learn how to code.”
I also want to set a good example for under-represented groups and help those who want to learn how to code. I have been tutoring other women in the technology sector in my spare time and teaching kids how to code through Code Club. I hope they can look up to me and see me as a good role model. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to work with technology and learn how to code just like how we learn mathematics at school. Pang mostly codes in C# and Python