CATHERINE FROMONT | Web Development Intern | Cambridge, Waikato
Q. How did you get into coding? What is your advice for girls and omg children who want to be coders?
For secondary school, I went to Waikato Diocesan School for Girls. We had no classes for IT or programming because it had never been recognized as a popular potential career pathway for girls. So I actually had never been interested or been exposed to programming until after high school. I moved to Wellington straight out for school to study a Bachelor of Law at Victoria University, but soon realized that it wasn't for me. I moved home, and soon after was offered a web editing position at Waikato Regional Council where I was introduced to coding. I grew a passion for it straight away, and decided in the short three months that I wanted to study.
I went on to complete a Diploma of Web Development and Design where I passed all my assignments with A's, A-'s and A+'s (which surprised me so much, I was always mediocre at most things during school), then an eighteen week intensive Web Development Boot Camp with Enspiral Dev Academy. Now, I am working at a start-up company in Cambridge called Nyriad as a Web Development Intern. My biggest struggle during this whole process is the fact that in the tech Industry being a woman is still reasonably rare – but it is becoming more and more common, which is amazing!
My advice to girls and women who are wanting to join the tech Industry is to not let the typical stereotype that "coding isn't for girls" stop you! I work in an company where the majority of employees are male, and yes it can be intimidating, but be confident and believe that you belong in this industry. They NEED us! Technology is the way the world is going, and it is where we need to be. Acquiring these skills is so important and valuable to any job you go into.
Q. Tell us about a rad piece of code that you’ve written? What are you most proud of?
Well, my biggest achievement so far is a Web Application called Mārama that a team of myself and five others created as part of a final project at Enspiral Dev Academy. When we presented it at our graduation to potential employers and family and friends we were given so many positive accolades that we decided we wanted to pursue it further.
"Be confident and believe
that you belong in this industry"
Mārama is a centralized information platform for study and funding opportunities available in Aotearoa targeted specifically towards Māori and Pasifika students. It aims to reduce obstacles students face when accessing grants, scholarships, and financial support information online. Our database pairs unique courses with all applicable grant information – finding help is easier. Mārama’s first focus is tech-based fields of study, as Māori and Pasifika perspectives are specifically underrepresented in the growing technology sector.
Our aim for Mārama is to inform and empower students to seek broader study and employment pathways, and to make available financial assistance more transparent. The outcome being more graduates moving into fields where their voices matter most, and where they can help build world-leading technology. We are currently still in the development phase but we are also in the process of applying for funding, creating a kick-starter for our app and hopefully grow from there.
Q. What big dreams do you have as a coder?