I’m an active member of Instagram though my coding-themed account claire_codes. There’s a lot more developers posting on Instagram than you think - it’s a very positive, supportive community and I have a lot of fun interacting with people and finding new ways to communicate with them.

Daniela (who runs the account coding.misslild)) runs a feature in her Instagram stories every Wednesday she calls “Women’s Wednesday”. She asks a female developer a series of questions and posts their answers. She interviewed me over email a few weeks ago and featured me in her Instagram Stories. I’m immortalising my responses here on my blog, although they’re also available in Daniela’s story highlights too.

1. Please introduce yourself

I’m Claire (claire_codes) and I’m a frontend developer from Manchester 🇬🇧. I write CSS and JavaScript (currently lots of React). I’ve been getting paid to program for nearly five years now, having worked with other languages like Ruby and Java, and also Magento.

2. How did you get into tech?

I studied physics at university and got a graduate job in financial analysis which I wasn’t enjoying. I worked alongside programmers and thought it looked really interesting: a job where you get build and create applications rather than analyse data. I decided my best route into development was a full time master’s degree in computer science that taught Java. (Nowadays I would definitely choose a bootcamp though.) The year I spent studying enabled me to land a job a full time developer.

3. Did you get support along the way?

My then-boyfriend and now-husband supported me throughout my journey into development, and has been there through all the soul-searching and moaning that accompanied it ♥️

4. What do you think/feel about being in this field?

I think there’s so many great things about working as a developer. The job has the potential to be flexible in terms of hours and location, it requires you to be always learning new things and problem solving and there’s so many emerging technologies and new problems to solve: opportunities to do something interesting are everywhere.

5. What can disappoint you in a working environment?

Physically: I can’t concentrate in an office with the radio on - chatter and background noise yes, but music no! In terms of team, I want to be somewhere where I’m not afraid or ashamed to ask questions when I don’t know something. A culture of communication is important to me too: I believe that a happy, empowered team is one that shares decision making.

6. Choose one stereotype you want to see broken asap?

That you have to know it all as a senior developer or when you’ve had X years of experience. There’s so many things to learn as a programmer and it shouldn’t be a bad thing to admit you don’t know everything yet.

7. Anything you would like to see improving?

I would like companies to embrace remote working and flexible hours more. There are loads of effective ways to communicate with your team other than sitting together in a souless open-plan office for 8 hours a day.

8. When life is hard, what’s the best advice that helps you?

“This too will pass.” Nothing lasts forever, even the bad times.

9. What or who inspires you?

I try to cultivate an inspiring group of people on my social media. On Twitter and Instagram you can choose exactly who to follow, so I make sure I have loads of positive, intelligent, awesome women in tech to inspire me everytime I scroll.

10. If you could go back in time what would you change?

I wished I had dug into the MySpace themes a bit more (showing my age now 😥) and discovered web development much earlier!

11. Which skill would you like to master one day?

Being confident and chatty in groups of strangers: I can talk one-on-one for hours but introduce a few more people and I clam up.

12. What would be the next step/goal for you?

I can definitely see myself still working as a developer for the next few years. I want to continue to be challenged and learn new things and hopefully help others thrive in my industry. I would also love a job where I didn’t have to stick to a 9-5 in an office (if you hadn’t guessed!).

13. Words of encouragement?

One day it will all click: the syntax, the concepts, the best way to structure your code. And then you’ll become a coding wizard ✨