Inspiring Figures is a monthly blog column where I share with you people who are catalysts in inspiring and motivating me. They are people you should really know about. Last month featured Maria Kritikos, founder of the Ladies Who Lunch network. I’ve also been reading Maria’s book, “A Girl With A Plan” recently and am very proud to have interviewed her for Inspiring Figures, she truly is one! You can read her feature here.
Just like always, this month’s feature first took place live on Instagram – thank you to everyone that joined in! Unfortunately, we ran into some technical difficulties this round but everyone was very patient. I appreciate it!!
This month features, Tara
Do you ever find yourself on your feed eager to change it up a bit especially broadening your network and content that you see? I know that I’m like this at least 4-5 times a year! During one of my search to freshen up my IG feed particularly from a technology or developer background, I discovered Tara. She intrigued me with her posts about learning new things – constantly! After giving her a follow, I’ve been motivated to get my butt back in gear when it comes to learning new tech. A perfect person to get on Inspiring Figures, don’t you agree?
Full-stack Development – what is that?
From Engineering, Arts to Tech
During to her college days, she was accepted into an engineering school of her choice where she pursued Civil Engineering for 3 years. However, she soon realized that engineering was not for her. Tara then went to do a second degree in Creative Writing and English. During this time, a lot of people around her had questioned her move from Engineering to Art. Whilst doing her degree in Creative Writing and English, she interned at a company where she did some SEO work. After a while, she found herself eager to earn some money after not earning for a while. She scored a job at a large media company in a tech support role where she helped customers with any software queries. Whilst working here, she found herself loving it! Tara made developer friends during her time there and dipped her feet into the world of coding (particularly, front-end) and some QA.
1 year and 9 months later, Tara described her eagerness to start a new challenge. With enough money saved up and the means to be unemployed for a while, Tara spent the next 6 months learning how to code. 6 months after consistent hard work and learning, she secured her first role as a Full Stack Developer with where she is right now!
Tara experienced working both at bigger corporations and smaller start-ups and found the differences very interesting. She notes that she loves the start-up scene because she has been able to see it grow over time. However, she is mindful that there are a lot of unknowns compared to more established companies that have more of a defined overall picture. A key skill that is essential in working at a start-up is flexibility between projects.
Consistency in Learning
As a frequent learner (she is currently learning Swift!!), her main advice in learning how to code is consistency. When learning programming, it is vital that you make it a frequent habit to sit down and learn so that you retain and build up on your knowledge. It is easy to skip days or weeks, over that time, you will forget things! Tara shared that she went on holiday for 2 months and when she returned, she forgot the little tricks that she knew off by heart before. Now she’s remembered them because she has made the effort to re-learn and train her brain in that way, but this illustrates again the importance of consistent learning!
“Instagram has been my favourite project.”
I also loving asking developers what their favorite project is to date. I always get a response of, “this tech project using this stack.” so Tara’s response was extremely refreshing in the tech field and was a reminder that just because you’re in tech, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have any other hobbies or favorite projects outside of dev!
Tara described her love of building up her Instagram page. She has loved Instagram’s dev community because it had really broken the stereotype of developers working alone in their room talking to no one. “I’m really proud of myself for going out of my comfort zone and creating this space for myself!” Instead, it’s a community full of inspiration, motivation to work harder and to feel less isolated. Tara has also said it’s been great seeing a variety of developers – not just men – who are fantastic developers being awesome online!
Which naturally brings us to the next topic…
Diversity efforts in Technology
Instagram has been a great platform for Tara to get behind in improving gender diversity balance in technology. She has enjoyed being a part of the community on IG as well as elsewhere including Tech Ladies, where she’s actively engaged in the conversation because awareness is where change begins. Small changes such as celebrating other women’s achievements and bringing the spotlight to them is also key – especially if you’re in a higher up position. Tara shared Natalie Frank’s quote from a podcast on making sure that we shift from “scarcity to abundance” for resources and success in technology and beyond! “Everyone can be successful!”
Tara also has some exciting plans in creating YouTube videos for Women in Tech, an upcoming business focused on Women and will be doing taking overs on other Women in Tech channels.
“Am I supposed to be here?”
When faced with imposter syndrome, Tara spoke from her own experience on battling it.
“Just like with most things, you learn with experience. Imposter Syndrome that used to derail me for days when I started coding, but now it only does for a few minutes and although it is still a significant amount of time, it does get better!”
She also advocates reminders that help you remember how much you rock. At her tech support job, she created a folder where she’d collect all the nice emails customers have ever received. It definitely helps combat Imposter Syndrome!
Inspiring Figures IG Live Video
Tara answers questions ranging from technology, communities and tech careers. Questions during the live start at: 33:00.
Catch up on Soundcloud
Inspiring Figures is now avaliable on Spotify!
Thank you to my brother, Clark Narvas for editing these every month!
I had a fantastic time interviewing Tara for this month’s “Inspiring Figures”, I hope she has inspired you as much as continues to inspire me! You can find her on Instagram talking about everything development and tech related.