*Last year, we sponsored a group of high performing women to take a Code First Girls Nanodegree to kickstart their tech career. So meet Ann Teh, a former lawyer and now software engineer, who tells us about her journey from the legal world to the Zopa tech team, via Code First Girls. *
Firstly, welcome to Zopa! Can you tell us what you do here?
I am currently working as a junior software engineer in the savings team at Zopa.
And what did you do before?
I was called to the Bar of England and Wales at the honourable society of the middle temple in 2017. Following this, I worked as a pupil barrister and paralegal in legal firms.
What inspired you to get into tech?
Whilst working full-time as a Pupil Barrister in Civil Litigation, I started my own eCommerce business, reselling limited edition sneakers, streetwear, etc. While running the business, I became fascinated with how money flows across borders and how an eCommerce business can manage those flows with better protection. This is where I started to find out that many different fintech apps offer better services than a traditional bank. Since then, my passion for fintech has been booming. I’ve participated in two fintech hackathons to build up my experience and I love brainstorming fintech ideas with people sharing the same passion. And to bring these ideas to life, a software engineer’s technical skill sets were needed. So I chose to transform my career into software engineering.
Why did you choose the Code First Girls Nanodegree?
I found many online resources and platforms where I could start learning coding online at my own pace, but knew that the progress would be less productive (if I was to learn myself, I’d inevitably get lazy sometimes! 😂).
Code First Girls’ Nanodegree came to the rescue. I came across the Nanodegree on LinkedIn and it was exactly what I was looking for to dive into the tech space and the Fintech industry. Despite the course being completely online, the instructors and students, who were from different backgrounds, were extremely friendly and helpful. We shared additional resources and got to ask any questions in our slack channel. It was such a positive environment.
After 16 weeks of evening classes, intense coding, assessments, assignments and an amazing group project (in which our group has built a food waste management system), I am pleased to say that I have finally completed the Code First Girls' Software Engineer Nanodegree course and now working at Zopa!
Tell us more about your group project
Our project, ‘Green Pantry’ is a food waste management application that allows users to manage and track the life cycle of their food product inventory effectively and efficiently. On top of this, users are able to access millions of recipes in our application. One of the unique features we included was the barcode reader!
What’s your first impressions of Zopa?
The people that I have met/e-met from the top management to juniors from every department are extremely friendly. My onboarding process went well, and my time working with other team members is engaging. There is a welcoming and collaborative culture in the company, and I appreciate the hybrid working approach, with the options of working from home or work from anywhere in the world for 90 days (of course, subject to the right to work)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I am ambitious, audacious and creative.
**What would you say to other women considering switching to tech as a career? **
Go for it! We all tend to stay in our comfort zone, being put off by different reasons like family commitments, limited time or future uncertainty. But if we don't dare to try, we will never know how far we can go. The experience of a career switch will last forever. Even if eventually it doesn’t work out, the experience and knowledge you’ll have gained in the process would certainly open up doors for your future career.