Blog / 04 Feb, 2019

Women in Tech Series: Alexandra Nel, Software Engineer

Following on from last week’s introduction to Sinéad McKeown, this week I’m introducing you to one of Arkivum’s superstars, Alexandra Nel.
#MondayMotivation #WomenInTech
Alexandra Nel, Software Engineer

Alexandra Nel, Software Engineer

Q1. Hi Alex, can you tell us a bit about what you do at Arkivum? What does a typical day look like for you?

I am a software engineer, a typical day for me consists of daily stand-ups, developing new product features, fixing bugs, code reviews and a lot of tea breaks.

 

Q2. What attracted you to the role here?

As my first full-time job out of university, I was looking for a small company where I could learn a lot and feel like what I was working on would have an impact; Arkivum fit that bill.

 

Q3. Did you always know that working in technology was what you wanted to do? How did you decide to go into it?

I started coding when I was 14 and since that point software development became an interest for me. I went to a couple “GirlEng” workshops which were run by South African Women in Engineering, who are a foundation trying to get more women into STEM fields and they really motivated me to go for engineering despite the pact that I’d be one of only a few women.

 

Q4. What’s the best part of being a Woman in Tech? And the worst?

The worst is people thinking you’re not good enough. The best is proving them wrong 😉

 

Q5. Any advice for women looking to work in the tech industry? Anything you wished you had known before you started?

The industry needs more women! There is research saying that businesses perform better when they have more diverse staff. As much as it may feel like a ‘boys club’, all over the world they are crying out for more women in STEM fields. So don’t let gender affect which field you do or do not go into.

 

Q6. How do you keep physically and mentally fit?

I am a pretty active person, I am part of a local ultimate frisbee team, so I have training with them a couple times a week and we compete in tournaments every couple months. I also go bouldering at a local climbing gym a couple times a week.

In terms of the mental side, I listen to a lot of interesting podcasts, audiobooks and music; and I play a lot of binary Sudoku on the bus 😂

 

Q7. Who are your influencers?

I listen to a lot of podcasts, these are some of my favourite:

  • Reply All: which is ‘a podcast about the internet’, it looks at the internet and tech and human’s interactions to it; everything from a Hasidic Jew leaving the community, to people’s ‘Find my iPhone’ always leading to one house, to a grandmother accidentally starting a political revolution with a Facebook event.
  • No Such Thing As A Fish: the QI elves discuss their favourite facts of the week, very funny and interesting.
  • Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People: an anonymous individual phones in each week and tells some of their life story or a story about something that has happened to them. It is something different each week and can be sad, funny, strange, exciting or a combination.
  • The Moth: similar to Beautiful Anonymous except the story-tellers aren’t anonymous and are standing up talking in front of a live crowd.
  • The Guilty Feminist: funny discussions on what it’s like to be a feminist in the 21st century and how we often feel we fall short.
  • Happy Place: discussions with interesting people about what makes them happy, sometimes deals with love, loss and mental health.
  • Armchair Expert: discussions with celebrities or professionals who get very personal about struggles they’ve faced and how they overcame them.

 

Thanks, Alex.

Next Monday, we’ll be hearing from Purnima Venkata Subbu, Quality Analyst at Arkivum.

 

Emma Davenport

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