Make the jump

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Esther Vis, a junior Full-stack Developer and RightBrains Ambassador, holds a master’s degree in History but decided to delve into the future. 

Tell us your story

During school, I was quite good at math and other STEM subjects. I also had a very cool female math teacher who I could look up to. But she left after a year, and my interest unfortunately faded. When it came to choosing subjects, a male teacher advised me to rather study in a different direction. I never questioned him. So I ended up studying history, which I also loved. But I feel I would’ve done just a well at math if I had the right support. 

When did you decide to change career paths?

After I graduated, I did a variety of jobs, but none of them really made me happy or excited. I knew I had to change something, and I quit my job without having any plan! My mother suggested that I go to the national career fair. I was very skeptical, but I went anyway. I attended several workshops, but it was the RightBrains workshop that stuck with me. The founder of RightBrains, Geke Rosier spoke about why women are needed and fit so well in the digital field. 

I started playing around with a JavaScript course on the Khan academy and I fell in love! That was my first step to change my career path.  

Was this change difficult?

Yes, I have no technical background, so I needed to find a programme that could help me make the transition. I applied to a coding boot camp at Codaisseur. There was an interview, a logic test, and a JavaScript test. The boot camp was also full-time – so I had to live off my savings for 11 weeks. I had no back-up plan; I just knew I wanted to code. 

This was a crazy time. My daily commute was three hours and I coded for up to 10 hours a day. It was a whole new experience to learn how to think as a developer, solving problems, building something with code. I just knew this was the job for me!

I was lucky, after completing the boot camp, I was offered a job at Mansystems where I’m currently working as a junior full-stack developer. 

What were the challenges in your first few weeks at the new job?

I was quite overwhelmed. And I suffered from the imposter syndrome; which is defined as feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. Slowly but surely, I got into my own. The company is very supportive and I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. 

It will be intimidating for anyone coming from one field to something completely different, you do feel as though you will never keep up. But you should not compare yourself to others. I have my own path to follow. It is not a competition. You can learn so much from your colleagues, you have to embrace it. 

And keep on learning. Right now, I’m following a boot camp for five weeks to learn to develop with Mendix, a low-code platform. After this boot camp, I’m going to combine my JavaScript and Mendix skills to work as a junior full-stack developer.

What is your goal with your career?

That is such a difficult question because there are so many possibilities that we don’t even know about in this field. I do however have a goal to show girls and women that we do belong in IT, and we can make a change. With the coding itself, I want to contribute to a sustainable, safe and equal world. I want to work on projects that empower people. 

You were chosen as a RightBrains ambassador, what does it mean to you? And why do you think others should support RightBrains?

I believe in the power of storytelling and the importance of role models and mentors. That one afternoon at the national career fair listening to Geke talk about RightBrains opened my mind to so many possibilities. Therefore, I want to share my story so that I can show other girls and women that going into IT is an option for them, to show them that we belong, and that they are not alone. 

What advice do you have for other women, who want to make the jump to tech?

If you want to make the jump to tech, all I can say is jump! Everything will work out and we’ve got your back.

Meet her on the platform!