Change is always possible

Monday, November 9, 2020

Lynn Arts, a software engineer at our partner Axians, believes it is never too late to change your career track. Equipped with a master's degree in communication, she says there is a bridge between the arts and digital technology. 

"I studied English and communication, and I soon realised human psychology is a big part of it which I found fascinating. But the thing about communication is that you are never sure if it works the way you want it to work. Coding, on the other hand, you know it works the way it should when the code works correctly."

While living in Australia for a year, Lynn listened to a podcast of Manoush Zomorodi on women in technology. The podcast discussed why there are so few women in the digital technology field and critically asked what is keeping women from being in this field.

"I love podcasts, and especially those that make you reassess your life and your goals. This podcast made me think coding is something that I could do. So, I taught myself, and it wasn't easy at first! I started with Java, and I built games like noughts and crosses and hangman. After returning to the Netherlands, I did an intense three-month coding traineeship with an Oracle certification. Soon afterwards, I landed my ideal job at Axians."

"You have to make a conscious decision to learn something new and change your career track. Yes, coding is difficult, but it is also do-able. There are many websites you can visit to learn basic coding. My advice to others who want to learn to code is to have a clear idea of what you want to build and then puzzle together what you need and how to do it. It takes a lot of googling and trying over and over again. Even on your most frustrating day, when nothing works, you will learn the most. You will go down every alley to find a solution, and in that search, you will learn. I can call myself a software engineer now, and a few years ago, I did not know any coding at all!"

Lynn says her communication background helps her now to better communicate abstract technology concepts to clients who aren't in the field. 

"It is so rewarding to write software that works, and which improves a client's business. My career goal is to continually improve my coding and learn new skills along the way."

During her first interview at Axians, she heard about the RightBrains community and the value it has for women in digital technology.

"On the one hand, I wish that these types of initiatives were not needed any more, and on the other, I'm also thrilled to know that there is this kind of support available to women in the field. It is always great to have a support network who you can rely on! I hope that the RightBrains platform will grow even more to be able to help more and more women."

And what is the key piece of advice she carries with her?

"It is never too late to change what you are doing; you are not set in a certain profession. Even if you don't feel that you can make the change or learn the skill, you can do it! You have to keep going. But, another important piece of advice is to know when something is not working, and to stop and to try something else."