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From Apple fangirl to software developer

Kaltun's Story: Becoming a Software Engineering Apprentice

Kaltun
Ahmed
Software Engineering apprentice

Kaltun is a Level 4 Software Engineering apprentice at LandInsight, a property tech company that merges the physical and digital words so that people can discover and assess new property development opportunities with ease and confidence. Read on to hear about how Kaltun landed her software engineering apprenticeship, and why she loves her job.

How did you become a software engineering apprentice?

I was looking for apprenticeships in software engineering but wasn't finding any good options. I found WhiteHat and discovered that they were offering some great apprenticeships, so I applied. Anna reached out to me immediately and supported me throughout the process. From mock phone interviews, helping me prep for some whiteboard interviews and supporting me when things didn't go to plan. I applied to WhiteHat in January, by March was offered interviews and was offered my position here at LandInsight at the end of April last year.

What are you enjoying most about your software engineering apprenticeship?

Gaining real-world experience and helping to solve actual problems.

What are you enjoying most about LandInsight?

I have the ability to work on a large code stack. I'm not restricted to work in a certain area, which means I learn far more and I'm exposed to more knowledge. I work with an amazing team of engineers, who are always ready to help whenever I need.

What's the most challenging part of your role?

Being impatient with my lack of knowledge in certain areas, but I have to keep reminding myself that it takes time to learn all the things I want to know. You can’t rush the learning process.

How is this qualification helping you to be successful?

I'm not just learning how to code; I have the opportunity to experience what it's like working in a tech company and solving real-world problems. I experience the entire process, from design to deployment and everything in-between. I work closely with my fellow engineers and learn valuable lessons from them.

How did you become interested in software engineering in the first place?

As a proud Apple fangirl, I've always been interested in technology and how it can shape the world we live in. I look up to women like Katherine Johnson, Margaret Hamilton and Dorothy Johnson Vaughan whose work in the world of mathematics and computing have allowed humanity to reach the stars. I started programming as a hobby throughout my time at university and really enjoyed it. However, whilst at university, I realised I wasn’t being challenged in my course and I didn’t enjoy it anymore. At the end of my second year, I decided to drop out and pursue something I was passionate about.

What are the most important skills to succeed in a career in engineering?

Curiosity! The tech industry is always evolving and new technologies are introduced every day. Being a software engineer means always learning something new and making sure you're up to date with the rapidly changing industry.

Communication. Working as a software engineer means working with a variety of people whether that be the customers or your fellow team members. The ability to communicate complex problems/solutions to others is essential.

What advice would you give to someone else who’s interested in software?

Don't worry about not knowing enough. It's impossible to know everything, not knowing the answer is part of the job. What's important is the ability to find the answer and apply it to your current problem.

Do you have any tips for working out if software engineering is for you?

If you enjoy solving hard problems, working in a cross-functional team, learning something new every day, have an interest in the tech industry, and have an interest in impacting a large number of people at once, then engineering is for you.

How does working in software engineering help you feel empowered?

Advancements in technology have brought our societies closer and moved it forward more than we know; having the opportunity to learn the skills required to solve the problems of our generation is empowering. I feel empowered knowing I can enact change with the knowledge I'm gaining now.

Where do you see yourself going next?

“If it is inaccessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary” ~ Unknown

In the long term, I hope to use my skills to solve our most pressing problems in an innovative and exciting way. I hope to encourage young girls from the developing world to find interest in the world of technology and teach them the skills I'm currently learning. If we hope to continue to be innovative and push the boundaries of our societies, we have to have a mixture of ideas and people working together to solve our problems.

In the short term, I hope to become a great programmer and develop my skills further.

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