Meet Ute Bracklow!

Before joining the Learn IT, Girl! scholars, Ute decided it was time for a career change: from a managerial role to learning web development. In her own words:

Ute BracklowI am living in Berlin. I have a Masters degree in North American Studies, Modern History and Psychology. The last years I have worked as Training Manager for different fashion retailers. Building structures and capacity for people development in an international environment was an exciting and rewarding challenge. I traveled a lot, got to meet and work with a lot of interesting and dedicated people. I decided to take a break from it last year. After travelling for a bit I returned to Berlin in autumn.

Coding was something that presented itself as an interesting new challenge. There is a whole new world to discover. I was interested in the people who actually make all the sites, programs and apps that we use everyday. Also this is something completely outside of my skill set. I have used parts of my brain during the last weeks that I haven’t used since I left school. I love learning new things, I have time now and so I thought – if I don’t try it now, I might never. So here I am learning Python :)/>

She was also kind enough to share her first steps into programming with us:

In 2014 I quit my job as Training Manager in fashion retail. After 6 months off-time coding was to be my new project. I knew VERY little. But living in Berlin I was curious about the tech and start-up scene – a world I had no connection to. LearnITGirl was my opportunity to test if coding is something for me. How much I can learn and achieve if I devote my energy and time to it.

When writing the application I couldn’t even make a good choice of which language to learn. Honestly I just didn’t know what they do. I had never heard of Python. The programs’ schedule was the structure I needed to go about. Having a mentor was the big bonus. Asking someone for help isn’t something I do easily. Now I had a “safe” person to go to. Especially in the beginning, Marcin was so helpful to give me orientation. We met via Skype, discussed my ideas and he encouraged me that it would be a good project to work on. Ready, steady, go!

GitHub was the first challenge. I had seen the kitten, but had never heard about the platform. I opened an account, downloaded it and completed a tutorial. Still it remained a mystery. I had never even worked with a command prompt. Marcin explained and sent me links to read up on basic internet architecture. Then I started to research online learning resources. There is a lot of free stuff on the internet. Deciding what to use took some time. I worked through different tutorials at the same time – and found myself quite overwhelmed after a week. So I decided for one and did it beginning to end. I also printed an actual book (paper!) as it was good to have something to scribble notes onto. After the first 2 weeks my conclusion was: there is so much that I don’t know! But also I wrote the first bits of code: a loop for registering and login in users – and I felt great when it worked! My next challenge was Django, the framework I would use. Another tutorial, long nights at the library, days of frustration – and big satisfaction when my project was online.

My project is not finished and I still know so little. But there is something on the net that I did – this is great and I am proud! I have decided to devote another 4-6 months to concentrate on coding. I started to build a local network by attending tech meet-ups –workshops, learning groups and female tech networking events. The project gave me sense of entitlement to go there “Hey, I am coding as well.” I found people to be open and supportive. And it is fun and inspiring to hear other peoples’ stories and projects. I would like to find a job in the tech industry – probably not as a coder right away – but I want to stay close and keep on learning more.

You can check out Ute’s project on GitHub!

Thank you very much Ute for participating and welcome to the programmers’ club 😀

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