MSwDevStudent Stories

Cultivate curiosity and see where it takes you

By January 10, 2020 No Comments

Kaitlin Maddever had previously studied linguistics but was struggling to get a job in that field when she found our Master of Software Development. She’d enjoyed technical subjects (maths and sciences) as a high school student before pursuing a humanities degree at university and missed that way of thinking about things.

Kaitlin was excited to learn that our Master’s started midyear, which was perfect timing for her, and that she didn’t need any prior coding experience. The Master’s was targeted at people who had studied non-technical undergraduate degrees like herself and would train her up to springboard straight into the industry.

There were other options (like self-directed online courses, bootcamp courses, and undergraduate study) but Kaitlin said that she “preferred to take an in-person course since it was an unfamiliar subject and I find it’s easier for me as a beginner when I’m not on my own trying to figure things out. I chose it over other bootcamps because it was offered through Victoria University of Wellington, which I trusted, and would also give me a Master’s degree in one year as opposed to an undergraduate degree in three.”

One of Kaitlin’s favourite parts about studying our Master of Software Development was “the week of one language a day, which occasionally was more like two! This was my first exposure to bash and the Linux command line which I now spend most of my time at work with, as well as introducing me to different interesting concepts like functional programming. It sparked my curiosity for learning.”

The paid internship at the end of the Master was also a big pull for Kaitlin who said she was “already lacking in work history, the last thing I needed was to pile on more formal education with no real experience” so she loved the practical nature of the programme.

Kaitlin ended up doing her internship at Avenir Technology who we’d profiled a few months ago. Her internship project was creating an interface for clients to use, she said that “because most of Avenir’s clients are international we use YAML files for translating the software which have notoriously fragile syntax. Originally clients would edit these files directly to add their translations which was fairly error-prone so building a nice interface for them to use instead was important. We finished that up and moved onto a mobile app for investors to use – I developed the API using Perl and my fellow intern developed the iOS and Android apps.”

Avenir hired Kaitlin full-time as a Developer after her internship, she continued working on the API she was building during her internship before “working on a client project which touches more of the product, from the GUI to the back-end processing. I’ve also been to Buenos Aires for a client onsite visit, where I was able to meet and talk to the users of the software directly.”

“I think someone should go into the software development industry if they want to build things. That’s the main aspect I’ve found – you’re building and creating things that people can use. Making useful things is a great feeling. Someone who’s curious about how to keep improving, who likes to make things and work with others”

Software development is a very collaborative field, Kaitlin said “you’re working with tools that other people have made, and very likely someone else will also work on the thing you’re making with their own complementary skillset. She loves this collaboration because there’s always “new developments, new things to learn, new tools to make your life easier (or harder!).”

We asked Kaitlin what advice she’d give to someone wanting to follow in her footsteps and she said “It’s hard to describe, since I got here through a winding path of trying things, pursuing what I cared most about at the time, learning from it, and using that to determine what direction to go next. My advice would be to really cultivate curiosity instead of just putting it aside. If you’re interested in something, go and try it out, see where it takes you.”

Our Master of Software Development (which starts in July 2020) will teach you core programming skills and concepts from our respected lecturers before giving you the opportunity to apply them (typically in paid internships) where you work on real-world projects with local businesses – you can enrol for the programme now!

Leave a Reply