4 min read
HelloFresh Are Actually Creating Opportunities For Women New To Tech
HelloFresh Women in Tech Scholarship, here we come!
There is no one way for women into tech, which means getting your foot in the door can sometimes feel like a mammoth task. HelloFresh’s Women in Technology & Internship Program is holding the door wide open, providing pathways into tech for women from non-traditional educational backgrounds and career changers. Sophia Sager, Frontend Engineer at HelloFresh, can tell you firsthand.
Changing your career to tech
Studying music and event management, Sager initially ended up in the event sector. Then the pandemic hit, the event sector dried up and she found herself out of a job. “I was looking into things I could do in the long run. A job that was sustainable, that had a future that was challenging, where I could work, learn new things and grow.”
Knowing she didn’t want to stay in events forever, coupled with the unforeseen circumstances of the pandemic, led her to sign up for a coding bootcamp recommended by a friend.
“It was not something that had crossed my mind as a career option for me. I did have touchpoints with the basics, like HTML, CSS, at my university, but there was never any focus on that.”
Thanks to a little nudge from her friend, her eyes were opened to the world of technology and coding from a Backend perspective. “I started looking online and watching tutorials preparing for the bootcamp. That’s when I realised oh, this actually is pretty cool.”
LeWagon’s Fullstack Bootcamp
Sager attended LeWagon’s 9-week intensive course learning Fullstack Web Development. As the bootcamp drew to an end, a career manager introduced her to the idea of the Scholarship Programme for Women in Tech with HelloFresh and the rest is history.
Putting herself forward, the process included two interviews with team leads, getting to know one another and assessing technical skills. “It was set out to be an internship. The base of this was to learn, so there were no high expectations of the knowledge that we brought with us,” Sager explains. “It was like, let’s see what you can do. What’s your personality like? What’s your motivation? What do you want to learn? What are your expectations towards us at HelloFresh? What can we provide to help you grow and learn, which is pretty cool.”
Coming from a bootcamp focussing on Backend languages, Sager was keen to now try her hand at Frontend Development. “We all got put into different teams and had different responsibilities in the company,” she explains. “I was put into the Frontend Infrastructure team. I was in a team with pretty much only Senior Engineers. I also did a lot of project management on the side throughout this internship as they wanted you to become a well-rounded developer.”
But don’t panic, you aren’t entirely thrown in at the deep end. Each intern gets an onboarding buddy, often also an intern at the company, to run them through the basics. They also have a mentor for once-a-week meetings, a Senior Developer who can offer insight into the technical aspects. Then within the team many adopt the role of unofficial mentors.
But even with all that, big career changes are never easy. “The biggest challenge was to change my perspective on what the job actually encompasses,” Sager explains. “It’s not just sitting in front of a computer coding all day and building cool stuff. There’s a lot of things that play into the role that you might not see from the outside.” Let’s not forget, getting to know the ropes of a new company and infrastructure is always a big challenge in any job. HelloFresh is no exception.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going into the tech industry. There’s a lot of Senior Developers who’ve had a lot more experience. The challenge is entering a completely new industry and learning how it works.”
So, you’ve completed bootcamp. You’ve made it to the end of your scholarship. What’s next?
Full-time employment at HelloFresh is never guaranteed, even when coming up from the program. Sager impressed in her time as an intern and was offered a junior position. This was followed by a small probation period before being taken on as a permanent Frontend Engineer.
For Sager, life as a Frontend Engineer looks completely different to life as an intern but she has always felt the system of support. You get a push to drive you further and help you learn. It’s part of the culture there that you always get opportunities to challenge yourself and to learn and grow.” Currently, in a small team with another Frontend Engineer, two Backend Engineers and a Manager, Sager is working on refurbishing and optimising discount communication throughout HelloFresh.
“Obviously, the work we do is super logical and complex. But it’s different from other types of programming. It’s not like artificial intelligence or machine learning in my department. So you don’t have to be highly mathematical to be able to learn how to code” says Sager – good news for the mathematically-challenged amongst us. “I think logical thinking and problem solving is an important skill to have. But it’s also something that can be learned through experience and practical use.”
So the big question – is the scholarship worth it?
For Sager, 100%. “If you’re interested in doing Frontend Development then I think an internship is the best way to start. Having the support of being in a program that is laid out for exactly that, and then it being laid out for women especially. It doesn’t get better than that.” We have to agree.
Check out HelloCommunity for more information about HelloFresh’s women’s program.
Photography by: giovannidominice