Engineer Story: Jacqueline McKeigue

I’ve got a long-held theory that most websites are created by young male developers under the age of 30. I think the youth of such developers explains why font sizes are often unkind for the eyesight of an older demographic and can relate to a lot of unnecessarily complicated user experience particularly for generations born prior to the digital age. We need greater diversity in tech: we need older eyes designing user experiences which are more intuitive. Input is needed, from those who bring some life experience and a different skill set and from those who haven’t always worked in tech, to help make a lot of the documentation more intelligible. I absolutely want to be a part of the drive to create a more diverse environment in tech, that’s more representative of the end users in terms of race, age, and gender.

As someone from a musical rather than STEM background, the Academy was a tough change of environment. It was really, really hard work. I mean this. Seriously. It is not for the faint hearted! The pace and pressure were consistently high. The hours required to be a success are a lot more than nine to five. The sessions are delivered in pretty technical language so it’s quite easy to feel lost. We were extremely lucky to have been able to book one-to-one sessions with a hugely patient and helpful assistant instructor. Every challenge we were given seemed pretty impossible at first but after a period of, let’s call it research and development but really it felt more like blundering about in the dark, somehow things began to become clearer.

Yes, it’s hard and writing code is not easy but you do also get a great deal of help: ALL the staff at Digital Futures are hugely supportive and I have an enormous array of new and wonderful friends from the course.

I thought I was joining the Academy to learn more about writing code and was surprised to discover just how much more than that the course delivers. We have learned about project management methodologies, testing, and had weekly sessions in professional skills. All of this was utterly invaluable for my placement interview. I have been incredibly lucky to have started on placement in a really great company within a couple of months of the course finishing. All the hard work, stress, and long hours have really paid off for me.