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The Tillo engineering team has grown exponentially this year, and Noor ul ain Ali is the latest software engineer to join its ranks.
When we finally managed to prize her away from her computer, we took the opportunity to ask Noor some questions about getting into engineering and what her day-to-day life at Tillo looks like.
I started programming at the age of 10 with GW-Basic. After a few years, I came across the Waterfall Software Development Lifecycle, which opened up a whole new world of software engineering. At that moment, I realised that there was a lot more to it than just coding, and since then, I knew I wanted to be a software engineer.
I’ve always liked the idea of digitising everything. From an early age, I decided to do BS-Software Engineering, I started my first job as a VB.net developer, and after a year, I moved to Dubai, then later to the UK, where I took a career break.
Soon, I began looking for jobs in engineering again, but on moving to the UK, I couldn’t seem to get a single interview or even a callback, and I ended up being a support worker at the NHS.
But I never gave up on engineering and decided to study alongside my role in the NHS to get back into software engineering. It wasn’t easy, especially as I now have a family to look after and was working a part-time job, but I got there eventually.
Like many of the new hires at Tillo, Sara, Tillo’s Talent Manager, was my first contact. She gave me all the information I needed to know about the company and its growth plans, and I knew almost instantly that I could see myself working for them – which was fantastic.
Honestly, everyone is very nice and helpful, and the company culture is great - nobody wants to work in a stressed environment, and the team do everything they can to make sure no one has to.
I’ve always wanted to work at a place where I have a nice work-life balance, my team is very supportive, encouraging and inclusive, and that’s so much more than I expected.
My day starts with standup; during this time, my team gets together, and we walk through what everyone is up to and if anyone is blocked or needs assistance. I then get on with some planning, coding, writing tests or reviewing pull requests for the rest of the day - sometimes, I pair programs with one of the other developers.
I spend lunchtime away from the screen and mostly spend this time with colleagues, which is a great way to get to know each other more. I also attend the weekly book club and the backend code culture, which is again a great way of sharing ideas and expressing myself.
Currently, I spend most of my time building new features because I work in the main effort team. Right now, I’m writing some webhooks for a new partner, but every day is different.
If you can do basic maths, like 1+1, then you can do programming. In all seriousness, it may look intimidating, but curiosity is the key!
Luckily this industry has very good practices for supporting each other, like pair programming, shadowing, mentoring, research and development etc. Practising and learning from mistakes is the way to go.
While software development is quite a male-dominated industry, that is changing, so if you’re considering getting into it as a woman, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so!
If you are curious, try it! And don’t give up, even if you are trying hard but not getting anywhere. Push yourself a little harder, ask for help (from a friend or perhaps join a course), get out of your comfort zone, and you’ll see the results!
Whatever you practise, don't forget to maintain a personal git repository or a portfolio website, as this will help you get your first job.
If you liked this interview with Noor and want to learn more about becoming an engineer at Tillo, visit our Engineering Hub. Here, you’ll find more Q&A’s by the engineering team and our current job vacancies, and you can also take a sneak peek at our API documentation.