Yeah, Girls Code.

December’s Inspiring Figure

Inspiring Figures is a monthly blog column where I share with you people who are catalysts in inspiring and motivating me. They are people you should really know about. Last month featured Aimee Browes, Founder of The Happiness Bootcamp. You can read her feature here.

Just like always, this month’s feature first took place live on Instagram – thank you to everyone that joined in! This is actually the last Inspiring Figure post of the year. 😱 I’m really proud of this project and keeping it going throughout 2018! I want to continue building upon in the new year to come. 🙌🏼

This month features, Nathalia Rus.

Also known as YeahGirlsCode on Instagram.

We first met in London at J.P Morgan, celebrating our feature on the Tab’s most influential women in the UK 2018 list. Nathalia actually came up to me after I had spoke openly to Deborah Frances-White, podcast host of the Guilty Feminist, about women in tech. I recall being very excited by her passion for technology, matching my own love for it.

Since we first connected at this event, full of like-minded women, we’ve been following each other on social media, supporting each other’s ventures in the world of technology and beyond.

Sisterhood. I love that.

I hope you find her as incredible as I do, here’s to December’s Inspiring Figure – Nathalia.

🚀 Getting into Technology

Nathalia is an award-winning technologist, writing code and recently on the  pursuit of trying to link together the beauty of art and code. This year, she has been listed as one of the most influential woman in the UK and listed as a finalist in technology for the 2018 Nova Awards. She runs an Instagram, YeahGirlsCode, where she shares her daily insights in coding languages she’s learning to new tech with over 16,000 followers. 

Her journey starts in a range of different interests ranging from philosophy, arts, and politics. After completing a degree in politics, Nathalia discovered that she wanted to get involved in something more impactful from the ground up. So she looked into social enterprises, and this is where the love her technology started. She started to learn how to code alone through various courses, alongside her busy schedule! The logical nature of coding made her fall in love with it, giving her a different way to think. She further secured some work in front-end development world and now has found herself wanting to learn about the world of art and code for instance, in video games and Unity. Truly powerful!

Although she enjoyed learning CodeAcademy and other courses, she quickly found that it can be difficult to bring the bigger picture together. It’s also a matter of understanding the background of each language, data structures, frameworks etc. and how they interact together! She applied for a Google Scholarship which allowed her to understand this all rather than just coding alone with a course. This really opened Nathalia’s eyes, she was inspired to undertake the Code Works Bootcamp which allowed her to code with others and came out with a qualification and a better understanding of the background.  

👩🏼‍🎨 What’s so exciting in technology?

Nathalia is exploring into the incredible interdisciplinary work that can be done with technology. Right now, she’s excited about Arts and Technology and the ways we can experience beautiful things with this!

In the past, the Art industry was about physical things and although this still holds true, there has been a shift to a new model which allow dynamic, creativity, immersive and uniqueness achieved by technology.  Art is getting more and more technical e.g. Nathalia talks about antennas communicating with stars for art such as live painting. This is all thanks to programming – which is amazing!

There are also other areas where technology meets another industry, Nathalia mentions medicine where you can literally be at the forefront of helping humans live longer with the power and knowledge of technology and data. Now with this power of technology, you can be part of these incredible advancements!

👩🏻‍💻 Advice on becoming better Engineers

Being better engineers doesn’t happen in the corner of your room alone, Nathalia advices that techies need to go out and learn by doing, from others through networking events or online communities. Exchanging code with others is a fantastic way of learning and understanding the different paths to a solution.

⚡️ Tech is an always on world, it doesn’t mean you have to be.

When your passion and what you do for a living is on the same level, it can be truly powerful but can also be self-destructive when you don’t take proper care of yourself. During our live chat, Nathalia also admittedly said that this is a place she struggles with but is trying very hard to be a lot more mindful.

Disconnecting from our passions can be difficult, but the burn out after burn out can cause a lot more harm than good. Nathalia recommends doing some sports, exercise, eat healthy – everything what you consume makes you. It’s more about a lifestyle change than quick fixes.

She has been surprised by hackathons serving fizzy drinks and pizzas, she thinks that it gives folks a bad idea as to what a good programmer is all about. It isn’t about being able to code throughout the night, 24/7 running on energy drinks. It’s about optimising yourself for success with a healthy balance of good food, sleep and rest. Nathalia recommends that hackathon organisers try to make some time for workshops related to well-being such as mindfulness, meditation and yoga.

You can work hard, and take care of your body and mind. It’s possible! Hackathons aren’t a model for everyday life.

🛠 Building a platform

Nathalia started her Instagram when she was in her room, hit by inspiration when looking at what she needs to do to learn how to code.

She was overwhelmed by everything she needed to know and so, took a step back and needed to take an external point of view of herself to keep her accountable. Instagram became that platform for her to write online, as she found that diaries just weren’t working. It became a place for her to write her daily learnings and insights and keep herself accountable, which just grew from there.

Her platform on Instagram allowed her to show others, in particular, girls that they can also learn how to code too, breaking the typical Software Engineer stereotype. She has been unapologetically herself, breaking all the stereotypes possible to empower others to do the same – it truly is incredible!

Her main advice for those wanting to grow their Instagram account is to make sure that you are patient, consistent and true to yourself, these things take time! She also advices that you need to make sure that you have your values at heart, followers aren’t everything.

Wise words!

Catch up on our live chat on YouTube

You can catch-up with our conversation on YouTube below! A huge thank you again as usual to Clark Narvas for putting these together.

You can find Nathalia primarily on Instagram! I hope you found her story interesting and has motivated you to pursue a career in technology if that is what interests you and sparks your passion; she truly is an Inspiring Figure.  

6 responses to “Yeah, Girls Code.”

  1. Nathalia sounds like an incredible person who is going to accomplish amazing things. I wish her all the very best in the future. 😀

    1. Thanks for reading Kassy! I’m glad that you took something away 😀

  2. She sounds like an awesome person. I like how she cares a lot about mindfulness!

    1. It is such a key thing in her work, it’s really incredible!

  3. So true, to be able to do coding well you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle as it fuels up your brain. I used to do programming for 20 years (I know such a long time) with my 9-5 work and a side job after office hours. I had to eat and rest properly so I won’t burn out. Nice to know many young women these days can combine being techy and active in social media. So refreshing, thanks girl for sharing this post.

    1. Thank you for reading, Nathalia is definitely super refreshing! Her work is incredible. I’m glad that you took some key things away Mercy 🤗

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