Ash joined the 18-person technical team at Papier as a front-end developer and places huge importance on his manager for making the transition work. “If my manager didn’t want to be a manager then I wouldn’t have been able to do what I do — I needed a mentor. I got lucky I guess — he was so important”.
Ash notes the natural tendency of those in tech wanting to mentor. “Teams like it when a junior joins, it’s a nice dynamic — often people like to mentor, I think that is so important. If you guide someone with the potential to be a great coder then they will probably become exactly that”.
We touch on the topic of imposter syndrome. I wanted to know if Ash felt he lacked a knowledge or breadth of concepts because he didn’t study Computer Science. “You’re both (on sitting next to someone who did CompSci) doing the same thing and if you’re good at problem-solving and communicating then you shouldn’t feel that. For me the important things are making sure you have a good mentor and always being open to learning — the people who did CompSci are the minority in our team”
“I think there are so many misconceptions about coding as a skill and also how it works in the professional world. If you enjoying solving problems and the logic of it — then you can be great.”
Ash has a natural ability to communicate, which he developed further in his non-technical roles, that now helps him do his best work. “One of the best parts of my job is working with the design team — communicating with them to explain why something in their designs won’t translate to screen and saying this doesn’t work like that but we can try it out like this.”
The ability to communicate and raise new ideas is something Ash sees as being a way for people from non-tech backgrounds to bring real value to tech teams. “What I lacked in background and experience I hopefully made up with being able to communicate and help. I think the tech industry will be happy to have a lot of these folk who haven’t taken the traditional route — they have such strong communication skills and naturally, they might be a little more extroverted.”