Interview with Alice Marshall, software developer at Kano

Did you know that 26% of people currently working in computing in the USA are women (and only 17% in the UK)?* That’s surprisingly low, especially considering the field of computer science was pioneered by a woman - Ada Lovelace. So, for anyone looking to get into computing, read on for some inspiration.

Meet Alice, 26. She’s a London-based software developer working for Kano. She loves cake, Koboxing and can even code magic. Alice has kindly agreed to let us have a look into her day-to-day and answer some questions.

But, before we start, what is a software developer?

A software developer is a person that can create all the things that you can do on your computer (like websites, apps, games etc.). Their job includes programming, creating the best user experience possible, testing for bugs (and hopefully squashing them :p) and creating a functional piece of software.

Alice, how's your usual morning routine?

I always like to start my morning with some exercise because I’m sat down most of my day. This gives me the right kind of energy to tackle my work. Then I’ll have a protein smoothie or eggs (fried are my favorite!) for some well-deserved fuel.

What are you responsible for at Kano?

Making software products come to life. Projects that I’ve worked on at Kano include building their website, our company website and currently working on the new Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit. My main task has been to create the functionality behind the spell gestures basically making magic with code!

What does your typical workday start with?

Our daily team meeting, where we go over what everyone’s worked on the day before and plan out the next priorities. Then my days vary between creating new features with code, fixing bugs and finding solutions to problems.

What helped you get your job?

My first interest in programming began during my maths degree when I learned to use statistical software programs. My favorite thing about that subject was getting things wrong and having to figure out how to fix them. After that, I joined an 8-week free HTML / CSS course with Code First: Girls. It made me curious to learn more. A year later I completed a web development immersive course at General Assembly. That’s when Kano’s Head of Engineering came to present the company and encouraged students to apply for engineering jobs at Kano. That’s how I got my first developer job!

What's the best part of your job?

Finding the solutions to those bigger problems, which feel like utter relief and happiness.

And the most challenging part of your job?

The bigger problems that we have to solve, that can sometimes take days and can be quite discouraging.

What's the thing you're the proudest of?

Making people feel like they can do real magic with the Harry Potter wand, thanks to the gesture recognition work that I’ve done for it. I even used some of the maths I learned at university to make it happen, which was really rewarding!

What sort of stuff do you do after work?

I like to completely switch off from tech. To do that, I usually bake, hang out with friends or practice yoga. I also recently discovered pottery, which is so mindful and creative. I loved it!

Who would you recommend this job to?

Anyone who likes to problem-solve is a logical thinker and likes to have multiple wins on a weekly basis. The main qualities you should have to be a software developer are patience, an analytical mind and a touch of creativity.

What would you recommend to someone who wants to start a career as a software developer?

Attending beginner workshops or meetups are a good place to start. Otherwise, there are quite a few free challenges and courses online such as:…
For anyone aged 6+: Kano World (Community)
For teens: Codecademy
Adults: General Assembly
For those with any coding questions, Stack Overflow, is a great forum to find almost any answers to your questions.

We are hiring!

Thanks, Alice for taking the time to answer the questions! If you like what you just heard, head over to the Kano Careers page as we're always growing the team.

*Source1, Source2