People Behind Integrify: Katharine, Full Stack Supporting Instructor

March 30, 2022

People Behind Integrify is a blog series that takes you behind the scenes of Integrify. This time you'll get to meet Katharine, one of our full stack developers who has over 10 years of teaching under her belt. After two years of intensive training, Katharine has joined the Integrify team as a full stack supporting instructor!

Hi Katharine, welcome to the team! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Hi! I’m Katharine, one of the many new additions to the Integrify team. I’m a full stack developer who transitioned from a classical music career to software development. I was born in Toronto and moved to Helsinki about six years ago to do a Masters in classical flute performance at the Sibelius Academy. During the pandemic, I became interested in coding and decided to pivot careers. Now I code on a daily basis and I’m enjoying every bit of it!

That’s awesome! So, what kind of work do you do at Integrify? 

I’m currently a full stack supporting instructor here at Integrify. After going through Integrify’s full stack training program myself, I found that I really love helping others. Along with helping students, reviewing code, and interviewing new candidates for the program, I also code and contribute to our internal product the Student Management System used by the Integrify team.

That sounds interesting! How did you end up in your current role?

My life as a classical musician differed quite a bit from my life now! I was performing in orchestras, auditioning, competing in music competitions, and teaching flute. I have played with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, and as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Laivastonsoittokunta. When I became interested in coding, I decided to find a bootcamp to build a solid programming foundation. After completing Le Wagon remotely while finishing my masters, I followed up with the intensive piscine at Hive and started my studies at Laurea University of Applied Sciences. I was then accepted into Integrify’s training program. I loved Integrify’s intense and fast-paced program, and here I am now!

And what does a typical day look like for you at Integrify? What kind of things do you tackle?

My work at Integrify consists of code review, interviewing new candidates for the Integrify training program, helping students with their projects, running through lectures to prepare for being a main instructor, and contributing code to Integrify’s Student Management System. I enjoy working in a hybrid mode; both working at home and at the office. I really feed off the energy from my amazing colleagues, and I prefer having our meetings in person.

Cool, seems like you’re involved in many different tasks at Integrify! What would you say is the best thing about your job?

Teaching is a very rewarding job. I have taught for about ten years, starting off as a teenage swim instructor, switching to being a music teacher, and now as a full stack supporting instructor. It has always been a passion of mine. I love interacting with students and seeing something click for them when I explain things, or their eyes light up with a new idea. Their enthusiasm and hard work inspire me to be more detailed when it comes to reviewing their work or finding new ways to explain concepts.

Do you have any side projects or hobbies you enjoy outside of work?

I grew up in an arts school, so I love painting, visiting art museums, attending concerts, and taking salsa lessons. My life is pretty hectic at the moment, but I always try to find time each day to code my own projects and learn more outside of work. I have an endless list of things I want to learn — my colleagues often discuss things that pique my curiosity, and then my list grows longer.

As someone who is interested in coding, how do you stay up to date with the newest trends & technologies?

There are lots of awesome YouTube channels and blogs out there. I often find myself clicking video after video on YouTube when I see interesting topics. The Integrify tech team also keeps each other up to date and inspired with video and article links. 

What kind of advice would you give someone who is starting out their career in tech?

I think keeping up the motivation in the beginning can be challenging sometimes, especially when faced with a long list of errors. Just know that you’re not alone! One of the biggest problems I see with students starting out is panic when errors pop up in their projects. I know it looks intimidating at first but over time we learn to decipher errors better (or not, but our googling skills definitely improve!). It’s helpful to google issues, as there is probably going to be someone posting on a forum about something similar. Taking a breather also helps. Usually, the solution comes to me as I’m taking a walk or doing the dishes, or even right before I fall asleep! You can also reach out to different communities and forums. People are usually friendly and happy to help.

A picture of Katharine

Great advice! How would you describe Integrify with 3 words?

Inspiring, supportive, and innovative. I really support Integrify’s mission, and the stories of the people that have gone through the program are truly inspiring. The team is also incredibly supportive, and they try their best to accommodate student requests and needs when possible. 

Lastly, I think everyone in the team is constantly striving to come up with new and innovative ways of moving Integrify forward.

Sounds like the team spirit is on point! And lastly, what would you like to say to your future colleagues?

Welcome to the team! Don’t be afraid to ask for help because everyone is super friendly. Also, the breakfasts that are held on Fridays are the best and not to be missed!

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