2019 was a complete wind whirl for me. It was a year of development career-wise, and I have grown so much academically and professionally. I finally took the time to write this blog and reflect on my year of completed goals, achievements and also look for areas of improvements and set fabulous goals for 2020.
- Graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a First Class Honours in BSc Business Information Technology
- Received an award for achieving the highest grades across my course
- Got a graduate job in Kainos and now I’m an AI Engineer
- Ran an international workshop on AWS SageMaker in New York at WWCode Connect NYC
I’m incredibly happy with where my career is going. Never did I think I would receive First-class honours never mind receive an award for achieving the highest grades – I’m still shocked to this day. I worked really hard, and a few things did sacrifice in my life at the time, including personal relationships and my hobbies. I was lucky to be surrounded by supportive people at the time.
A few weeks after I graduated, I joined Kainos and was in the graduate training program for my first two months. Everything I learned in those two months is so relevant to my everyday job. For example; I wasn’t confident using Github within a team, and now I can confidently say I could run a workshop! I learned skills that will be transferable throughout my whole career. Soon after training, I joined a team for a few months then moved to the AI Practice and became an AI Engineer. At first, I doubted myself and thought how someone like me could be an AI Engineer? Soon after a week or so, my mindset shifted utterly. I found the perfect place for me, I work with incredible, smart people, and I’m so thankful.
- WWCode Connect San Francisco Conference for Leads and Directors
- WWCode Front End Summit in Berlin
- Co-organised Women Techmakers Belfast Annual Conference
- GDG Google Dev Summit in London
- Spoke at events – Meet the graduates, Women Creating our tech future
- Hosted WWCode Events and helped women excel in their careers
Towards the end of 2018, I became the director of Women Who Code Belfast with Beth. At first, I thought to myself, how am I going to do this when I’m in the final year of university? But I told myself that I will prove myself wrong. I love giving to the tech community and helping empower women and see them grow, learn and make connections.
The WWCode Connect Conference was incredible – check out my blog post to find out more about it. The GDG Google Dev Summit in London was an opportunity for GDG and WTM across the UK and Ireland to come together and share community ideas. It was awesome to meet the GDG/GDE community, I really enjoyed this summit!
Throughout the year, I hosted and spoke at events. I put myself forward for talks this year – this is an area where I developed a lot. Previously, I avoided public speaking as much as I could! I was petrified about getting up in front of a room in people incase I looked stupid or said the wrong thing. After a lot of encouragement and help from WWCode, Women Techmakers, I was surrounded by people who helped lift me up. I developed my skills, and I plucked up the courage to go for it and finally pushed myself!
- Got a Cockapoo puppy named Archie
- Improved my cooking skills
- Completed a decorating few rooms in our house
My puppy Archie came into my life around Easter time. I’m genuinely blessed to have a really well behaved and friendly dog. Credit to Mr B for training him so well. He is really lovable, I cuddle him every night, and he makes my heart so full! I love cooking, I cooked many storms throughout 2019, and I have to say I am definitely improving my cooking skills.
- Made new friends
- Got closer to some friends
I got closer to some friends this year who are a similar age to me. I also work with these people now, which is hilarious as we all went to university together. I value our friendships so much.
I was fortunate to make many new friends in 2019, but I also drifted from others. Holding onto relationships is a lot harder the older you get especially when you have responsibilities now. I am working on improving relationships with friends and making more time for them.
- Eat better
My eating habits have greatly improved this year. Two years ago, my diet was very poor (I thought I was healthy at the time). I didn’t eat many carbs and was always low in energy. One of my goals in 2019 was to not be so frightened of food and start enjoying it more! I for sure did in 2019.. (Especially in December🍫). I do love eating healthy, but I think it’s important to have cheat days and enjoy food!
Unfortunately, I haven’t exercised as much as I’d like to in 2019, I was previously quite fit. I used to run, go to the gym and was in a competitive cheerleading team. In 2020 I hope to pick up exercising again and fall in love with it.
- Conferences – San Francisco, Berlin, London, New York
Travelling is my soul! I’m extremely overwhelmed by the number of places I travelled to in 2019. I have been fortunate to get the opportunity to visit all these countries and attend many conferences.
I visited Croatia with Mr B and travelled to Split and Hvar. Split was on the coast of the island, it is a beautiful city. Hvar was a little island about an hour away on a boat from Split – The island was small and perfect for relaxing, with plenty to do at night!
So this year was a year of developing in general for me. I still can’t believe all this happened in one year – graduating and starting work feels like two different years! I personally have many areas of improvements and failed in a few places, but I have set many goals for 2020 that I am excited to execute.