Justine remembers being first interested in coding back in middle school while customizing online community web pages - but she didn't think of web development as a career option until much later.
Sure enough, her coding interest was sparked again when she took a free workshop with Canada Learning Code (also founded by Juno’s CEO and Founder Heather Payne). She was hooked! Justine decided to continue her journey into tech with Juno’s part-time Web Development course in winter 2016, where she learned the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and implementing responsive designs. Later that spring, she applied to Juno’s full-time Web Development Immersive Bootcamp - and got accepted!
"While self-learning is critical to your every day and your future as a developer, I personally wanted structure and guidance of experienced and excited instructors,” Justine says. “Another factor I took when deciding to go with Juno was the need to be career-ready in a few months rather than the years-long programs limited by traditional institutions."
I enjoyed the collaborative, hands-on approach to learning that Juno emphasized. The interactive lessons did wonders to my long-term memory, and everything I learned was applied to my development job right away (and to this day)!
After 9 weeks of building websites, a portfolio to show them off, and lasting friendships, Justine graduated in spring 2016. Only one month after graduation, she landed her first job as a front-end developer at TWG, a software consultancy. She worked on customizing WordPress and Shopify themes for various organizations and high-performing online merchants. She also found that her HR background came in handy!
"I was ecstatic to join a team that could use my skills and accepted my unusual blend of HR and coding bootcamp experience," she says. "I was valued as a multi-faceted individual who had potential to learn and contribute. Receiving that job offer symbolized the end of linear career paths and the celebration of diverse backgrounds."
What Justine loves most about tech is its limitless possibilities, and the ability to bring change with only a few lines of code. "I love fighting for the user and using code to improve their experience while meeting the business’ goals," she says.
Today, Justine works as a developer improving the online grocery shopping experience at Loblaw Digital. She implements customer-facing site designs with code, customizes content management systems for internal clients, and collaborates with project managers to ensure deadlines are met. Justine also works with other developers to review code for bugs, meet accessibility requirements, and improve site performance.
When asked about a challenge she’s faced during her journey into tech, she talks about an unconscious bias that exists in all industries, and how to fight it:
"It manifests in subtle ways like not having my voice heard in meetings, negotiations, and even projects where we ought to be collaborative and inclusive," Justine says. "I’ll never fully overcome it, but I actively find ways to have my voice heard. Sometimes that’s through calling out things that people say that aren’t okay. Or sharing my experiences with a trusted sponsor who will help amplify my voice. And when I can, amplify the voices around me that could use a platform. It’s an ongoing challenge, but I know we are getting better at it."