Hey gal, this is me… My name’s Shelley (@shelleycooperwhite on Insta), I’m 23, and I’m a full-time software developer (slash professional florist slash amateur gardener slash craft beer enthusiast).

If I were to describe myself in three words… Organised, genial and a bit obsessive.

I always blow my pay-check on… This sounds really lame but usually at Bunnings! We have a backyard in Newtown that I’m gradually doing up. I love being outside and growing things little by little.

I’m currently… Working as a software developer (day job) and running a wedding floristry business on the side with a friend – check us out on Insta (@posyandvine) and if you’re getting married hit us up! 

I got into it because… I did a bit of coding in high school and fell absolutely in love, so I studied a Bachelor of Computer Science at USyd. I’m super pumped to spend the rest of my career learning and growing! Floristry just sort of happened one day, and 12 months later I’m about to add a Cert III to my qualifications. It’s more of a hobby but a lovely one.

Her hobby is not just lovely, but beautiful!

What I love about it… I adore getting to create tangible things every day – you write/code/build something and then a tonne of people use it in their everyday lives. It’s so fulfilling and satisfies the compulsive organiser inside me; I love optimising and finding the best, strongest solution to a tricky problem. It’s like being a detective, but you get to see your work out there in the real world and do it over and over again!

What I don’t love about it … Sometimes you have to do the boring stuff – although if you find the right job thankfully there’s not too much of it! But someone’s got to go to meetings and write reports…

What I’ve learned from the experience… I’m learning that I’ll always be learning! I’ve learned to not get discouraged when I feel like I don’t know anything, and realise that there are so many aspects to software development that no one can really know everything. You’ve got to have confidence in your abilities, and see that everyone’s in the same boat and you get to teach each other.

My advice to anyone pursuing this pathway is… If you’re into problem solving, you’ll smash it. Learn how to learn – it’s not so much about knowing everything but about knowing how to improve your skills; if you’ve got good core theory skills you can pick up anything at any software job. Also, build your own projects for practice; find something that needs fixing, and fix it! Then either sell it for a million bucks or show it to your next potential employer 😉

I’m passionate about… Women/gender equality in tech! We have so far to go for gender equality in society, let alone in software development, so we need to do everything we can to get there.

Most people don’t know this about me, but… I’ve never seen the snow! I grew up in Yamba, a beach town just south of Byron and I’ve only travelled internationally in the summer. 

In 5 years time I’ll be… At the snow maybe 😉 Hopefully building software for something I care about, and still doing the odd wedding! I’d love to be mentoring younger female developers as well. I guess we’ll see!