Meet Kayla, from the US. She became a Spicedling 🖖 over 3 years ago. She’s now working as a Front End Web Developer, where she gets to work heavily with design and UX. Here she tells us all about why she chose Data Web Development, and how her career has grown after graduating from Spiced.


Hi Kayla! Thanks for talking to us 🙂 Can you open by telling us a little about your educational and professional background before joining Spiced?

I studied Journalism with a focus on infographics and design, and joined Spiced a few months after graduating. Right after college I did an internship making infographics at the Denver Post newspaper. I was happy doing design, but wanted to make more things online, and was limited by my basic coding skills. So, I moved to Berlin to study at Spiced as a sort of top-off to my education degree.


You completed Spiced’s Full Stack course over 3 years ago! What have you been up to since then?

A few months after finishing the course, I joined a small Berlin fashion startup as a Junior Frontend Developer. It was great to get real experience applying the skills learned from Spiced, but soon started looking for a company more aligned with dataviz, journalism, or something with a little more design focus. Then I started as a Infographic Trainee at an agency called Infographics Group (now a consultancy called Sapera). I learned more infographic design and also worked a lot on the development team, building dataviz and websites. Once the program was over, I stayed as a Junior Frontend Developer, and recently as a Frontend Developer, where I focus on dataviz, UI development and accessibility.


How was it finding a job after the course?

The application and interview process wasn’t extremely difficult, but I didn’t start immediately after the course. I think the hardest part was the preparation — spending time developing my portfolio, preparing a basic CV and cover letter, and brushing up on code concepts and technical interview questions. This isn’t necessary for everyone, but helped me gather my thoughts post-Spiced and build some confidence before jumping into interviews. I think this was hard for me because there’s never a perfect time to stop studying and start applications, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed or exhausted with information overload. There is always more to learn, but once I started applying and interviewing, it got easier and even fun. I was really ready to start a job, so I accepted one offer out of two, about 3 months after Spiced, (about 1 – 2 months of actively applying).


Tell us a bit about your company, Sapera?

My company started as an agency for infographics and information design, and has recently gone through a big change to move to a consultancy focusing on data and dataviz, design and strategy. Our team is growing a lot, and exciting things are coming up, which is exciting for the development team.


How did Spiced prepare you for your role as a Front End Developer at Sapera?

On the frontend team, I work with HTML, CSS, Javascript and React every day, all of which were a huge part of the Spiced course. Having knowledge of the full development stack is also nice, since our team’s work involves both. Outside of this job specifically, the career preparation section of the course was incredibly helpful.


What’s a career in Web Development like, what are some of the challenges?

It can seem overwhelming to keep up with all of the new advancements and technology that seems constantly changing. But, I think an important part of web development is problem solving, so learning a new library, for example, becomes part of the fun.


And what are some of the best things?

I love how many different focuses there are in web development. You don’t have to (and couldn’t possibly) be an expert in everything. And, you can always learn something new, so it doesn’t get boring.


Tell us something you’ve done professionally since graduating that you’re super proud of?

I originally decided to go to Spiced so I could learn enough development to make interactive infographics. While I ended up liking web development in general and pursuing it as a career, at my current position I’ve made many interactive infographics from scratch, which was something I never thought would feel this doable.


Take us back to that day you decided you wanted to study Web Development – what was driving you?

I was in my final year of journalism school, and our class had a guest speaker, Larry Buchanan from the New York Times graphics team. At that point, this was pretty much my dream job. He was answering a question our class had asked about his career path, and said something along the lines of going to journalism school, then learning to code at a bootcamp. I thought, that makes perfect sense. I’ll do that too. That summer I was an intern at the Denver Post making infographics, and realized how much web development skills would help me. I knew a bit, but was struggling to make the things I wanted to make. So on my lunch breaks, I started researching coding schools.


Why did you choose to study at Spiced? What made the course stand out?

The schools I was looking at in the US were pretty expensive, and there weren’t great options where I was located at the time. Since I would likely have to move to a new city anyway, I started looking outside of the US, and found that including the plane ticket, the cost evened out. I didn’t study abroad in college, so I was thinking it would be a good opportunity to live somewhere new for a few months before starting a job back in the US (but somehow ended up staying for 3 years). I looked at a few around Europe, but I was familiar with Berlin, and was interested in its tech scene. Out of the schools I researched in Berlin, I knew I wanted a Javascript-focused one, which Spiced was perfect for.


What was the most challenging aspect of the course?

It was very intense. It was difficult to adjust to learning so much new information every day, and also have energy to apply it while coding.


What was your favourite aspect of the course?

It was a different world where all I thought about for months was JavaScript. Everyone in the cohort was great too, and it really helped to have people going through and learning the same thing as you.


Many people are currently working remotely, how are you finding that? What are your tips and tricks to stay focused, productive and in a good mood?

My only tip would actually be to go easy on yourself (or your coworkers) if you’re not always in a good mood or 100% productive. While working from home has helped my health and productivity in a lot of ways because of the flexibility, working during a global pandemic is something entirely new which comes with a brand new set of challenges for work and personal life. But, as for home office, personally I find a lot of benefits to it, so I hope companies continue the option in the future.


Thanks again for your time! Any last comments

Thank you!!


Looking to take the leap into Web Development? Check out our 12-Week Coding Bootcamps across Germany.