Meet Ketia, a DJ based in Berlin who found in Spiced’s Web Development course a space where they could enjoy learning, be inspired by others and, simply, be themselves. We spoke with Ketia about their inspirations to learn and how they stay creative in the world of code.
Hi Ketia! Thanks for talking to us 🙂 Tell us a little about your educational and professional background?
When I finished high school I took a gap year. Then I did psychology for like a year and a half and I did a whole year of working in a call center. But they cut my scholarship short and I wasn’t so interested in the academia world so then I took two gap years. Then I realized I really like music and started slowly learning how to DJ. A year later I was involved in making two parties and I grabbed this job at a sex shop that also made it a bit more viable. So that was honestly really good then.
Then Boiler Room and Atonal happened, and since then I’ve been touring right up to the pandemic. I was touring in Australia and then two days later the world ended. I had a lot of time to think about stuff during quarantine and I was reading these cyber feminist texts and books that really prompted in me some kind of interest in coding.
You took the course in Berlin, tell us a little about living there, and what brought you to the city?
Well I love Berlin. It’s a tricky relationship with a big city because I like nature and quiet. So I’m happy that I have basically no neighbors and it’s all trees out my window.
I moved here because Portugal is really precarious. The minimum wage in proportion to the rents are like three times what it is here. I needed a breathing space in my life because I didn’t want to work 40 hours a week to live with the bare minimum.
Then it was really also about DJing. There are more opportunities here.
I was coming to Berlin every month for three or four days and I was like, I can do the opposite. I can just go for three, four days in Lisbon and then have an actual life here. Also the Job Center can just pay this amount of money for me to study what I want here. In Portugal this doesn’t happen.
Take us back to that day you made the decision to take a Web Development course – what was driving you? And why Web Development?
I read two really important papers. First was “Gender Acceleration: A Blackpaper”. It literally brought me to tears. It’s about gender in the coding world and the tech world. It talks about Multics and Unix, which were the first two operative systems. Unix was a response to Multics which was a very hard, strict kind of operative system. Hackers were like no, that’s crazy, so they did Unixs. Unixs literally like “eunuchs” – like castrating the male energy within Multics. Unix is now Linux which 30 years later still is the best open source project of all time and the most functional as well.
At some point they talk about trans women being the first cyborgs and that they have a leniency to machines because they too are machines. I thought that was really well put and beautiful and it really resonated with me in my non-binary-ness and everything. Then I actually saw the Explained for Coding on Netflix which was also cool. Just like, “oh it’s not that crazy, it’s just a language”.
I think websites are really powerful as a way to connect dots. So my biggest interest is in the power behind technology and the power behind queer people having access to these languages and being able to create for themselves the things that no one else has done, because they don’t even think about them. They don’t even consider them as someone who actually needs help. So that’s my focus.
Do you have any plans to mix your creative work with web development?
That would be ideal, because it also makes me code more, which is what I need right now. I’ve been really interested in how to create visuals with coding, I think that’s really cool. Websites are inherently visual, so for sure those two have to meet. I want to make my own artist website and my own label website. Now I’m the person who does websites so I have all this power to finally leave Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp and to create my own platform to host people algorithm free and censorship free, data mining free.
So the way that they marry each other I see as a tool to enhance whatever I was doing before. I am much more interested in the multidisciplinary interaction of anything I do rather than like I’m just a DJ and that’s all I do.
Why did you choose to study at Spiced? What made the course stand out?
Honestly, I didn’t look into anyone else! I liked the website and I have a friend who’s done really well with coding in his life and I showed him the study plan and he was like “that’s great, you should do that”.
Then I had a really good call with Anna and when I explained about being non-binary it was such a non-thing that I was like ok I’ll just do this, easy! I just had a good feeling, it’s a bit cheesy but I felt I was talking to a real person and that’s all I care about in life.
I think Anna does a really good job and I think the website itself is very friendly. I think in general when you’re changing careers or going into a complete new venture it’s really important to be welcomed.
What was the most challenging aspect of the course?
Honestly, nothing. I thought it was really cool, and easy. It felt like a video game. I mean coding feels like a video game in the sense that I get really frustrated and I throw the remote away and I’ll be like, I’m not going to play this anymore. Two minutes later, I turn on the console again and I’m back at it.
I think being remote was the most challenging thing and the lack of possibility for collaboration.Because it’s so different to read someone’s code through the screen, instead of having it there and being about to touch it myself. And also asking questions as much as I would like. I think that was really the only challenging thing because everything else is pretty well handled in regards to the curriculum and how it’s taught.
What was your favourite aspect of the course?
I guess just like how cool and real people were, honestly. There’s this feeling of realness and you can actually communicate and feel compassion. Even when there is frustration, which I also believe is normal, there was always a care. I really felt that they love their job as well, which is really cool to be surrounded by people who are not just really smart and sweet, but also engaged in what they are doing.
Also this idea that there’s no creativity limit. Like I did a robo-erotica image board with, I don’t want to say sexual, but for sure intimate content, and it was never a question. It was just like, “so cool, the design is great, the code is amazing”. It was never “umm, maaaybe…”. So that’s also really interesting to me.
What were your instructors like?
I think the teachers are very brilliant, all of them. There’s all this diversity and they all balance each other out. I think in the tech world I was expecting a bit more bros and actually there were many women! Not just in the course itself but also as instructors and staff. That also was really important to me to hear different voices.
What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the Spiced bootcamp?
I say do it because it is very well designed for all kinds of learners. I was finished quite early and I didn’t really do weekend coding. But there was for sure time for everyone else to keep up and I think, at least in our cohort, no one was really left behind. Even the person that took the longest, always managed to finish and that’s really important. The teachers were really paying attention to that and really caring and making extra zoom calls with the people that needed it.
The biggest thing about Spiced was, in three months learning how to build a single web page application is crazy. I can’t believe the amount of power that I have in three months. And just for that, it’s really worth it I believe.
If you could sum up your experience with Spiced in 3 words, what would they be?
Exciting, stimulating, sweet.