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Engineering & Product

Alice Alsford, Software Engineer at MOBI

A childhood dream of becoming a Silver Fern or an entrepreneur has taken a backseat for the time being for Alice Alsford, Software Engineer at MOBI. 

We caught up with Alice to learn more about her journey into software engineering and ultimately MOBI. Alice shares some great insight into different ways people can get a feel for whether a career path makes sense and the importance of finding something you love doing. Thanks for sharing your story, Alice.

“I’m a wizard. I type on a keyboard and make magic happen..”

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

I’m a wizard. I type on a keyboard and make magic happen on the computer to help people easily get food. 

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

I write code that helps people order from restaurants. I get tasks from the product team who prioritise what work needs to be done for our clients.

I have meetings with people to plan out what the work is, how long it will take and what we need to get it done and then I do the work. 

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in Software Engineering?

You just work on computers all day and don’t interact with anyone. You need to go to university and get a degree to be a software engineer. You eat a lot of pizza (not a complete misconception)

“I wanted to be either a Silver Fern or run my own business”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

Not really, I enjoyed playing the odd computer game but never thought of myself as someone who had a great understanding of how computers worked.

I wanted to be either a Silver Fern or run my own business (I used to collect my siblings possessions and wrap them up and make them buy them back as a “lucky dip”).   

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at MOBI? 

I went to university to study Sports and Exercise Science, majoring in Management and Coaching and from there fell into the events industry and worked for Venues Wellington (TSB Arena, Michael Fowler Centre, St James and Opera House).

During my second round of maternity leave I realised that it was not really the career path that I wanted to go down. My husband is a software developer and over time I realised what he did looked like fun.

So when my daughter was three months I gave myself the goal to do two hours of self led study a night using online courses like Udemy and Codecademy. A few months into it I was certain that it was what I wanted to do for a career.

After doing about 10 months of self led study I signed up to do Dev Academy Bootcamp and after the intense 20 weeks I finished the course.

I had seen MOBI when ordering some food and thought it looked like a great company doing cool things and so when the job opportunity came up I jumped on the chance and have learnt SO much since.

“We spend so many hours working in our job so you better find a job that you love.”

What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

We spend so many hours working in our job so you better find a job that you love.

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?

First, do some self-learning via websites like Codecademy or Udemy etc to see if it is something you want to pursue. Make some projects and get a real feel for it. Then consider doing a bootcamp if you are committed and want to fast-track your knowledge. 

Lastly, MOBI continues to grow and evolve.  What kind of candidates do you think MOBI is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

People who are motivated and ready to jump onto the rocketship that is the fast-moving MOBI.

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