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From Pediatric Occupational Therapist to Web Developer: Winnie’s path to creating inclusive digital spaces

Discover Winnie's journey in web development, advocating for accessible and inclusive digital spaces and the impact she's making as a full-stack developer today.
Summary

Could you tell me about your background and what inspired you to learn web development?

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I worked with children with disabilities to enhance their independence and participation in various activities. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I noticed that some websites used for online learning were inaccessible, causing frustration for students who relied on assistive technology.

This experience highlighted the need for accessible website design and development, as well as ensuring access to necessary support and training for those who require assistive technology.

I wanted to learn web development to have the tools to work on the web accessibility issue and hopefully ensure more equitable access to the web for people with disabilities, especially since technology will be more and more integrated into our lives as we grow older.

 

Why did you choose Le Wagon?

I am from Toronto and definitely wanted to be in an in-person learning environment, as I felt that it would be valuable to learn from my peers and socialize with like-minded but diverse people. When I was looking for web development bootcamps, all Toronto-based bootcamps were online.

 

I also wanted a supportive and international community upon completing the bootcamp, which is something that Le Wagon almost uniquely offers. 

 

What did you think of the program? Would you recommend it to someone?

I really enjoyed the program and felt that it gave me a good foundation for how to learn and think like a developer.

Of course, in 12 weeks, we would not be fully prepared for the workforce in terms of knowing a language or framework (like Ruby on Rails) inside and out. Still, the knowledge that I got from the bootcamp was integral in helping me better and faster understand new things as I kept learning after the bootcamp.

I have already recommended the bootcamp to others who saw that I graduated from Le Wagon and asked me about it.

 

Le Wagon is a community, first and foremost. Did Le Wagon’s community play an important role during your program?

The people and community at Le Wagon are amazing. I am still friends with peers from my cohort, and we continue to encourage and check in on each other as we progress in our careers.

Being in person, being partnered up with someone different every day, and ‘struggling’ alongside my cohort during the program was one of my favorite things about the program.

After the program, Le Wagon alumni were always open to chat and help in my job search.

 

What was your biggest challenge during the boot camp?

My biggest challenge was the time we spent every day learning new things. It definitely took a mental and physical toll and was tiring but rewarding at the same time.

I work well in shorter spurts of time. The everyday schedule of a lecture + independent work + live demo at the end of the day can be a lot.

 

What did you enjoy most during your time at Le Wagon?

I enjoyed meeting and learning alongside the diverse community the most.

Everyone had something unique to contribute and a different perspective based on their previous experiences (both professional and personal).

It was a very supportive and welcoming environment.

 

What advice would you give to one who wants to change careers?

I would tell them to take the plunge but fully commit to it! If you’re unhappy or burnt out in your current career and are interested in web development, it will be a lot of learning and hard work, but it will eventually pay off.

Being able to put 100% focus on changing your career is a privilege, but if you can do so, I recommend doing the program full-time to immerse yourself fully. If you’re unable to commit to full-time, being part-time can be great if you stay committed to the new path that you’re on!

 

What do you do now, and are you happy with your new career?

I am currently a full-stack developer at Withe, working with React, Typescript, and Next.js. I am super happy in my current role because I have a small team (our company is made up of 5 people), and the work that we’re doing is enjoyable and interesting. My managers (CEO and CTO) have also made it a priority to make our app as accessible as possible, and I am spearheading that aspect of the app.

 

I definitely feel like the skills that I learned at Le Wagon helped me get the position. I also had the chance to have open-minded managers who hired me as a bootcamp grad with no other education in development beyond that.

 

Even though I’m happy where I am now, I have a 5-year plan to become a digital accessibility consultant/expert and hope to be able to work in that more specified field in the future.

 

Are you interested in a career change in tech? Discover the programs we offer at our Montreal campus.

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