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  • Writer's pictureValentina Colombo

Julie Luu, Frontend Software Engineer

Updated: May 9

Meet Julie Luu, Frontend Software Engineer at E.ON Next. Julie's journey in the tech industry is a testament to the power of adaptation and perseverance - with over 15 years of experience in IT support. She found herself at a crossroads when the COVID-19 pandemic offered her a window of opportunity for self-discovery. It was during this time that she enrolled in an introductory web development course, reigniting her passion for creating digital solutions. Despite initial challenges and doubts, Julie's determination led her to explore the possibilities of a career shift into software engineering. Through dedication and continuous learning, she embarked on a transformative path, eventually landing a role as a Junior Software Engineer. Julie's story is one of resilience, growth, and the unwavering pursuit of professional fulfillment in the dynamic world of technology.


A smiling Julie Luu!
Julie Luu

In addition to the written interview below, we had a great chat with Julie Luu, which you can check out in the video below!




Q1) Can you share a bit about your background and your current role?


I’ve worked in tech around 15 years, a huge chunk of that was spent working in IT support, working in 1st / 2nd line support and to being a team leader and around 2020, when Covid hit and like many had a lot of free time on my hands, I signed up to an intro to web development course with General Assembly. In the two hours, I relearned how to create a website and loved it!

From that moment, I decided to look into the possibility of pursuing a new career in the software engineering space!



Q2) How did you first become interested in technology, and what led you to your current role?

 

Growing up, Information Technology was always a subject that I excelled at in secondary school and college, so much so that I chose to study Software Engineering at university. However, I remember the first day I attended one of my classes which focused on programming in Java, I never felt so out of place and lost in an area I thought I was so good at. The reason why? It was the first time in my 18 years of life that I came coding?! 🤯

Having spent a year learning how to code in Java, and even though I passed the module and coded a game, I felt at the time coding wasn’t for me. So I then switched my degree to Business Computing Systems, there was still some coding involved, one of my modules was Ecommerce (think it was PHP, HTML and CSS).


It was really a 360-degree moment for me when, in 2020, I decided to learn front-end development using online resources, complete two boot camps, and landing my 1st job as a Junior Software Engineer working for DAZN. Now I am working at E.ON Next as a Frontend Software Engineer (it was previously a Junior role, but I recently got promoted - the junior title has been dropped! 🤩)



Q3) What main challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

 

I was very lucky that at one of the boot camps I did, my place was sponsored by DAZN, who then offered me a one-year internship, so I didn’t have to worry about finding a job in this new industry - otherwise, I would have said getting a job would have been one of the main challenges!


The imposter syndrome, feeling that I don’t know enough or I’m too slow to come up with a solution compared to others, I would say has been one of my main challenges in this career.


I’m not sure I will ever get over the feeling of not knowing enough, but I remind myself daily how far I have come from the first day I started learning how to code in JavaScript/TypeScript to now where I am able to code on my own and deliver working solutions. 👏✨


In the two hours, I relearned how to create a website and loved it!

Q4) Who or what has been the most significant influence or support in your tech journey?


My family and friends for their endless support and encouragement when I embarked on this new career path. To all the managers, mentors, and colleagues at DAZN (Phil, Naomi, Talita, Samm, Abi, Carrie, G, Billy, Antony, Jack, Pete, Craig, and Jemma, just to name a few!)


My current colleague/mentor, Robert Cass truly has been the best mentor since the day I joined E.ON Next. Always been there to support, help me debug, and make time to help me grow and succeed in my role.



Q5) How have you seen diversity and inclusion evolve in the tech industry throughout your career?


I think tech will always somewhat be a male dominated industry. Even when I was working in IT tech support it was still very male dominated. My very first job was working at Apple Retail, I was the very first female to be in the role of a “Genius” in the Apple Retail store I was working at!


In the few years working in the software engineering field, I have witnessed companies that I’ve worked at trying to do more and improve the diversity within this field and I’ve seen more and more women in this field as well.



Q6) How do you manage the work-life balance in the tech industry?


I think being in a company / team that encourages work-life balance is just as important as trying to maintain a work-life balance yourself.

Luckily for me, I’m on a team that encourages that, and there isn’t a strict 9-5 working routine. If we wanted to work later in the evening and start a bit later in the day, that would be okay! If we wanted to start our weekend early and finish early on Friday and make up for it on Sunday, that is ok too!


I’ve always had the idea in my head that I have room in my brain to self-study / learn new technology in the evening after work, but in reality, it’s not always possible, and that has been something I have learned to be at peace with. Instead, I make sure that I put my personal development time at work to good use by learning new tech that we are using or a topic I am interested to know more about! 📖


I’m not sure I will ever get over the feeling of not knowing enough, but I remind myself daily how far I have come...

Julie making a pose in front of Harry Potter's Knight Bus.
Julie on her Harry Potter era :-D

Q7) What skills do you believe are most important in today's tech world?


Great communication skills are important, you need to be able to explain your code/problems you have to your colleagues that are technical / non technical.

Adaptability, the tech world is fast changing so being able to adapt to change and being open to learn is key.


Knowing when to ask for help, we all like to have the power of being able to solve all our problems by ourselves, but if you’ve spent a good couple of hours trying to solve the problem and you haven’t made much progress - it’s time to ask for help/advice! 💡



Q8) Can you share a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career? 

 

I would say changing careers would be one of my many (to come) accomplishments in my career 😉.


But in all seriousness, it wasn’t easy changing careers. You put any spare time you have into studying. I remember the late nights of completing work set by the bootcamp to staying up coding for the final project.


There’s also the transition of going from knowing how to do your job to not knowing anything about your job 🥲


I look back from where I was in 2021 to now and am proud to say I’ve definitely improved. 🤩


It’s never too late for a career change, no matter how old you are. You just have to make the first step!

Q9) What are your future goals, and where do you see the tech industry heading in the next few years?


After two years, I have recently been promoted at work to Mid level frontend software engineer - the junior title has been dropped!


So my goal right now is to continue building on my frontend knowledge skills, but also use this opportunity to also step up and mentor some junior members in my team!

As for the tech industry itself, we all know the world of AI has made its footprint into tech - you can’t avoid it! I’m keen to explore more of the tech that comes out of it and see where it takes us!



Q10) What advice would you give to other women considering a career in tech?


It’s never too late for a career change, no matter how old you are. You just have to take the first step! 🐾

If a career in tech is something that interests you, my advice would be to thoroughly explore this area. There are so many free courses available out there for you to sign up to. This is the best way to really see if this is something you want to do.

I think sometimes we focus on the fact that tech jobs get paid well, but you need to enjoy the challenges and the work that you face!

Debugging, problem-solving, and trying to work out where you missed the damn comma/semicolon can be frustrating and annoying! So you have to make sure this is the job for you.

Suppose it is, then great - it's time to make the first step! On that note, feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions! 😎



Q11) Let's continue the flow... who would you like to read on the Lovelace Series?


Saamiya Yousuf - Radiographer to Software Developer Apprentice

Trina Yau - Pharmacist to Software Engineer

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