Bianca is a software engineer at Auror who pivoted her career from marketing to engineering. We had a chat with Bianca to learn more about that journey, as well as how she’s finding her time here at Auror!
What was your career prior to becoming an Engineer?
Before working at Auror, I was a Marketing Manager in tourism, retail, and most recently at a tech company. When I started at university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my business degree. I made the honours roll for information systems in my first year (probably an early sign I would end up where I am now) but I couldn’t picture myself in the tech space. Upon reflection, this was probably because the only Software Engineers and IT professionals I knew of were mostly men, so as a young person I didn’t think I would find an affinity with the existing cohort.
I went to a careers counsellor at the university to help me decide on my majors. My strengths were communication and leadership, so the spaces that seemed to be a good fit were Marketing, PR, Communications and Management. So, I ended up majoring in Marketing and Economics.
Why did you decide to pivot your career?
I loved working in Marketing within the tech industry but I found myself becoming more and more curious about the tech itself. I found myself asking questions about how we dissect a problem, what the options were to deliver value, how to decide which solutions we implemented to deliver value to a broad range of customers, and how we could make these solutions scalable as the business grew. These questions increasingly led me to the software engineering and product teams, which is when I started to think about what a career in software could be like for me.
I became curious about coding and started to work through online courses outside of work. I was really enjoying self-learning and felt like I wanted to be able to devote more time to it, even wanting to do more of it daily. For me, this was the sign to leave my job and pursue retraining full-time.
As you reflect on your journey so far, do you have any key learnings to share? Do you have any tips to share for those who are thinking of switching careers?
The biggest thing I like to remind myself of in life is that who I have been and who I am now doesn’t determine who I can be in the future. I’m not sure where this came from but it’s always been my general outlook – the world is your oyster, as they say!
I was a born and bred big-city girl from Hong Kong, and grew up in Auckland. After university I wasn’t feeling settled so I put myself out there to try new things. I discovered snowboarding and moved to the regions near the mountains, which is still my happy place. I wouldn’t have discovered the love of snow if I had let myself be limited by the experiences in my upbringing.
In a similar way, I think many people think that they are limited to future career opportunities by what they have already achieved in the past. If you are considering a switch, I’d encourage you to view a new career as building on your existing skills and experience, rather than starting over. There are so many teams and companies out there (like Auror) that value life experience and are looking for curious people with a growth mindset who are engaged in what they do.
What has been the biggest highlight and challenge at Auror?
Honestly, the culture at Auror is amazing. There’s the shorter work weeks, wellness leave, and great guidelines they have in place to make work-life balance easier. What more could you ask for? Well, for me it’s a blameless culture, a team full of knowledgeable people willing to help others and a mission that makes a difference to our everyday lives. Auror ticks all these boxes for me.
I never thought that as a junior engineer I would have so many senior and principal engineers be so generous with their time. I’m never made to feel like any question is a waste of time, or that I should already know things and shouldn’t have to ask. This kind of environment allows me to focus on my work and upskilling myself instead of what others think about me and my ability.
The biggest challenge in my time at Auror was also the highlight of my experience so far because I got to experience the blameless culture first-hand. I had introduced my first bug into production (two in one week, to be precise) and I was so nervous! However, there was none of the dreaded eye rolling or exasperated sighs I was anxious about. I followed the processes as meticulously as I could, but sometimes the unexpected happens. I was soon reassured that this is all part and parcel of the job. We worked together as a team to implement mitigations that would make it easier for other engineers to avoid making the same mistake. Several engineers from other streams even took the time to check-in with me independently to make sure I wasn’t feeling discouraged.
I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing team making a difference in our communities, and I truly can’t wait to see what my future as an Auror holds!
Sound like a place you could learn and grow? Check out Auror's open roles.