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Podcast: Season 1, Episode 11 Transcript (Laila, Full Stack Developer at AllSaints)

31 minute read

In Episode 11 of the THIS IS HOW podcast from Season 1, we spoke to Laila who works as a Full Stack Developer for AllSaints. You can listen to the episode here but for those who fancy a read, or might be hard of hearing, the full transcript is below.

Bwalya: You’re locked into THIS IS HOW, the podcast where we go behind the scenes to uncover the job roles shaping the most influential brands and companies in culture. For free content, resources and advice to kick start your dream career, as well as insider tips directly from our guests and industry experts, head to our website, at My name is Bwalya. I’m a freelance journalist and editor, the founder of women’s basketball collective called the Hackney Gazelles. And occasionally I like to DJ. 

Alex: My name is Alex and I’m a creative director and copyright working in sportswear and fashion, having previously co-founded the Daily Street and Crepe City magazine. Heads up: this episode has been recorded remotely over video call, so please excuse any bumps or background noise. On today’s episode, we’re meeting Laila Katumba, who works as a full stack developer at fashion brand AllSaints. So yeah. Laila, welcome to the podcast, little round of applause in our digital studio. 

Laila: Thank you for the applause. 

Bwalya: Yaay. Round of applause! Welcome, Laila. 

Laila: Thank you! 

Alex: Full Stack Developer at AllSaints. 

Laila: Yeah. 

Alex: What is a full stack developer? 

Laila: So a full stack developer is someone that takes care of the front end and back and side of things. So everything that you see on screen from designing to developing the interface. And also the backend, which is all about databases, gathering data to make sure that it’s just streaming in in the right places. So yeah, thats all of what all stack is, in a nutshell. 

Alex: Talk us through your job and what it actually involves being a developer for both front and back end. 

Laila: So AllSaints is a fashion company. So what we work on is creating software applications for clients, making sure that it looks good and it’s user friendly and it’s usable and all of that. And then we also make sure that the functionality works well for our clients, especially clients that want to buy into AllSaints products in bulk. 

Alex: And when we’re talking clients, are we talking, like, customers going on the website and buying stuff? Who are these clients? 

Laila: So these clients are retailers. So whether ASOS might need a bulk of AllSaints clothes on their site or House of Fraser, a lot of these outlets that store our brand in their companies. Everyone has a different team, but I look after that side of things. But there are developers that look after the website and actual customers that actually buy products from the website. 

Alex: Excuse my lack of knowledge here, but I hear developer and I think someone who does code. That’s basically it, so like a really basic description (laughs). 

Laila: I mean, yeah, in a sentence, basically that’s it (laughs). 

Alex: OK, so give us an idea what kind of stuff you’d be building at AllSaints, then, for these clients. 

Laila: So we just build software applications. So for example, they would log into the software that we create for them. They’ll have login credentials. And then, from their perspective, they just see the quantity that they want to purchase in bulk, the clothes that they want to choose as well, the type of products they want, and that’s how they, kind of, communicate with us. And it just makes it so much easier. There are like party softwares outside of the company that offer those services. But we wanted everything to be in-house and we built it from scratch, especially because it saves costs as well. We always try to innovate things ourselves. And that’s why I love being a developer at AllSaints, because it really gives you the freedom to think about what you want to also bring to the company. 

Alex: That’s cool. So you can pitch ideas up as well. 

Laila: Yeah, the culture there is just really cool and everyone’s just open to new things. 

Bwalya: And is that based out of, like, a hierarchy thing? How long have you been there? 

Laila: So, I’ve been there about a year now. But my managers always told me, from when I started, like, “don’t be too shy to talk about things that you think should change in the business or any ideas that you think would be good.” 

Laila: If you don’t mind me asking, a year in the company, you get to, like, pitch up to people. How old are you? 

Laila: I’m twenty three. So yeah. 

Bwalya: Come on Laila. Let’s go!

Laila: It’s crazy though, because I feel like with being a developer, if you work really hard you can be a senior at, like, twenty five, d’you know what I mean? 

Bwalya: Fab! 

Laila: Yeah, it doesn’t really matter what age you are, as long as you work hard. I’ve seen a lot of people that are my age or just a few years older than me that are in senior roles just because of their work ethic. 

Alex: So give us an overview of your day to day then. 

Laila: So the process would be like, obviously I would come in, sit down, look at my emails, and then I would work with my senior developer. So as a junior developer, you always have a senior developer. And they basically help you, they train you, they support you. And like, they’ll give you tasks and it’s like they’re your buddy. If you’re stuck with any problems, if your code breaks and you just need it fixed, they can just advise you on what to do. So it’s having that support there. Because as a junior, you’re quite, like, I wouldn’t say new, but you’re kind of thrown into the deep end. But it’s good to have that senior developer to guide you along the way. 

Alex: That’s good. 

Laila: Yeah. So I’ll be with my senior developer most of the time. In the morning, we have a stand up, which basically means, so it’s an agile team. So, agile is basically when you’re working in a certain way with your team to make sure that you’re always adapting to new changes within the business. So it’s like, if you have a project and you have a fixed deadline, the agile methodology is about being willing to adapt to different changes that happen in the business, even though you’re doing things in a certain way. And obviously that works amazingly with fashion because fashion is always changing. Customer’s preferences are always changing as well. So, yeah, we would have a stand up and then we’ll talk about what we did yesterday, what we did today, and if there’s any issues that we’ve had with any projects that we’re working on. And then we’ll just discuss that in our morning meeting. And then…

Alex: Every day that meeting? 

Laila: Every morning for, like, ten minutes. 

Alex: OK, it’s not an intense one. 

Laila: Yeah, it’s just like a “what’s everyone doing today”, quickly. 

Alex: You mentioned ‘agile’ a couple of times. It’s a term I’ve heard thrown around in tech quite a bit. Is it quite a common thing as a developer? You’re going to come across this? Is this the kind of thing where if someone thinks, “this sounds really interesting, I want to get into it”… Should they go and read up on agile and be aware of it before trying to get jobs, etc.? 

Laila: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s one hundred percent a term that you should know, because most companies work in an agile way. And yeah, I think it’s even impressive to see that someone knows about that sort of methodology. So yeah, like, if you’re in an interview and you’re applying for developer role, definitely mentioned agile. 

Alex: A little name drop, yeah? (laughs). 

Laila: Literally (laughs).

Bwalya: Even if you don’t know what it means, just say it. 

Laila: Yeah (laughs). Common sense. 

Bwalya: Common sense. “I work in an agile way.”

Alex: What would you say are the most important bits of software that you’re working with day to day, then? 

Laila: Visual Studio Team Services. So, we use that to just streamline, like, what we’ve put out to production, if that makes sense. So if we do a certain project and we’re saving the project, it’s done, it’s ready to be pushed to the cloud… So we would use things like Google Cloud Services. We would just use any sort of cloud based services to keep pushing all of our software releases to production. And then we’ll work on new projects and we’ll keep going through that cycle. And that’s basically called the software development cycle. So it’s like we have these different environments. So we have a testing environment where, when we work on projects, we’re just testing things out and making sure things work. And then we have a development environment where we just work on things, where we’re just experimenting with things. So it’s nothing that’s going to go into production yet, but it’s just something where we can play around with things. And then there’s a production environment where, “OK, everything’s done, we’re going to push it to production, it’s ready to go live”, basically. And that’s kind of how the whole software development cycle works. 

Alex: So you mentioned the cloud quite a lot there. 

Laila: Yeah. 

Alex: The whole vibe of 2020 has been working from home. So is this the kind of job that you can easily do remotely? Is that quite common or does everyone need to be together and be able to see the screens? 

Laila: So, yeah, it’s a very remote working job. Like, a lot of people do like to work with the team in person, but depending on the company as well, if they give you that flexibility to work from home, which I think most tech companies do, yeah, you have the flexibility to literally make the same effort at home. And there’s a lot of developers in AllSaints that our team works with that work literally remotely from home 24/7. And they live in a whole different country or, like, area in the UK. 

Alex: OK, that’s cool. So where you live isn’t really like a barrier in terms of this job role? 

Laila: Yeah, literally. And I remember when I watched a YouTube channel of a guy that has so much experience in development – over 10 years – and he literally moved to a country in Asia, but he still has his clients all around the world, but he’s just living his best life. So, yeah, like, I feel like once you get up the ladder in software development, you have so many opportunities to just be flexible and have the freedom to work the way you want to work. 

Alex: I feel like this is a really good future proofed industry. 

Laila: Yeah (laughs). 

Bwalya: Freedom, we like that. What kind of salary are we talking in terms of a bracket, sort of? You don’t have to tell us your exact salary, we’re not that nosy! But d’you want to give people like an idea of what you can expect to earn as a junior software developer? 

Laila: I think it depends on the company you work for. But as a junior level developer, I think it would range from as small as 20k to sometimes even 40k, depending on the company. 

Bwalya: Rah. 

Alex: That’s nice. 

Laila: The range is really in the range is really huge. Like if you…

Bwalya: Alex perked up. “Hmm, that’s nice.”

Alex: (Laughs), junior, yeah? Looks like I picked the wrong industry. 

Laila: Yeah. But it all depends on the company. Like, if they’re really doing well, especially start ups. I feel like a lot of people need to try and apply for start-up companies. I feel like, you don’t always have to go for the companies that are popping all the time. 

Bwalya: Yeah, the bait thing. 

Laila: Literally. Sometimes it’s the start ups that are doing really well. And then once you see that they’ve grown so much and you’re in the company, like, you’ll just earn double your salary. So, yeah, don’t sleep on the start-up companies. 

Bwalya: Wow. Advice. 

Alex: Good tactic, good tactic. 

Laila: Yeah. Because they worked really hard as well. They give you so much responsibility, like, I’ve seen some of my friends work for start companies and they get paid quite a lot. 

Bwalya: Coding isn’t necessarily something that’s widely taught in schools. What made you interested to then go to… Like, did you go to uni? What happened? And how did you get there and into thinking, “oh, this is my direction. “

Laila: Yeah, so I feel like the way I, kind of, started out was in college. So I did computing. I tried out the course. My mom was just like, “oh, I think you should try computing, because you’re good with computers.”

Bwalya: Shout out your mom. Big shout outs to your mum, right now. 

Laila: (Laughs). But literally, when she said that, it’s only because I done, like, one-two things that anyone can do for her. But yeah, you know how mums are, but yeah. 

Alex: You helped me with my Facebook page, you should go and work in computers (laughs). 

Laila: Literally (laughs)! But yeah, that convinced me enough. So I literally did it at A-levels, but I… I wouldn’t say I hate it. I really liked it. But I think because I was, like, the only girl. It was only two girls, I think, in the whole of our class. And I feel like that, kind of, intimidated me a little bit. So yeah, I didn’t really do well in college, but then I was still motivated to do it in uni. So I studied computer science with AI, and I did well in that. So yeah, I feel like I just didn’t want to back down, especially because there’s not a lot of girls in tech, and especially black females in tech. So I really wanted to, like, you know, step into that gap and just be an inspiration to other people that look like me. 

Alex: You’re damn right. 

Laila: So, yeah, I just kept going on. 

Bwalya: Oh, my God, I’m your biggest fan. That was the perfect answer. Everyone give her her crown. Let’s just finish the podcast here. So you went and studied it at uni, and obviously, like you said, there is such a low amount of black women within tech, but you persevered and now you’re killing it at work. But what were some of the courses that you did? And what’s some of the advice, I think, that maybe you would give to someone who was in that field or in that environment at university? Because I think what you did with, maybe like, your transition to your internship, Alex and I were discussing. Not a lot of people know that you should do a placement. And I think we often forget that you should do a placement. I would have killed for a placement, but we didn’t know those things.

Alex: It’s advice we’ve got on this podcast before. If you’re going to do a degree, find one that does a year in industry, which I wish someone had told me before my degree because it is so true. 

Laila: Yeah, it’s literally the best advice you could give because, yeah. That’s something that I luckily did, and it’s really helped shape my career so far. And yeah, you just get to actually have that experience because anyone can have a degree. But then when you have that experience there to help you, it really makes a difference. So yeah, I would definitely recommend it to anyone. But at the same time, I’ve had friends that haven’t done a placement yet and they’ve still, especially on the tech side of things, they still work on their own personal projects and that’s helped them to find jobs. So yeah.

Alex: I guess it’s all about being active outside of that degree itself, right? 

Laila: Yeah. Literally. 

Alex: So if you’ve got the willpower and the self-control to do it without a year in industry, that’s good. And at the same time for other people, it’s good to get out of that uni environment, and go and put that knowledge to use in the industry for a bit. 

Laila: Yeah. And I feel like one thing I would have advised myself if I could go back, I would actually make sure that I code in my spare time during uni, because I didn’t do any of that. 

Alex: It’s a common story (laughs). 

Laila: Literally (laughs). After three or four years of being in uni, not coding as much, I feel like I would be in a whole different position so, well, for anyone that’s in uni that’s studying a tech-related course, definitely code at least an hour a day. Just see how you get on, because it will really make a difference. 

Alex: Do you have to do a degree? Is there much value to it? 

Laila: Yeah, I feel like you don’t have to. I feel like a lot of companies and recruiters would like to see the projects that you’ve built yourself. Like, you could have done a law degree, but then you code so much in your spare time and you have a great portfolio compared to someone that studied computer science with no projects. So I feel like you don’t necessarily need a degree, but it also depends on the company because sometimes they’re strict and they’ll be like, “yeah, you need a master’s, you need a graduate degree in computer science”. But some companies are really open to that, so like, I think Monzo is a great example, because they even… if you were to go on careers on Monzo, they’ll show you that a lot of the employees don’t have anyone that has a degree background whatsoever. But they just coded in their spare time, and yeah (laughs).

Bwalya: That’s really cool. 

Alex: They coded their way in. 

Laila: Literally! 

Alex: Yeah yeah. 

Bwalya: There are tutorials and quizzes for you to get involved in on, and you can figure out if maybe a career in coding or software development, like Laila’s, is something for you. So check out 

Bwalya: What led you to AllSaints? 

Laila: So, I started off as an intern at ASOS during uni and that, kind of, helped me to work in the fashion industry. And then, after finishing my internship and graduating, when I applied for jobs, I think it was quite, I wouldn’t say easy, but it was quite a good path for me because I already had experience in the fashion industry. So I think they saw my CV. They saw that I know how to work in a fashion business in terms of tech. And I think that’s one of the reasons why they considered me. So, yeah. So I feel like I’ve taken the route of going through the fashion route, which has been really cool because I love clothes and I like tech and fashion together. I think it’s a really cool mix. So it’s been a cool journey so far. 

Alex: And was that always planned as your journey? Did you set out adamant you were going to get a job in the fashion industry or is it just what happened? 

Laila: Yeah, literally, it just happened, because I applied for my internship a day before the deadline. So I didn’t really take it seriously (laughs). 

Bwalya: Cutting it fine, babe! 

Alex: Yeah, a proper “why not!”. 

Laila: Literally, I just apply for any sort of company that I thought was interesting, so I didn’t really mind what route I’d take as long as it’s an interesting role. But yeah, I guess, you know, everything happens for a reason, so I just fell into that route. There’s so much creative opportunities in tech. So whatever industry you go into really, like, there’s always an opportunity for you to create your own ideas and develop your own solutions to problems. 

Alex: Talk to us about, like, that year in industry and how important it was, and then also how that helped you get a job after. 

Laila: Yeah, my placement has definitely helped me to be where I am today. So after applying and even the process of getting an interview, I made sure I went on YouTube and saw people that I’ve interned before and just got as much advice as possible. And then, even maybe previous interns ASOS, I feel like, definitely do your research. Glassdoor is the best resource for looking at how the structure of the interview was to prepare you for it. 

Alex: What’s Glassdoor, sorry?

Laila: So Glassdoor is kind of like indeed and Google jobs, so they just list different jobs from different companies. But what’s great about Glassdoor is that they have a review section where you can give the company feedback or…

Bwalya: Oh my God, I love this. I love this so much. I love Glassdoor.

Laila: So honestly, I think it’s probably… 

Bwalya: People’ll get very, very honest. 

Laila: Yeeah. Literally. But yeah, they have an interview section where it shows you the process. When I’ve applied for jobs before I would always look at other interns that worked there. And then they’ll tell me, OK, so this is the first stage, this is the second and this is the third. So that will help them prepare you. So I did a lot of research around that when applying for jobs, and then towards the interview, I just made sure I read a lot about the company and the culture, as well. It’s important to read about the culture of the latest things that’s going on to show that you’re so interested in the company, and yeah, just being really organised. Because even though as students, it’s like, obviously with a retail job, it’s kind of easier to get a job there. But when it’s a company, you really need to do a lot of research and, you know, talk about your life and where you want to be in, like, five years. So having that knowledge beforehand really helps you to prepare you for the interview. 

Alex: I love how deep it sounds like you researched them as well. 

Laila: Yeah. 

Alex: That’s good advice. And also, I guess if you’re nervous in those situations, that’ll really help calm those anxieties in advance. Know what’s upcoming, right?

Laila: Even with nervousness as well, like, just always see it… because the way I see it, I feel like if I’m in an interview and I want to get a job somewhere, I always see the person as a potential colleague. So, not like they’re intimidating me. Because they would probably be your colleague, because you sit with your potential manager and one of your, like, colleagues. So, having that sort of mindset really relaxes you. And I think most companies just want you to be yourself. And I feel like in the tech sort of world, everyone’s really laid back and they have these, like, funny tech jokes. So everyone’s really chilled, so just be yourself and bring your best self. Having a placement has really given me so much confidence. Like, even just talking in front of directors about a project that we’re working on. Because that’s what they’ll, kind of, use you to do as an intern sometimes. They’ll just… At least for you to be knowledgeable about what’s going on and present a small piece of the work. It really helps you to be confident, because I was so, like, shy during my internship, because I’ve never worked around so many people before. And now it’s really helped me build my confidence, just being around people and talking in front of people and presenting, and stuff like that. So, yeah, I would definitely recommend working in a placement. 

Bwalya: Oh, that’s cool. 

Laila: Yeah. 

Alex: Shout out to those managers as well, that push people to help you grow. 

Bwalya: What do you think the most important pieces of software that yourself and your team use, that you would give other people advice to get started on right now? 

Laila: I would say Visual Studio Code. I think it’s one of the best softwares out there just to start coding. A lot of people love it. And you can just code in any sort of language on there. That is, there’s no particular language. You can just code anything on there. 

Laila: And also Slack. I feel like knowing your way around Slack, because a lot of companies use Slack as a way to communicate. 

Bwalya: True. 

Alex: No-one… I don’t think anyone has name-dropped Slack on this podcast to date, and yet every company I’ve worked with, it’s there. That’s a really good one. If you’ve not found yourself on Slack yet, download it. It’s free. Play around with it and maybe sign up to a Slack channel. 

Bwalya: Work WhatsApp. 

Alex: Yeah, it is the work Whatsapp, isn’t it, yeah. Work Discord. 

Bwalya: But it’s really good for sending images. I think. Right, Laila? 

Laila: Defo. 

Bwalya: Like, very big document files are able to be set on it and I think WhatsApp has now changed their formatting of WhatsApp. You can now drop documents into WhatsApp, which I think is them trying to keep up the Slack because… 

Alex: Trying to get in on that work market. 

Laila: Because I feel like with WhatsApp, the pictures come out bad quality after you download it. 

Bwalya: Terrible. 

Alex: Oh, yeah, yeah. 

Laila: With Slack, it keeps it the same. Even if you use it with friends, because I even use a personal Slack with my friends when we work on stuff together. But yeah, I think those two would be really good. And I think it’s good to look at some Tech news pages so that you know what’s going on. Even with, like, terms like agile or whatever’s going on in the industry, just to show that you’re interested and you know about-. 

Bwalya: Ooh, what tech magazines are reading? Cute.

Alex: Give us the best ones. 

Laila: Um, like other really to be fair, this is advice to myself (laughs).

Alex: Is it, you’re about to tell us you don’t read any (laughs)? 

Laila: I don’t, I just haven’t started yet, but I really need to. 

Bwalya: We found a scammer. Yeah, Laila, not a scam queen. 

Alex: What tech magazines would you recommend to yourself then? 

Laila: I think Wired. I dunno if you heard of Wired?

Alex: Yeah, yeah. No TechCrunch?

Laila: Oh yeah, and TechCrunch. Yeah. Yeah. 

Alex: That’s a little point for me there, little name drop (laughs).

Bwalya: Beyond your university lectures, what were some of the resources that you use to, kind of, level up and, sort of, understand the whole course? 

Laila: So, I used Udemy. So it’s one of those online courses or websites that provide… And what I love about Udemy is that usually they price things, like, at a hundred, but then they have these crazy cells and it’s just ten, fifteen pound. And you can literally learn anything on there, not just tech. Anything you want to learn. And YouTube. YouTube’s the number one place, especially if you’re someone that gets bored easily of like those thirty hour courses and you just want to learn a thing in an hour, YouTube’s the best way to learn. 

Alex: It feels like this industry’s got quite a lot of alternative learning, if you will, with short courses, longer courses, free information on YouTube, all that kind of stuff. Why do you think that is for this industry? 

Laila: I feel like a lot of people want to just help other people learn. And that’s why there’s so many free courses like Codecademy and all these different coding sort of free courses, because it’s so easily accessible. Because I feel like everyone just wants to collaborate. It’s such a like community-based industry where we help each other solve problems. And there’s a website called Stack Overflow, which is something that you would get to know if you want to start coding. And it’s just a place where, say if you have an issue with your code, you can just type it in, and someone’s resolved it on there for you. So, yeah, I feel like the community is a very, like… It’s a great community where we all share each other’s projects. And there’s also a website called GitHub where everyone posts projects on there. People extend other people’s projects; it’s a very collaborative, sharing sort of environment. 

Bwalya: We’ll collate all these together with Laila’s fabulous choices. And if you want to find out more about the software Laila just mentioned, as well as all of the other relevant tech sites to visit, go to and you can find a full comprehensive list of all of the cute moments that Laila just said. 

Alex: Is there, like, any specific people, mentors that helped you along the way? 

Laila: I feel like my manager at ASOS really helped me. I wouldn’t know where I’d be without her. Like, she was like an old sister, basically. Like, she’ll just make sure that I’m on top of things and because I work hard under pressure – I’m one of those people that worked hard under pressure – she really just made sure that, you know, I’m doing what I need to be doing. So I feel like she really helped me alongside that and especially my team, because as a junior or intern, you always have a senior developer that helps you along your way. 

Alex: So is it quite common to find those mentors in this industry, kind of, within the teams you’re working in? 

Laila: Yeah, so I feel like it depends on the company. Again, like, sometimes they’ll provide you as a mentor or a buddy to help you, even just around the office and just get you settled in. But yeah, there’s always someone there to help you. Definitely. 

Alex: Let’s move on to your mentorship programme. Code Collabs. 

Laila: Oh, yeah. 

Alex: There’s a solid plug. “Oh, yeah.” (laughs). 

Laila: Code Collabs (laughs)! 

Alex: “Oh yeah, that thing I set up, yeah!” Tell us about what’s called collabs. 

Laila: So Code Collabs is a, sort of, coding community of people that just want to learn to code. If you’re someone that is a complete beginner or you are knowledgeable about coding and coded before, but you just want to be a part of it. So it’s literally for everyone, whatever skill level you’re on, and it’s just a way to create a safe space for people to just learn, and learn from each other. And, yeah, just network, most of all, as well. And a part of the mentorship programme was just designed to help, especially a lot of black ethnic minorities, not just black ethnic minorities, but just mostly focussed on that just because of the lack of black ethnic minorities in tech. So we centred it around that so that we’ve helped a lot of black people that have no experience in tech to be mentored by someone just to help them pave the way for their potential career. 

Bwalya: That is so cool, Laila. 

Laila: Yeah, and some people mentor like once a week. So I have two mentees and I catch up with them once every two weeks. But yeah, it’s really good because you can see how, you know, being that accountability partner to them really makes them want to learn and seeing that you’re someone that’s inspiring them; they want to be where you are, it really motivates them. A lot.

Bwalya: I mean, what is the quote; you cannot be what you cannot see? 

Laila: Wow, that’s a really good quote.

Bwalya: You were talking about the hundred days of coding, I believe. And I think it was something to do with LeetCode, which I found really interesting. Pay attention, guys. Laila has all the actual hacks. 

Laila: So basically there’s a website called LeetCode, which is, kind of, a coding exercise website that allows you to find different interview sort of questions for companies. So they’ll literally have a Google interview technical task for you to do. So, something similar to what they’ve done before. So it seems like these sort of developers, or people that are a part of that organisation, get different questions that are quite common from different companies like Amazon, Google, all these big companies, and it just helps you to continue to train. So it can prepare you for the technical interview that you’ll probably, most likely, have on any sort of developer job. I haven’t actually started on that yet, but I’m definitely going to because I know that that’s a key to getting through and getting a job. Twitter has a hundred days of code hashtag, which basically allows you to code something a day. So I used it during lockdown to build websites from scratch. And it’s really helped me to just be motivated. And because everyone’s, kind of, looking at the progress you’re making, it kind of makes you want to keep doing it and focus on it and not lose track of it. So, yeah, one hundred days of code is definitely a great way if you’re ever lacking in motivation, but want to keep coding. Definitely be a part of that. 

Alex: This is where we get to do the mini CV that you’ve kindly filled out for us. OK, so name (laughs). We always read this out, as if people are going to get it wrong. Laila. Yep. Correct. Oh, personal touch, no surname. 

Bwalya: Oooh, like Beyonce. 

Alex: Just the forename. 

Laila: No government name (laughs). 

Alex: (Laughs) yeah, no government name.

Alex: Socials: we’ve got options here. Nice. Right, Insta: LailaNassali. Am I saying that right? 

Laila: Yeah. 

Alex: Cool. Twitter: LailaCodes. And YouTube as well. First person to give us a YouTube. Laila Nassali again. N A S S A L I. Career highlight:

Bwalya: “My career highlight would be working at ASOS as a software engineer intern. I had a great experience working there and it’s moulded me into the developer and person that I am today.” Pew, pew, pew! Thanks ASOS, you’ve been cute!

Laila: Thanks ASOS. 

Alex: All right, best failure. I’ll take this one then. 

Bwalya: Did the damn thing for our girl. 

Alex: Yeah. Yep. Best failure: “my best failure would be coding all day long just to realise I have so many errors that I need to resolve, and then spending my whole day looking up on Google why my code doesn’t work, lol”. I didn’t even see that as a funny failure, my heart died reading that (laughs). It’s soul crushing. I could feel the pain!

Laila: That’s literally everyone’s story. 

Bwalya: Why should we hire you? Al, you take it.

Alex: Ok, here we go: “I’m fun to be around and I’m always down for a quick stroll to the pub after work. “

Bwalya: Oh my God, hired. 

Alex: Done. 

Bwalya: Wow (laughs). I’m a simple woman to please. Stroll to the pub? Fab. 

Alex: You’ve researched our office culture (laughs). 

Laila: Literally. 

Bwalya: You really get me! 

Laila: You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW, created Nominet and Livity, your essential resource for finding a path into digital careers at the companies you love. Head over to our website, at to listen to more episodes, find the industry role more suited to you and discover free training to help you get the job you want. 

Bwalya: Yes, Everyone really gets into it. By the second paragraph, everyone’s a professional. It’s fab. I love it. 

Laila: The best first podcast I’ve ever been on, so thank you. 

Alex: I’ll take that. I will take that. 

Bwalya: I’ll pay you later. Laila (laughs).