Woman in Tech of the Week – Jade Abbott
Name: Jade Abbott
Designation: Senior Software Engineer and Data Scientist
Company: Retro Rabbit
What do you do every day? Developing software and analysing data. I mostly develop backend systems, in a variety of languages, for a variety of sectors – golang is my current favourite programming language. In the past couple of years, I’ve been able to focus on machine learning – my true passion. I’ve been lucky enough to take a machine learning project from beginning to end – from wrangling data, to building machine models, analysing data, to building the scalable infrastructure. I love seeing my work in use! It’s the best feeling ever. When I’m not doing that I’m trying to teach people about machine learning – whether doing guest lectures, showing a CEO the impact it can make or sometimes helping enthusiasts get their hands dirty.
How did you get into the tech space? My dad, as a musician and general nerd, always had computer parts lying around. I was very young when he built me my first computer. I remember puzzling over the registry and wondering why my dad told me not to touch it and fiddling in hex editors to make the cat in that one game extra fluffy and pink. He also introduced me to science-fiction – everything from Star Trek to Isaac Asimov. My mother was a software developer before I was born so she always encouraged me to go into software anyways. I think I was 12 and I knew that I wanted to build my own artificial intelligence friend. I’d say I am one of the lucky ones
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? I was at an Anita Borg Retreat at Google a couple of years back and I was stressing about whether to pursue a career in academia or to carry on in industry. So I asked a Google developer a panel about which to do and she said “Don’t stress when making a decision between two good choices”. I can’t remember her name, but I’ll always remember what she said.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? In software development at least, the philosophy is to fail early and fail often. Try many things (ALL the things). Don’t be afraid if you don’t get it right the first time. Failure is part of the journey.
Surround yourself with people in tech. Go to meetups, hackathons and join the ZaTech slack. They are fun and friendly and there is loads of opportunity to learn
It’s possible to begin a degree in technology part-time while you’re working. Do it! If a degree is not an option – pick up a couple of courses.
Blog about your learnings: https://medium.com/@racheltho/why-you-yes-you-should-blog-7d2544ac1045
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? The opportunity to learn something new and the opportunity to build something cool.
Who do you want to be when you grow up? AAAH! hard question. These 3: Grace Hopper, Rachel Thomas, Patti Smith
Do you know an inspirational women in tech? Please get in touch with Robyn (email@example.com) to get her featured!
Do you want to sponsor Women in Tech ZA (our research, website and events around South Africa)? Please get in touch with Robyn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do you want to advertise to the Women in Tech ZA network? Please get in touch with Robyn (email@example.com).