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Marika Ferrari: from Archaeology to Full Stack Developer

Social media handle(s): Linkedin

A few words about me:

Professional photograph of Marika wearing a colorful cardigan.

I have a background in Archaeology, and my passion for history and culture is an integral part of who I am.

I'm currently studying coding at a bootcamp, and in my free time, I'm working on crocheting a queen-size blanket (I’ll probably finish the bootcamp before completing the blanket!).

I also enjoy yoga and baking, and I'm a huge fan of GOT.

Are there any professional experiences you've had that are quite unexpected compared to what you do nowadays?

In past, I had a rather unusual professional experience compared to what I do nowadays. I used to work as an Archaeologist in Italy, where I was part of an organisation dedicated to preserving engravings from the Copper and Iron Age in Val Camonica (North of Italy). It was a fascinating journey into history and culture that I still cherish.

Is your background more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or non-STEM related?

My background is a mix of both STEM and non-STEM. While Archaeology is rooted in humanities and cultural studies, I also expanded my knowledge by taking courses in physics, chemistry, and archaeometry both throughout my educational and professional journey.

Where did your professional journey start?

My professional journey in tech began with my educational background in Archaeology, where I developed a deep appreciation for history and culture. It was during this time that I gained valuable skills and knowledge that eventually led me to embark on a coding journey.

How did you get into tech and what motivated you?

My journey into the tech world began during my time as an Archaeologist when I started to realise how technology could greatly enhance archaeological research and the preservation of historical artefacts. This realisation motivated me to explore the connection between technology and culture further.

The more I delved into it, the more I became fascinated by the many possibilities technology offered in terms of understanding and safeguarding our cultural heritage. This became a strong motivation for me to transition into the tech field. I saw it as an opportunity to use my skills and passion for history to create a meaningful impact by utilising technology in innovative ways.

Have you experienced any 'career in tech' challenges / stereotypes?

I consider myself lucky as I haven't personally faced notable difficulties yet. However, I understand that the tech industry, like many others, has its own set of challenges and stereotypes that can affect individuals differently. This is why I strongly believe in the importance of fostering diversity and inclusivity within the industry to guarantee that everyone has fair chances and experiences.

"... realising that your voice matters is an incredible and empowering feeling."

What you wish you knew before getting started in tech...

Surprisingly, I've discovered several similarities between Archaeology and the tech world. In both fields, the importance of continuous learning, staying up to date with the latest developments, and building a robust professional support system through networking are fundamental.

What has been your biggest 'wow!' moment related to working in tech so far?

My biggest 'wow!' moment in my tech journey has been the incredible support and sense of community that I'm currently experiencing. The encouragement and guidance from fellow learners, mentors, and women in tech communities have been truly inspiring.

One particular highlight that will always stay with me is the fantastic support I received from CodeWomen when I needed some love and motivation. They offered me the opportunity to interview for their community, and realising that your voice matters is an incredible and empowering feeling.

What do you like / not like about working in tech?

What I like about working in tech is the ever-evolving nature of the industry. It keeps me engaged and motivated to learn and adapt continuously. I also appreciate the incredible potential for innovation and the vast opportunities to make a positive impact on people's lives. However, there is still much work to be done in terms of diversity and inclusivity. The lack of representation in certain areas is a challenge, and it's vital that we continue to strive for a more inclusive and equitable industry.

"Technology is ever-evolving, and having a community to learn and grow with can be invaluable. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for help when needed, as it can make all the difference on your path to success in the tech world."

What's been your favourite / most memorable / funniest 'career in tech' moment so far?

Let me share the funniest moment I've experienced so far. A few weeks ago, I participated in an exciting hackathon focused on databases, and the synergy within the team was fantastic. What added to the amusement was one of my team mates who had a plush dog, which also doubled as a water bottle (!), and it became our hackathon mascot!

We decided to draw inspiration from our mascot and built an extensive database about dogs. Being a huge dog enthusiast, the combination of doing serious database work while having fun with our dog-themed project was truly unique and remains a cherished memory in my tech journey.

And to wrap up, is there any advice you'd like to give to others interested in a career in tech?

My advice to those interested in pursuing a career in tech is to recognise that this journey is not one you should face alone. Having a support system is fundamental. Seek out mentors, join tech communities, and build a network of like-minded individuals who can provide guidance, encouragement, and knowledge.

Technology is ever-evolving, and having a community to learn and grow with can be invaluable. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for help when needed, as it can make all the difference on your path to success in the tech world.


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