Fostering and nurturing the next generation of innovation leaders is a core priority for us. Ensuring the development of exceptional software developers requires providing them with access to top-tier training and mentorship from industry-leading professionals.

In this article, Holly Craig, a software engineer and Earn & Learn mentor at WiseTech, recounts her journey into the tech industry and shares the joys of mentoring our Earn & Learn developers.

How did your career in software development begin?

Whilst I have always been interested in maths and technology, software development never occurred to me as a career path in high school. I actually arrived at university never having written a line of code. In fact, I choose an entirely unrelated degree in neuroscience, and it wasn’t until I picked up an elective coding subject on a whim that I realised this might be the path for me.

I tacked a computer science degree onto the back of my existing degree, and after a very long university education, and a year of experience as a Corporate Operations Engineer at Google, I landed a job as a software developer at WiseTech.

What motivated you to become a mentor for Earn & Learn students, and what do you enjoy most about the mentoring process?

I am really passionate about STEM education, and find it incredibly rewarding to see my mentees grow and learn. I have been lucky enough to have some incredible mentors myself in the past, and know how valuable having a mentor who cares about your career growth can be.

Can you describe a particularly rewarding experience you've had as a mentor to Earn & Learn students?

I was fortunate enough to be a tutor to some of the students in our first ever Earn & Learn cohort, and later on that year, a mentor to a few of the same students. I was able to see the students who, for some of them, had never written a line of code in their lives before joining the program, go from having zero programming knowledge, to later joining our team as a rotator and contributing meaningfully to the product we are building. I saw their confidence and appreciation of technology grow as they started to see how much impact they could have, even so early on in their careers.

What strategies do you use to help students stay motivated and engaged in their learning journey?

I think giving students context on the 'why' of tasks rather than just the 'what' is important. When they can relate the features they are building or the changes they are making back to the impact on the software and users, this becomes far more meaningful.

In your experience, how does mentoring contribute to the overall success and growth of students in the Earn & Learn program?

I think it fosters an environment where asking questions is encouraged, and their learning and career growth is prioritised. Knowing you have someone who is specifically checking in on you, and making sure you are continuously learning and growing as a software developer is incredibly valuable.