Young Guns: Deepend net developer Alexandra Watson

By AdNews | 3 August 2017
Ally Watson

Our Young Guns profile takes a weekly look at some of the young talent across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

For our last Young Gun, we spoke with Columbus Brisbane group business director Tobey Bower.

This time we speak to Deepend net developer Alexandra Watson.

How long have you been in the industry? 

Approximately seven years

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Two years and six months

What were you doing before this job and how did you get this gig?

I was working at another digital agency in Melbourne and, prior to that, I was in Glasglow. I was looking for a new opportunity where I could extend my skills as a developer through working on various types of projects – from site to app developments. Deepend really attracted me as a workplace, not only because of the nature of the projects that they take on, but also the team culture and everyday operation of the business.

Define your job in one word:

Code

What were your real and cliché expectations of working in the industry?

That it’s a really competitive industry, and that you have to stand on your own two feet.

How does the reality match up?

I’ve been very lucky that at Deepend I have a boss and team that supports and nurtures me every day, pushing me to grow in and outside my role as a Developer.

How would you describe what the company does and what does your role involve?

Deepend is an independent digital agency based in Melbourne and Sydney. We work with clients across various industries to create digital solutions that will improve or better their customers’ lives. In my role as a .NET Developer, I work with the team to build cutting-edge, responsive web and mobile applications.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Collaboration

Any major hard learnings in the job so far?

You’ll come across people that are better than you, have more knowledge and experience…but (on your most difficult days) don’t compare yourself to others. Take the opportunity to get to know those people and learn from them.

If you had to switch over to another department, which would it be and why?

Probably the creative or new business department. I enjoy brainstorming and I’ve always had strong entrepreneurial tendencies.

What's exciting you about the industry right now?

Businesses and organisations are becoming more aware of the benefits and need for gender-balanced teams. It’s great that everyone’s starting to pay attention to this issue and that it is being addressed, bit by bit.

What concerns you about the industry and its future?

I feel that we’re still shying away from cultivating female tech talent from a young age and providing equal pathways to kickstart their careers. We’re heading towards a tech-focussed future and if we don’t take action now, we’re going to see a significant lack of professionals in Australia to meet the demands of the future.

Who's your right-hand person/who guides you day to day?

The team at Deepend – particularly my Managing Director, Kath Blackham – and the team at Code Like a Girl influence a lot of my career decisions. I’m constantly learning and picking up new skills from spending so much time with them.

And your almighty mentor that you hope to dethrone?

Not to dethrone, but hope to work with one day...that would be Linda Luikas, a Finnish programmer.

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in 2020 and how do you plan on getting there?

I’d love to concentrate on growing and scaling the social enterprise I founded, Code Like a Girl. We’re already doing a lot of exciting work in the tech-education and events space, inspiring a new generation of girls to acquire coding as a skill. By 2020, I want to have these workshops and events in every major city in Australia.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

Maintaining a gender-balanced workforce through plausible initiatives like parental leave, open salary policies and mentoring opportunities.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

For personal projects, usually Pinterest, but a lot of new ideas I have often come out of personal experiences and the events I attend.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I’m a big nature lover – I love camping, going on hikes and exploring new areas, but I’m terrified of spiders.

Favourite advert is:

‘Like A Girl’ by Always

What’s your personal motto?

Tiny tweaks make big changes.

I got into advertising because:

I love problem solving, but I’m also a creative at heart. I think tech is one of the most enjoyable ways to achieve this creatively. It’s so satisfying when you can tackle or fix a problem through code.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

An interior designer or party planner.

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