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Meet a Mentor: Leanna Lucas

Written by James Adams

Meet a mentor, Leanna Lucas

We are so incredibly happy to make this announcement and to have this interview. From completing our very first Full Stack Coding Bootcamp, Leanna has gone on to be an excellent member of the Norfolk coding community and an excellent advocate for women in tech. Leanna has been mentoring one of our current students and we are finally able to give you the low-down on why she stepped into this mentoring role with Tech Educators.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into a career in tech?

My background hasn't always been in tech. It's mostly been in customer service, relationship building and retail. I'd had enough of working myself to the bone for minimum wage, getting no appreciation for my work and going home feeling unfulfilled and tired. I've always had an interest in tech, whether that was gaming, editing or just spending lots of time creating different things on my's always been close to my heart. So when I heard a success story of a fellow woman who was making six figures in London as a Senior Developer and loving her job, I thought I would take the step to learn what a software developer does and what it means.

I started to learn code at home on my own in my free time and hadn't realised I was working in the same office as Tech Educators, until I introduced myself and to my surprise and delight, learnt that they taught code. After attending the one day coding taster sesssion, the 101 course, I fell in love with coding. It was so much more creative than I thought and I was actually having fun. The thought that I could do this for work got me so excited that I applied for the scholarship to study the full stack course. This led to me being awarded the scholarship, quitting my job and studying coding full time.

Since graduating from the course, I am now a Software Developer at Aviva and have fully immersed myself in the tech community here in Norwich. I've attended multiple conferences, panels and am an advocate for women in tech and want to make the community more diverse and inclusive.

What made you decide you wanted to give up your time to be a mentor?

Since joining the community, I've had so much help from different people with different tech backgrounds. They have helped me so much and without them I wouldn't be a software developer or have been granted the opportunities I have. I want to pave the gap of tech skills in the UK and we need to do this by creating more opportunities for students and graduates and I believe I can help do this by being a mentor. I want everyone to have the great experience I've had and to add to this fantastic community we are building here in Norfolk.

What advice were you given early in your career that has stuck with you?

Take action, step out of your comfort zone and don't be afraid to make mistakes. I'm so grateful for the mistakes I've made and can't wait for the ones to come because you learn so much from them.

What do you think you can bring to mentoring the next generation of tech talent?

I'm hoping I can bring a fresh perspective. I have just been through the exact experience the students and graduates are going through, I've done the interviews, the new role, the networking and really want to share what I've learnt and my experiences. I know how hard it can be and know how important it is to have someone to talk to, not just about tech skills and coding solutions but also that there are hard days and I will be there to talk through anything.

My experience working in customer service means talking to people and networking comes quite easy to me and I think I can share my knowledge of interviewing and connecting with people to help students stand out in their next ventures.

All of our graduates are placed with a mentor through their final stage of their bootcamp and into career, if you think you would like to support what we are doing, please do get in contact with us to be a mentor.

About the Author

James has 8 years with Fortune 200 US firm ITW, experience of managing projects in China, USA, and throughout Europe. James has worked with companies such as Tesco, Vauxhall, ITW, Serco, McDonalds. James has experience in supporting start-up and scale up companies such as Readingmate, Gorilla Juice and Harvest London. James completed his MBA at the University of East Anglia in 2018.

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