Hi Kathrin! Tell us about yourself and what you do at Klarna 👋
My name is Kathrin and I am a 29-year-old businesswoman-turned-developer. I originally studied International Business and later added a Master in Sustainability on top of that. After working in Finance for a while, I quit my job, did a nine-week coding boot camp and finally got accepted for the Engineering Graduate Program at Klarna.
What I love most about the Grad Program is the fact that we get to experience various different perspectives of the company. I am currently doing an exchange in a new team, for instance, where I get to learn about completely new aspects of the coding language I am using. After three months in the new team, I will be able to go back to my original team and incorporate everything I’ve learned into my work there.
How come you decided to change careers?
After having studied business and sustainability, I started my career as a business analyst and later transitioned into a finance role. Yet the longer I worked in the field, the more I got the feeling that I needed a job that gave me more freedom to build stuff and be creative. I always loved using my logical thinking skills to analyse data and trends, but the creative part of my brain was feeling a little left out. Speaking to friends who were working as software developers confirmed the hunch that coding may be just the right thing for me as it perfectly combines the logical and creative parts of the brain. I decided to do a boot camp to jump-start my transition into the big wide world of tech, but also to see if coding would end up being something that I enjoyed. To my own surprise, I loved every second of it and continued teaching myself after the boot camp was over.
I eventually found the Grad Program advertised on Klarna’s website and thought it would be the perfect place for me to continue my coding journey. The program allows me to learn from more experienced developers in a company that prides itself on the irregular career paths of its employees. What better place to start a new job as a career switcher?
What’s your first memory from coding?
My first interaction with the coding world was in 2019 when I joined some events with an initiative to help minorities get into tech. Sadly, women count as a minority in this field and so I was able to join a couple of sessions where experienced developers would help anybody who was interested with their problems in coding. As I had never coded before, I was following a basic course about HTML and CSS, two languages that are often recommended as a starting point to get into coding. To be completely honest, I did not really understand what I was doing at all and stopped going after a handful of times. Looking back, I believe that I was missing a more structured and basic approach to explaining everything in a bit more detail. If anybody is ever in a similar situation, I really recommend exploring a couple of different ways of learning as not everybody comprehends these concepts in the same way.
What is the most fun thing about your job? Most challenging?
The best part about coding is definitely when you’ve been trying to do something for a very long time and it finally works out the way you want it to! I’ve experienced the profession of software development to be something of a rollercoaster ride, with very extreme highs but also some intense lows. Rarely does something work out just the way you intend it to on the first try. Sometimes it really is a game of trial and error and so it takes some time to make it work perfectly. However, that moment when you reload the webpage and everything shows up beautifully really is a moment of joy. On the other hand, it is easy to forget to work through a problem in a structured and logical way when something is not working. Staying calm and reminding yourself to understand the problem step by step can be challenging at times.
Tips for other women who want to get a career as a developer/engineer?
Try some of the free resources online to get a feel for if coding is something you would enjoy. But don’t fret if you don’t understand the complex logic that some coding languages are built on. Teaching yourself is hard and definitely not for everyone. I only really understood many concepts when I was in week two or three of the boot camp and had a teacher that I could ask all my questions to.
My personal favourite way to learn was definitely the boot camp I enrolled in. If you can spare the time and money, I would definitely recommend it as a starting point. It will not only provide you with explanations from the ground up and a teacher to clarify difficult concepts but also provide you with a community of peers who are trying to learn the same things. There will inevitably be a time when you are frustrated with your progress, so having a group of people to share those experiences with can make it easier in the long run.
Learning how to code, especially as a girl, can be quite tough and lonely. The tech world is unfortunately still a male-dominated industry and there are a lot of very talented developers out there. Sadly, this setup makes it very easy to feel like an imposter when starting out. You are not alone though – I’ve heard very senior developers share their feelings of not belonging after years of working in the field. That’s why I think having a group of peers is so valuable and I would really encourage you to reach out to others to exchange your experiences.
Thank you Kathrin! Feel free to reach out to Kathrin on LinkedIn here 👋.