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Team Spotlight: From Co-op to Career

Madeleine Beach

Marketing Coordinator - 11 Feb, 2022

Nicole Peverley shares her experience joining the techworld and her journey to joining the development team at Shift.

CEO of Shift, Nadia Tatlow says “There are more women in tech than ever before. Although this is an exciting step forward for what’s typically known as a male-dominated industry, the truth of the matter is, female representation and participation in tech are still lacking significantly.” There is still a long way to go. According to Canada’s Gender Equity Roadmap – an October 2018 study of women in tech conducted by Women in Tech World – women make up 25% of the tech industry in Canada, with only 13% at executive levels.

According to a survey by Maru/Blue on behalf of SAP Canada, one of the most obvious barriers to women pursuing tech is the lack of role models. It is challenging to picture “you” in a tech role when you don’t see any “yous” doing it. With a lens trained on gender and inclusivity, more diverse role models are emerging. Today we talk to Nicole, the role model we all need.  Nicole is not only an amazing woman, who I feel lucky to know but she is an extremely talented Software Engineer working as a Full Stack Developer here at Shift. Shift remains committed to celebrating, educating, and empowering women in the world of STEM.

“It is imperative that we illustrate to young women that tech is for them, they can excel in it, and that their contributions are an integral part of the industry’s continued success.” - Jodi Kovitz, CEO of #movethedial

Meet Nicole

Nicole originally wanted to pursue Civil Engineering as she was extremely interested in design and architecture. Growing up she loved problem-solving and building “contraptions” to help her and her family accomplish tasks. Nicole says “One time I taped a “hot wheels” track to my walls so I could shoot a car to knock clothes into the laundry hamper”.  Finding simpler ways to do things caught Nicole's eye starting from a very young age. Fast forward 20 or so years and she finds herself working for Shift, a productivity desktop app bringing emails, apps, to-do lists, calendar, and much more into one simplified interface. If only six-year-old Nicole could see herself now! However, once in university Nicole quickly realized she loved programming and problem-solving ( with less math) which is when she decided to pursue Software Engineering rather than Civil Engineering.

Nicole found her way to Shift in 2018 when she stumbled upon a job posting for Shift’s Quality Assurance Specialist/Customer Support on The University of Victoria’s co-op job posting board.After her time in Customer Support with Shift Nicole headed back to her full-time university studies, knowing her time with Shift wasn’t over and she would be back in the future.When the time came for her second co-op Stew [Director of Development] and Michael [Director of Product]  immediately reached out to Nicole offering her a co-op this time as a Full Stack Developer. Nicole worked periodically with Shift for three years while in her Software Engineering degree, and at the time of her graduation, she had already accepted her full-time position at Shift as a Developer.

“It is wild to see how much it [Shift] has grown over the past few years”. - Nicole Peverley 

From co-op to career

Nicole and Jaeyou, our 2018 coops with their “worlds best co-op” mugs!

The world often pressures us into living quickly and moving ahead in life “on schedule”, but who is dictating this ‘schedule’ and why? There is no right or wrong when it comes to your life path, career goals, or academia. University and college life offer a wide variety of opportunities that are near impossible to find elsewhere. Students tend to be given more leeway and freedom to explore and to work on themselves along with their degrees. Not satisfied with your program? Change your major. Want to take some time off school to travel? Go on an exchange, or take a semester off. Want to try out a field? Do a co-op in that field and find out if you enjoy it! At perhaps no other time in life are adults able to have the freedom to explore, take opportunities as they come, and fail without being harshly penalized by society as they do while in school. But of course, there are also a lot of benefits to being done school.  Getting to join the workforce sooner, creating a life and routine that best works for you, and starting to earn money.

“Find a co-op you are passionate about and take all the time you need, there ultimately is no rush. Enjoy the experiences, ask questions, and make sure it is the right fit for you too. Co-ops/jobs are a two-way street, not only are they looking to see if you are the right fit for them, you’re interviewing to see if they’re the right fit for you” - Nicole

Having done so many co-ops and working while in school Nicole says it slowed her studies down, but in the long run, it was well worth the extra time as a student. Learning as a co-op laid the foundation for her becoming a Full Stack Developer, and graduating with a full-time job offer. Shift has four main departments: Customer Success, Marketing, Development, and Product. Making marketing the only department Nicole hasn’t dipped her toes into (....yet!). As Nicole has been a part of the team in various roles for the last three years through both co-ops and now full time, she truly has been a part of Shift throughout its growth as a company. Having worked in nearly every department Nicole says she feels as though she really understands the different parts of Shift’s team and takes into account the importance of support, quality assurance, and development.

“I think co-ops are incredibly beneficial. I really had no idea how impactful it would be getting out into the industry and learning about what I could actually be doing in the future after my degree.” - Nicole 

Q&A

Q: As a female in the tech industry do you have any advice to future women looking to enter the tech world?

A: I would say it seems intimidating but now is the best time to enter the tech world because the community is really pushing for more women in tech. Don’t be scared of being one of the only women in the room because we can bring a valuable new point of view from our experiences.

Q: Were there any barriers you felt you faced as a woman trying to enter the tech industry?

A: Honestly, I think one of the biggest barriers I felt is my own imposter syndrome and the pressure I put on myself to prove that I belong as one of the few women in the room. I found it helpful to be a woman entering the field at a time when there is a large push for women in coding, but I think it’s imperative to believe in yourself and work hard because people look for your confidence in your own abilities. Occasionally I felt like my classmates would expect less from me in projects or assignments, but that’s what really fuels me to keep going. I love proving somebody wrong. I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them I’m a software engineer.

Q: What's something you do to help boost your productivity?

A: I think, for me, problem solving is difficult to do in one sitting, which is something I’ve learned over the years in school and work. I find I’m most productive when I take breaks and get up and go for a run, go for a walk, or take a shower. That's when I find my mind has the best ideas when I’m not directly thinking about the problem at hand.

Q: What's your favorite software or app that helps with your workflow?

A: Is it cliche if I say Shift? I’m pretty old-fashioned when it comes to managing my work flow but I take lots of notes on my computer and organize them based on priority to make sure I don’t forget about a task or spend too much time working on something that is less important. I love making To-Do Lists and Notes in iCloud so I can look at it on my computer or on my phone.

Q: Any fun things you like to do outside of work?

A: I love to play sports I used to play a lot in high school and still attempt to stay active with hikes and intramural sports when I can (running, volleyball, softball, soccer, basketball, golf). When having a job that requires sitting for long periods of time, it is so important to find the time in your day to remain active!

Q: Any books or podcasts you love and would recommend?

A: I love Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. I'm a total “Armcherry'' and love listening to people have candid conversations about life and maybe learn something from an “expert” every once in a while. https://armchairexpertpod.com/