Interview - Nickie Roudez
“I’ve always been attracted to the technical side of things, even when I was an illustrator and I used to code in my own time. What I especially like about software engineering is that it never becomes boring – you must continuously learn, update your skills, and innovate.”
Hi Nickie! Please can you tell us a little bit about your career path?
It took me some time to realise which career would suit me best. I started out as a graphic designer, who ironically, focused mainly on the print side of things. But I soon evolved into more of an illustrator. This experience gave me the opportunity to work on some interesting projects all around the world, while enjoying a very creative job. However, I always liked to code a bit in my spare time, so I decided to go back to school for a while to study it. After graduating, I decided to take my chance to work in tech, where I began at a French start-up as a front-end developer. It was super intense, so I was able to learn a lot. I also had the opportunity to work with some awesome people, who were always available to teach me things or answer my questions. Nonetheless, after a few years I realised it was the moment to consider new challenges.
What made you decide to pursue a career in software engineering?
I’ve always been attracted to the technical side of things, even when I was an illustrator and I used to code in my own time. What I especially like about software engineering is that it never becomes boring – you must continuously learn, update your skills, and innovate. Every project is different, and it really is a team-effort. I’ve never felt the power of exchange between two people as strong as I have within software engineering – knowledge often comes from a colleague.
“I’ve never felt the power of exchange between two people as strong as I have within software engineering – knowledge often comes from a colleague.”
It’s way more enjoyable than having to watch an online tutorial – haha! I also like the fact that it’s a mentally stimulating job. Trying to find the best solution for the problem is quite fulfilling. Even though not many people see software engineering as very creative, I think it is! Creativity is something that I’ve always looked for in my career.
And why did you choose to join Payaut?
I really wanted to work for a young start-up again where I would be able to participate in building a new product. As I’ve mentioned before, I was looking for new challenges with new problems to solve. Working in fintech is new for me and hence, was quite attractive. Another reason for joining is the fact that the organization is still taking its first steps and because of this, there are so many things yet to create. I also wanted to find a team that would suit me. By this I mean a nice work atmosphere where everyone can learn from each other in a fun, nice and respectful way.
What are your day-to-day priorities and responsibilities?
My everyday responsibility is to find the best way to create a viable product – from conception as well as bringing a technical point of view to it. I also ensure that the product is being built in the most efficient way. My main mission is to create a handy, UI/UX friendly application that fulfils business and design requirements. This is achieved with the best choice of tools, structure, models, and communication within the team. I’m involved in some design decisions too.
What accomplishment are you most proud of: personal and business wise?
What I’m quite proud of, most recently, is to have moved to The Netherlands during the pandemic. But overall, my career switch was a big achievement for me. I was starting to have quite a stable life as an illustrator, but I decided to take my chance. Although it’s not always been easy, I’ve never regretted it.
“I was starting to have quite a stable life as an illustrator, but I decided to take my chance.”
I’m also quite proud and very thankful to have been able to work on such an important project at my previous company. At that time, I didn’t know the framework we worked with that well, but having to work with it gave me the opportunity to learn a lot and to release a tool that is still widely used today. It mostly showed me that just doing it and being eager to learn, enables great achievements.
What advice would you give to women who would like to start a career in tech?
I’d give them a very cliche answer – haha! I would tell them to trust in themselves and to not be afraid. Some people for sure will try and destabilise a new developer girl, but just try to put yourself above it. I’ve heard so many times that girls, including myself, start devaluing their work in front of someone who didn’t want to give them an opportunity. The awful thing is that this happens so often, even if they were just as good or maybe even better than the people in front of them.
“Some people for sure will try and destabilise a new developer girl, but just try to put yourself above it.”
It’s heart-breaking to see girls giving up because of a lack of self-confidence. I learned that it’s so important to believe in your own abilities and to never allow someone to start making you doubt yourself. Tech is not a male-only field – everybody can do this job. The fact that more and more women are visible within the field, is proof of this!
You’ve recently moved from France to the Netherlands, what led you to embark on an international career?
I’m generally very curious, so working abroad was on my “bucket list” ☺. I’m lucky because my job gives me the opportunity to go anywhere. So, I targeted companies in a city that I really liked: Amsterdam. I was attracted to the city before even considering going abroad. Plus, going away from my home country gave me the chance to meet lots of different people. It’s been super interesting on both a professional and personal level. I was also curious to see what a start-up in another country would be like, what the structure is like and what are the working habits – I’m still very unused to the Dutch sandwich lunch ☺. To summarise, I think what attracted me the most is the experience and discovery of something new.
“I’m still very unused to the Dutch sandwich lunch.”
Finally, where do you see yourself in five years? Still in tech?
That’s a complicated question! I always think answering these types of questions is difficult because I’m not much of a planner. Deciding what to eat in the evening is challenging enough… But no, I don’t know whether I’ll do this job forever. If front-end continues to evolve at the speed and the way it is now, I’ll stay. Otherwise, I feel that at some point I’ll want to do something new. There are so many things to discover, and opportunities are everywhere. But, if the tech field continues to bring me so much fun and joy, we can meet at the same place in five years for sure!