Nina Breznik – You can learn everything. You just have to keep moving

Rails Girls Berlin “Wall of Fame”

This a series of interviews with women, that have successfully made their way into coding.
Check out their stories, get inspired!

Meet Nina who studied Marketing, founded some Start-ups and switched to coding after attending Rails Girls Summer of Code.

„With my programming skills I am more flexible in choosing the tools of my work and so my work gets more creative and innovative.

Hi Nina , can you tell us a bit about yourself and your educational background.
I finished BA in Political sciences and Slavic languages with literature. Then I studied MA in Marketing and marketing communication when I started my first little company selling innovative promotional gifts. Later I joined a start-up incubator with a new start-up “Sosed” for computer repair and got seed investment for it and moved to Berlin to upgrade this business with an app, but realised that developers are too expensive. I then decided I will learn more about programming so I can understand the developers better and like this ease my work with them. After Rails Girls Summer of Code I then developed my first app for computer technicians in Slovenia – LeadShareApp. Then I also came up with an idea for my app Zwei Design, a platform for renovations, construction and design.

How did you get to know about Rails Girls Berlin?
Why did you join the workshop and what was your impression of it afterwards?

When I moved to Berlin I started going on different meetups to learn more about programming world and this is how I stumbled upon Rails girls. After going to the Rails girls classes for a while, a friend told me about Summer of Code. We applied together and got in. That was in 2013. We were working on Spree open source project and our mentor was the amazing Erik @sferik from Soundcloud. We stayed with Soundcloud for 5 months. 

At the same time I met Alex @langalex, co-founder of Cobot, a management software for coworking spaces. He was my first mentor and we had our „classes“ once a week for almost a year. Working on coding every day for couple of months made a switch in me. I just figured that is possible. That you can become a developer even if you weren’t hacking since you were 12. There are new languages popping up all the time and old school developers can’t follow everything so if you start with learning something newer like Ruby on Rails, NodeJS, Phython etc. you can catch up pretty fast. Next to Rail Girls, I used (and I am still using, since learning never ends) Codecademy, Rails Cast, Ruby Warrior game, tons of Youtube-Tutorials, Github, Stackoverflow and Codecombat.  

How did you continue learning?
What was the biggest obstacle during your learning process?

I had no clue about programming before I joined Rails Girls. I was a heavy internet user, but mostly social media and online marketing. I seriously thought Coding is for those, who started very young. What has helped me afterwards were amazing community. This is why a year and a half ago, Alex (@serapath) and I started a coder’s co-hacking – Coding Amigos and I am just working on a CodingAmigos Community App. Until now, more than 200 different developers came to our meetup. Some of them are professionals, some of them solopreneurs coders, learners like me.  And on top of that I am also taking part in coding school for kids Wizard Amigos Institute where I help kids make their first steps into the magical world of code

When and how did you decide to change your profession?

When I did Summer of Code I realised I really like coding. The thinking process, the community, the philosophy… everything. It felt to me like an artsy world, where people are thinkers and doers. And I felt I have a tool (skill) now and I can finally start doing things I believe in.

Where you afraid of that step? If so, how do you think about it in retrospective? Was there a reason to be afraid?

I was terrified. I thought it’s not possible. That’s why I decided I have to build a community around me to always have enough coders to cover my back if things get heavy. And this is exactly what happened. I went on the adventure without knowing what to expect. But because I had Rails Girls and now Coding Amigos crew beside me, I was able to continue learning. And when I realised that not knowing something is not the end of the world, but just a new challenge, I managed to chill in my new role. I figured out there is time needed for everything but because I am curious and have motivation I can keep going. 

What do you like the most about your new profession?

The diversity of the tasks and the fact that I create concrete products people actually use. Data analyses and data visualizations often help people to get a perspective on things they didn‘t have before. My work helps them to understand things better and to take better decisions. With my programming skills I am more flexible in choosing the tools of my work and so my work gets more creative and innovative.

What is your advice to women who want to learn coding?

Don’t be afraid. Remember that all you know by now (whatever the field) is what you learned. And same is with coding. You can learn everything. You just have to keep moving 🙂 If there is will, there will always be the way too.

We thank Nina for helping us to inspire more women to get into coding and wish her happy coding. If you want to tell your own story, please get in touch with us.