Intro to... Karolina Karas By: Corey Leung Karolina is an Account Manager at Go2mobi, a company that uses a proprietary mobile audience targeting platform to enable advertisers to create more targeted display ads. She finished the Lighthouse Labs Intro to Web Development Course in July of 2016 and transitioned into the tech sector shortly after. She currently sits on the board of YYJ Tech Ladies, a community built to foster connections and mentorships for women in the Victoria tech community. Karolina is also an accomplished writer, having been published both locally and nationally in publications like the Globe and Mail. Read further to learn about her experience with the Lighthouse Labs Intro to Web Development course and how it has helped her career. What is Your Background? My undergraduate degree focused on journalism and political science at the University of Victoria. In my journalism classes we always talked a lot about broadening our skillsets beyond just having strong writing and interviewing skills so that’s when I started learning basic skills in areas like coding, photography and videography. After my undergrad, I moved to Toronto to pursue a Masters in Professional Communication at Ryerson University where I had the opportunity to work with several great communication firms and startups. When I moved back to Victoria, I knew I wanted to join the amazing tech community here in my hometown. What Do You Do Now? I’m an Account Manager at Go2Mobi. We just recently won a Viatec Award for Employer of the Year so needless to say I love it here! I’ve been in this role and the tech industry for almost a year now. My day-to-day involves both number crunching and working with clients, including many amazing ad agencies across North America. The work is fast-paced and always changing but that’s probably what I love the most about the job. What made you decide to come to Lighthouse Labs? The decision to attend Lighthouse Labs was honestly a long time coming. I remember first hearing about Lighthouse Labs in Toronto and looking into the program offerings but I lacked the time to do it while completing my masters degree. When I moved back to Victoria and was looking at entering the tech sector, it was one of the first thing I looked at doing. The part time Intro to Web Development program was perfect for me. I knew a bit of HTML and CSS beforehand but this program gave me additional skills in languages like Ruby. The supportive learning environment and time of the program also fit what I was looking for as I could attend it after work and finish it in six weeks. How Has The Lighthouse Labs Experience Affected Your Work? Professionally, I was able to meet many mentors and fellow students who are part of the tech community. I still keep in touch with many of them today. Interacting with everyone in a learning environment made it a lot easier to create some real connections beyond what you would get in a networking event. Lighthouse Labs was also a great talking point when I was interviewing for jobs. It came up in almost all of my job interviews, whether it was with a tech company or not. For my day-to-day work, I use the things I learned at Lighthouse Labs constantly. The ability to code has allowed me to read and edit tags when working with clients. For more complex coding challenges, I am able to more effectively communicate with our development team on what exactly is needed for the project. I think even the way Lighthouse Labs encourages us to self learn during the program has led me to be more resourceful in my career. Are You Doing Anything to Keep Up Your Coding Skills? I definitely want to do more! We have a development team at work so I don’t really work with any code other than a couple small edits here and there. In the little spare time I have, I am playing around with Ruby to keep my skills fresh, and I’m currently building a website for a sport organization I co-founded, Dodgeball BC. Are You Working on Any Tech Related Projects Outside of Work? I really love the tech community here in Victoria so I have been trying to get as involved with it as much as possible. I recently joined the board of a new group called YYJ Tech Ladies. The major goal of this group is to create a community and support system for women in tech in Victoria by offering career guidance, mentorship, and a place for women in tech to connect with other women. We just had our first event and it was a big success so I’m really excited about what’s to come. Is There Anything Else You Want to Add? If you’re a woman working in tech in Victoria and not on our Slack channel, please check out YYJ Tech Ladies! We welcome all self-identifying women who work in tech in any capacity - accounting, marketing, HR, graphic designers, and yes, those developers who work with code daily - as well as women who are interested in working in tech. Interested in taking one of our Intro courses yourself? We are running our Intro Courses at all six of our locations. Apply here.