Team Stories: Shazia Babar, Software Engineer

Team Stories: Shazia Babar, Software Engineer


12 September 2022 - 7 min read

Team Stories: Shazia Babar, Software Engineer

What was your background before joining Audacia?

Before starting my job at Audacia I had been studying Maths at the University of Leeds. Approaching the end of my postgraduate study, I felt at a crossroads; it was my final year, and I was applying for PhDs, as well as jobs.

PhD courses required a high level of coding experience, so I thought that I would try and spend the last year of university learning how to code. From the small insight I got into learning to code, I  became motivated to look at careers in the tech industry. 

I found Audacia via the University of Leeds careers website, where I saw their listing for the Audacia academy — Audacia’s development programme for people who come from a non-software background. I liked the idea that they were open to hiring people who didn’t come from a software background. 

I was also interested in the tech industry because it seemed inclusive and nurturing of innovation. Audacia definitely reinforced this positive assumption that I had. 

What was the interview process like? 

After submitting my application the first stage was a phone call interview where I was able to speak about my background in more detail and find out what it was like working at Audacia. 

Progressing to the in-person interview, I worked on problem-solving some technical challenges. My interviewer was really careful not to overwhelm me by talking about technologies that I wasn’t going to be familiar with. 

It was more about seeing how I worked through problems and trying to introduce me to concepts like many-to-many data models. I was able to find my own way to a solution with the resources that they gave me. 

I also enjoyed the in-person interview as I was able to see Audacia’s office, which is in this great location overlooking the Leeds canal. It’s all open plan so it feels really inviting and collaborative. 

How would you describe the culture at Audacia? 

The people at Audacia are all really interesting to talk to, both in and outside of work. I’ve found that I have something in common with basically everyone I’ve worked with. 

Right from when I joined the Academy I found that everyone is really helpful. I was assigned a mentor who really took all of my progress into their own hands and developed a really personal understanding of when to push me and when to let me work through problems myself.

If I asked them a question, they wouldn’t necessarily give me the answer straight away, but rather, show me some of the steps along the way to finding the answer. 

Today, too, I feel like I could ask literally anyone for help. Sure everyone has their own skills and expertise, but there’s a real sense that you could ask anyone about anything and they’d be able to provide some insight on the query.

How do you feel that Audacia is working to improve diversity and inclusivity? 

I really believe that Audacia is approaching this area in the right way. There’s a long way to go before any business in the tech sector can be truly labelled as “diverse”, but I think that our Academy is a prime example of how we’re trying to make careers in tech more accessible to everyone — regardless of your background. 

With each new Academy intake, I’m seeing a more diverse group of people joining the company. It’s really great to see and I think our approach to recruitment is moving in the right direction. 

What projects have you worked on at Audacia? 

I’ve worked across a number of industries including recruitment and utilities. My daily responsibilities have definitely changed as I’ve worked on more projects. A lot of my earlier projects were about really consolidating my basic software development skills and becoming familiar with the processes surrounding an agile software project. 

However, even on one of my first projects working with a recruitment agency, every piece of work was a chance for learning and development. Now that I’ve learned all the basics, I’m able to apply those skills to increasingly more challenging and engaging tasks. The best part of working across different projects has just been being able to work with new people and see the growth as a team.  

Today, I’m working on an internal Audacia project which has been really enjoyable because it’s something that I know myself and other employees are going to get real use out of when it’s complete. It’s been an interesting change. Our client is Audacia, so I feel a big responsibility to make sure my work is as good as it can be.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

As a base, my time is generally made up of recurring software development practices like demos, releases and sprint meetings. 

At Audacia, we use an agile methodology for software development, where software is developed iteratively in 2-week intervals known as “sprints”. This methodology has its own essential practices that make up portions of my week, such as:

  • Estimating sessions, where our project team will estimate how much effort and time each piece of work will take 
  • Daily stand ups where we share what we’ve been working on
  • Sprint review meetings that take place in 2-week intervals where the project team can share what has been achieved in the sprint. 
  • A retrospective meeting which is held at the end of an iteration and gives the project team the opportunity to reflect on the iteration — what went well, what could be improved and how everyone has found the iteration. 

Having conversations with my project team is also really helpful for getting another perspective on how a piece of work should be carried out, or how we can ensure that we’re continuously delivering and improving the software that we’re developing. 

I can definitely say I’m never bored at my job, which is great! You’ll get a challenge and then it’s all about how you’re going to solve it and what methods you’ll use. It’s really fun. 

What’s your favourite part of working at Audacia? 

My favourite part is definitely the culture and the people. There’s always something going on outside of work, whether it’s a pub quiz, board games night or a day event that’s organised by the social committee. Even if you've never been to one before, you'll feel welcome at these events since everyone is so friendly. 

Another thing which I really want to mention is how supportive Audacia has been when it comes to my mental health and wellbeing. Right from the start I’ve had the support of senior employees, who were willing to listen to my own experiences and provide me with the resources to work to my very best. 

I know a lot of people feel supported and the company is always looking to improve when it comes to mental health support. I know, for example, that all Audacia's line managers have completed Mental Health Awareness training with MHFA. It’s just another way they’re showing that they really want everyone to succeed regardless of their circumstance.

Audacia is a leading software development company based in the UK, with headquarters in Leeds. Find out more about what it's like to work here and our current open vacancies on our careers site.

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