Coherent Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Kat, Frontend Web DeveloperOur Team
Q. Can you give a brief introduction to who are you, and what you do here at Coherent?
Hey, I’m Kat, and I’m the Frontend Web Developer here at Coherent.
I liaise closely with our Product Manager, Alex, and Backend developers, Greg and Ivana. I am responsible for making our site simple to interact with, compatible with numerous devices and browsers and is aesthetically pleasing. I’m all about making our product pretty and clean!
Q. Where do you live?
I’m originally from South Wales, but I currently live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m known for moving around (a lot!), but I recently moved back to Edinburgh after living in Bristol, England for the past year. My aim is to make Edinburgh my permanent home, however, as I just love it here.
Q. What do you love about it?
Edinburgh is beautiful. I absolutely love the architecture of all the old buildings, and the fact you can see the drastic change in landscape looking out to the highlands. The history this city holds is incredible.
This buzzing city has so much to offer, whether that’s socialising with friends, having access to great food or soaking up the vast, exciting history of this old city. Not to mention the annual events Edinburgh offers such as the Tattoo, Fringe Festival, and New Years Hogmanay Street Party.
You can then swiftly move from city life to the peaceful countryside to enjoy the breathtaking views and incredible walks (or hikes if you’re brave enough to tackle a Munro). What’s not to love?
Q. How long have you been with the company?
At the time of this interview, I am one week shy of my first anniversary! Time has flown by since I’ve started at Coherent and I’ve genuinely loved every minute of it.
Coherent took a leap of faith with me as this time last year I’d decided to switch careers and didn’t have much experience with coding at all. They’ve been fantastic in supporting me through my career change and my constant learning.
I look back to where I started and have to pinch myself to believe how far I’ve come over the last year. I’ve never worked for such a supportive company before who are willing to take a chance on such a newbie!
Q. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ahhh, those days were good times! When I was younger, I was an aspiring vet, pilot and “policeman woman officer” as I used to call it. Along with being a nighttime crime-fighting superhero Jedi, of course. (How I thought I’d squeeze all of that in I’ve no idea!)
Coding wasn’t on my aspirations list, but I’m glad I found it now. However, I’m still working on finding the Force!
Q. What is your favourite thing about Coherent?
I love that Coherent was founded and created by a workspace owner, for workspace owners. With this inside knowledge, it brings that personal viewpoint of what is needed and provides a solution to mundane, time-consuming problems.
I’m drawn to how straightforward Coherent operates. A lot of effort and focus is on wrapping all the sophisticated, detailed features into a nice clean and simple package, so it’s easy to use and fully accessible to our users.
Q. What’s one thing that surprised you about working at Coherent?
I guess what surprised me the most was how our software is so powerful and useful, but it’s all managed, maintained and improved by just a handful of people – there’s only 5 of us.
Being a part of such a small team is brilliant as we can dabble in a bit of everything. We’re encouraged to improve our skillset as often as we like, and the mindset of “nothing is really out of reach” is felt amongst the team.
So if you want to work on a feature because you want to learn how to do it, you’re supported to do so! I was taken aback by the encouraged self-development and growth as I have never experienced this way of working in past workplaces.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in the future with Coherent?
I’m excited to see how Coherent continues to evolve and become more inclusive and user friendly. While continuing to work on the intricate backend work, which will bring some fantastic features, we want our users to feel and see a complete refresh to the pages within the UI.
Rather than waiting to do one significant revamp, we’ll split the refreshed look into smaller doses, so users don’t have to wait long nor frustratingly get used to the changes. We’re updating our style to ensure it’s modern and consistent throughout, and focusing on accessibility through our chosen colours and style.
Q. What’s your go-to productivity trick?
During lockdown, while trying to work from home with everyone else in my house, I invested in some decent noise-cancelling headphones. I then created a concentration playlist on Spotify for myself where songs are continually being added. I find if I’m ever struggling to ‘get into the zone’ there’s nothing some good tunes can’t help me get through.
I also find when I start getting frustrated with work or a task isn’t going to plan, simply getting up and walking away for 10 minutes really helps me out! It doesn’t matter what you do within those 10 minutes, as long as it’s away from your work set up and you set a timer to make sure you go back, these quick breaks help reset your focus
Outside of lockdown, I found going to a coworking space at least once a week, really supported my productivity. This change in environment and atmosphere gave me a boost and something to look forward to that’s a bit different! There are so many to choose from so you can always choose the right one for you that you’ll love. When I was in Bristol, you would find me at Framework, a coworking space founded by Coherent’s owner, Gavin.
Q. How do you prefer to start your day?
I’m not a great morning person, to be honest, and don’t usually do very well before my first cup of coffee.
However, during the lockdown, I formed a new habit of getting up around 7 am and going out for a morning walk (before coffee!). This morning routine was made easier as I had my sister’s dog, Alfie, there for company. I find morning walks wake me up, and leave me feeling ready to start my day.
When I get home, I make my favourite coffee and a little bit of breakfast before settling down for work around 8:30 am. Now that I am back in Edinburgh, I don’t have Alife, but I hope to one day be joined by a waggy tail during my morning walks! I just need to convince my other half first…
Q. What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?
On a typical weekend (outside of lockdown), I love going for brunch with my partner and some of our friends! Great food and coffee along with a good old natter, is always great fun.
I also love to go out on my bike; whether it’s for 15 or 30 miles, I love the sense of freedom you get from it and the little adventures it takes you on. It’s a great way to explore! – unless it’s very windy and heavy rain (which in Scotland it often is!), then I like to chill indoors, play games (PS4/Nintendo) or get lost in a good book.
Q. What’s the top destination on your must-visit list?
This question is probably the most difficult one out of all of them! You should see the size of my travel list!
If I had to choose, one of my top destinations would be Canada. I’ve been lucky to travel across the US, Australia, South East Asia and many more places. But travelling across Canada is somewhere I’ve not managed to get to just yet. It’s a vast country, and I dream of travelling across it for a year to experience it in all seasons.
Q. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
My love of travel instinctively means I would love the ability to fly. Can you imagine? Being able to fly all over the world, experiencing so many different cultures, taking in the scenery and being able to watch a sunrise in one beautiful country and a sunset in the next… Yes, that would be the dream superpower for me.
Q What’s your favourite quote?
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – Maya Angelou
I love this quote. I find it so inspiring and relatable. I am constantly striving to find those moments that make me stop in my tracks, absorb every moment and breathe. Life goes by in a blink of an eye, but the moments that make you stop and gasp “wow” are the moments you truly remember.