How To Survive as a Non-Tech Technology Team Leader

Do you ever make impulse decisions? Me too.

One of my latest adventures? Signing up as a Team Leader on 2 Hackathon coding challenges… as a UCL humanities graduate.

…Why?

(a question also asked by many of my friends & family)

During lockdown, I decided to begin learning to code. After getting a Code First Girls Python certificate, I was selected for their Career Nav mentorship programme, which advocates for women challenging themselves in the technology sector.

So, I thought, what better challenge than getting involved in 2 Hackathons: a Big Data challenge and diversity and inclusion product development. As part of my application, I clicked a button to put my name in the hat for a leadership role, without much further thought.

Turns out if you apply for things, sometimes you get accepted..!

Qualifications? Barely any. Nervous? Absolutely.

Through numerous Google Meets and agenda setting, we more than made it out alive – we made it to the Diversity Hackathon Challenge Finals!

So, what on earth happened as part of that process?

  1. Leadership doesn’t meant you have to know everything – work to use the skills of your team. Put your ego at the door and accept where your skills lie. Nearly all my team were more technically skilled than me! At the beginning of the project, we had a discussion around our personal strengths and divided the workload accordingly.
  2. Google. A lot. All the time. Accept that sometimes you will do hours of research just to figure out 4 ways not to build your final project.
  3. A surprising number of your skills are industry-neutral – use them! I’d never done a Hackathon before, but I was surprised by how much of my abilities I’d developed on my 2019 consulting internship came in handy. For example, project management techniques were essential to our overall success. And a pretty slide deck never does any harm..!
  4. Use your support network. My friends and family were so supportive during the process, and I was enormously grateful. They helped me to build confidence in my capabilities and in my ability to take up new challenges in future.

Whilst there were some stressful moments, leading on these 2 Hackathons was definitely one of my highlights of 2020.

So, if you have the opportunity to begin to learn to code, or explore the technology sector, I would absolutely recommend it!

Have any questions? As always, feel free to drop me a message.

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