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Spotlight – We chat to Microsoft Certified Trainer and IJYI Software Developer Julia Hunter

Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) are the premier technical and instructional experts in Microsoft technologies and we are very proud to have two of them on our team. Today we have a chat with Julia Hunter about her career in IT and what it’s like being a Microsoft Certified Trainer.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you first got into IT and software development?

My first experience of writing software was creating pong for a ZX81 in the 1980’s! Originally I decided to become an engineer, but eventually realised that I was more interested in software and programming than in designing engines. My first programming job was as a researcher on a university project where we created a virtual submersible vehicle composed of virtual components – which I suppose you could say combined all my interests.

What Microsoft courses do you run and do you have a favourite topic? 

At the moment I run the BCS Software Development Fundamentals (which is all about the software development life cycle) and the Microsoft MCT Software Development (a broad introduction to writing software). I think what I like teaching the most is the absolute basics of programming – the principles that you can apply to any language.

Attending a course can sometimes feel a bit daunting. What’s your top tip for anyone about to embark on an IT training course?

Definitely do some research beforehand – check what the course covers, watch some videos, read articles, try some practical exercises. All of the Microsoft courses have tons of material that you can access for free, and anything you do to prepare will give you confidence.

How has becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer benefited your day to day role as a software developer at IJYI?

I think it has encouraged me to broaden and deepen my knowledge beyond what I use everyday.

If you had to pick one, which project are you most proud of and why?

I’ve been working on a project for the Rail Delivery Group which is all about connecting together timetable information and real-time updates from the trains. Soon we will be able to get real-time updates about the trains we want to catch. It’s really satisfying to work on something which has such an obvious benefit to so many people.

You’ve been involved in community projects to encourage children into coding and software development, can you tell us a bit more about that and your thoughts on the future of coding?

I have helped to run CodeClubs and CoderDojos, and I have also done school visits as a STEMnet volunteer. Coding events are a great way for children to experiment and learn about what software can do, while being less structured than school. I think it’s so important to encourage children to explore technology and think about how it can be used to solve problems. Even if they don’t ever want to become software developers, that awareness is going to help them in their future careers.