We connected with Technical Web Designer alumna Ainslie Koopmans to learn about her unique journey into the field of web design. She’s now enjoying a thriving career in tech, after taking the long road into the sector – she retrained in the fast-track six-month program almost twenty years into her career.
Why or how did you move into the tech sector?
I owned a hair salon years ago and could not afford a website. I knew nothing about building websites at the time, but I had heard the term “HTML”. I went out and purchased HTML for Dummies and ended up building a site on Notepad. It took me a very long time, but I really enjoyed the process.
I started to play around with building websites during my free time. I eventually found WordPress through a YouTube channel. From there, I built many sites just to play around. It became a huge hobby of mine. I realized that my passion was in technology and not in beauty. Honestly, I hated my job and dreaded work. I talked to my husband about it and we agreed: I should sell my business and go back to school. I registered at BCIT.
Where did you start your career?
After completing the Technical Web Designer program at BCIT, I started applying at random web design firms. Thanks to a suggestion from my amazing instructor/program director Beata Kozma, I applied at Automattic (makers of WordPress.com). That is where I work today.
What does a day in your work life look like?
I feel incredibly blessed to be working at Automattic. It is a remote company, which means I work from home and I set my own hours. I am into competitive bodybuilding and have two young children, so my work schedule is adapted to that. I wake up at 3:45am and start my day at 4:00am in my pyjamas with a cup of coffee. I work through the morning until I can make my children their breakfast and take them to daycare/school. I then go to the gym for a few hours and return home at lunch time to finish my shift before picking them up.
In a typical day, I answer a lot of emails, work on side projects involving documentation and policy, and I participate in video calls with my team and other colleagues. Every day is different and there is always work to be done. I love it.
Several times a year, I get to travel to conferences and team meetups around the globe. Once a year, I get to see the whole company on our annual week-long “Grand Meetup”.
Is there anything else about your story that you would like to share?
It was a huge risk for me to sell my company and go back to school. I had an 8-month old baby at the time as well as a 4-year old. Money was tight and I was terrified. But I knew I needed to do it. I was not happy and I wanted more. I decided that I would do whatever it takes to be successful.
I worked harder than I’ve ever worked, and it paid off. Now, I am living my dream life. I get to travel, work in an industry that I am passionate about, and I get to learn new things every day. It took me almost 20 years to find my career, and I am so thankful and happy that I finally found my place.