From salon owner to web designer: How Ainslie Koopmans took the leap into tech

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.

Learn more about BCIT Computing and the Technical Web Designer program.

4 thoughts on “From salon owner to web designer: How Ainslie Koopmans took the leap into tech

  1. Thank you so much for sharing! This is so inspirational. Sometimes we just gotta have the courage to take that first step!

  2. Ainslie was my hairstylist years ago. So happy to see she has succeeded in life and her career. An inspiration for new mothers, and everyone a like to take the risk if you’re not happy!

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