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Meet Hawa

Upskilling and making her own pathway

Brave. It might sound a bit cliché but it’s a common thread across people at DAZN. It’s about getting ‘stuck in’ and having a go. It’s about using your initiative and not being afraid of asking questions or challenging people. This sums up Hawa Carregosa.

She has always held the ambition to become a data engineer. Enrolling for a Nanodegree with Code First Girls has helped her realise that dream! I caught up with her recently for a chat…

Who are you? What is your role? How long have you been here?

I joined DAZN in early 2019. I am a Technical Author in the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Team. I guess you could describe my role as the gatekeeper for internal data documentation. For the most part I work with the engineers in my team, but I also help with documentation for our databases, service, DevOps and architecture areas. I'm also the editor for the DAZN data newsletter and support the service review process for new DAZN data sources.

How did the Code First Girls thing come about?

I love learning new things and am always on the lookout for training opportunities. I have a continuous improvement mindset! I had been doing the same job here for a while and was looking for my next challenge.

The data engineering team at DAZN had been expanding including hiring and training several new junior team members. I spoke with my team leader, and he encouraged me to investigate. I honestly hadn’t considered that I might be able to move across into a technical role, but my interest was sparked. It was also a chance to shake up a very male-dominated team!

I knew about our partnership with Code First Girls (CFG) and had a look at their website. There were some paid courses and CFG had just launched the Nanodegree. It was pretty cool the way things played out – I had no problem paying for the course but then out of the blue, DAZN’s Head of EDM got in touch to say that the company would sponsor me, and I ended up focusing on developing my SQL and Python skills.

The sponsorship thing really took me by surprise. I think some conversations went on in the background which led to me being offered the opportunity. I don’t know who to thank but I am so grateful for their intervention!

How does the Nanodegree work?

I had a very hectic 12 weeks of learning. It was fun, but intense. Four evenings of teaching a week. Two hours each evening. What I didn’t expect is that you also have a lot of homework and assessments to complete. I did three exam conditions assessments, a group project and two theory assignments – I even occasionally found time to eat and sleep!

I have to say, my team at DAZN were awesome. They really supported me – the data engineers helped me to understand my homework problems. It was a great feeling to know that everybody was behind me. My team even watched me graduate online – that was so cool. Such a boost.

I also want to thank my DAZN mentor: Oliver Nural. He is part of our Product Engineering function and has been so helpful. He was always available if I needed to chat.

How have your career aspirations changed?

There's no holding me back! It really has opened a new pathway for me – I am now working as a Junior Data Engineer. It’s currently on a trial basis but I’m loving it so far and hopefully it’ll become a permanent thing soon. This week I even released my first code to production!

I would never have considered that this is where I would end up. It always felt like, as a woman, working in tech wasn’t really an option. It's great for me, and my family are so proud. My brother is a software engineer and he's now looking forward to having someone for tech chats at family gatherings!

What would be your advice to other people looking to upskill?

Don’t listen to the little voice that says the opportunity isn’t for you or you won’t be able to do it. Go for it and remember to ask a lot of questions. If I hadn't been open to the idea of learning outside my comfort zone, then I probably would never have realised that this opportunity existed. If you want to upskill then talk to people. Make things happen because you never know what is around the corner.