Associate spotlight: Paola Maddaluno at Department for Transport

For the latest in our associate spotlight series, we interviewed Paola Maddaluno, who is currently working as a Junior Software Developer at the Department for Transport.

Why did you join La Fosse Academy in the first place?  

I wanted a bootcamp that was going to boost my knowledge of Javascript and teach me Python. Once I came across La Fosse Academy, I realised that this was something that was going to work for me because it was real training. It’s not only getting knowledge but also giving the possibility to everyone. I love the La Fosse Academy concept of no barrier for someone who wants to get knowledge and experience in tech.  


What were you doing before La Fosse Academy?  

I have a major in Comparative Studies of Chinese and American literature. Then I decided to use the same approach to self-teach programming languages like js and web development.  

In the meantime, I had a career in tourism. I covered various roles from the hotel's receptionist to TO/TA wholesale's operation manager, always looking for a way to improve operations flow. One thing that pushed me to tech was the badly designed tools we used for booking reservations; some platforms and CRMs were unpractical with a poor user experience.  

What role are you in at the Department for Transport (DfT) and what have been some of the kind of highlights and challenges along the way?

I joined DfT as a Junior Software Developer in April last year. Since I started, I had to learn a lot of new things and I feel supported by all members of the team with whom I get along very well.  

I had to work a lot on myself as I was coming from a very fast environment. As Operations Manager, I had to take decisions very quickly, whereas in DfT the pace is adapted to my needs of the moment. Because I have a lot to learn, from internal organization to tech tools, part of my work is to study as much as I can to be prepared for the next sprint or project I will be required to work on. However, DfT has provided a range of tutorials and courses.  


What advice would you have for someone looking to apply for the La Fosse Academy program?  

La Fosse Academy gives a full 360-degree preparation as my course included an overview of tech roles. This led me to be able to interact with product managers, user research, product owners and so on. However, it all depends on you on how much time you are willing to invest, and how much you make use of the knowledge learned from La Fosse Academy. Thus, my main advice would be to not take the training and learning experience for granted.  

Also, trust La Fosse Academy to find the right placement for you. As I was always looking for career roles myself, this part was a bit challenging, but I feel lucky because I am in the right company now.

In addition, talk openly to the La Fosse Academy team. I have shared a couple of ideas and La Fosse Academy has been very encouraging to make those ideas a reality. Thus, as a result, I ran a presentation on self-praising during my first months at DfT, and everyone was so enthusiastic about it. Overall, all these factors make me feel grateful that I am a part of La Fosse Academy.

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