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Macquarie Group’s Irah Rosete may have started her tech career later in life but it hasn’t stopped her from excelling. Irah took the plunge two years ago to enrol in a coding bootcamp and in her own words, she has “not looked back since!” 

According to the Tech Council of Australia, most women enter the tech world midway into their professional careers so Irah’s story is one that many of us can relate to. If you’re considering shifting gears and entering the tech landscape, read on to find out about Irah’s journey, the joy that helping other people gives her and why sometimes, she even has dreams about coding! 

Can you tell us about the journey that led you to a career in tech and what your career progression has looked like since?

I am a career changer. I have a Master of Economics, majoring in Finance and Funds Management. I've been with Macquarie for a long time now, and I've moved around a lot. I was a platform administrator, a product analyst, a quality analyst, and a business analyst. 

I had thought about pursuing a more technical role, but I hadn’t yet taken the plunge. It was only after a few of the developers I worked with pushed me to finally attend a coding boot camp, that I transitioned to a career in engineering. 

Embarking on a new career journey felt scary, but I knew that with a good network and support system at Macquarie, I could make it happen. I started reaching out to people internally​​ and soon enough, I met the Women in Tech Network Lead and then the Head of Architecture for Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group.

I was given the opportunity to transition into a technology role through an early pilot of Macquarie’s ExpandToTech initiative. This program was designed to provide internal employees with the knowledge and skills needed to pivot into a technology career.

I interviewed with a variety of teams to find a good fit. In 2021 I joined the payments team in Macquarie’s technology division as a software engineer. While I had the option to rotate across other teams through the program, I enjoyed the role so much that I decided to stay.

What have been the biggest highlights of your career so far?

In addition to my day job, I also volunteer with women and kids, mentoring them and teaching them how to program. I feel so proud when I witness that pivotal moment, where they realise they’ve actually learnt something new.

As for projects, I am still most proud ofthe very first one I deployed to the internet, which is my personal site. It's amazing to look back and realise how far I have come. I have also been featured in one of Macquarie’s people stories. 

What advice would you give to someone who might be considering a career in the tech industry?

If you are even slightly thinking about it, just do it. But be prepared to accept that you may not know a lot in the beginning and there will be hurdles. Make friends with failure and learn from it. Explore what areas of tech you like. If you enjoy the work, it won’t feel like a job and you will never stop learning.

How do you juggle, or manage, a healthy work/life balance?

I know, it is tough. Sometimes I dream about code or think about how to test them in the shower! But one thing that's worked for me is to have one or two things that I like outside of work to focus on. 

In the past, I've made reaching black belt status in Karate a goal. More recently, I have been working on my CrossFit skills and digital illustration. I like to switch off on weekends and I make sure to spend time with my loved ones and my pet. Sometimes, I also give myself permission to simply do nothing.

If you could change one thing to make tech a more inclusive/diverse space what would it be and why?

At Macquarie, I have been supported to pivot in my career, despite coming from a non-technical background. I think it is a positive thing for the industry to have people from different disciplines and backgrounds, especially if they have the right attitude and hunger to learn. I feel businesses could benefit from providing more pathways into tech, that may not be the traditional route from university into the workforce.

For me, the ability to keep learning on-the-job has a lot more weight than any formal education. People that have come from different backgrounds have so much enthusiasm and insight to offer and at the end of the day, that’s what really counts.

What excites you about tech?

I am excited to be part of something that makes other’s lives better. I work in payments, where people just expect things to work. Behind the scenes though, there are so many engineers that make this happen and I can proudly say that I am one of them!I am excited to have the opportunity to help others who may want to give a career in tech a go. I am excited to work in an industry that is dynamic and ever-changing, and where there are constant opportunities to learn.

Who or what inspires you?

Kids learning to code. There is so much interest and curiosity in their eyes. They're not afraid to make mistakes and just really want to learn.


What's one book, one podcast and one film that you love?

These things change but at the moment, I love:

  • 'How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big' by Scott Adams (book)

  • The FrontEnd Masters Podcast (podcast)

  • Catch Me If You Can (film)

What's a quote or mantra that you live by?

"It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually, no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any." – Hugh Laurie

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