The Setup - Sally Bridgewater

As part of an ongoing series where we ask industry professionals what they use to get the job done, we speak to Sally, Associate Software Developer at Sky.

Sally Bridgewater speaking at Hey!

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Sally Bridgewater, and I'm an associate software developer - I'm fresh to the whole tech industry, having just started on the grad scheme at Sky in Leeds. I started in July 2017, and before that spent nearly a year teaching myself how to code and meeting lots of great local women in tech through various meetups, conferences, and Sky's own 'Get Into Tech' course.

I'm also a writer in my free time. I've been attempting to finish a sci-fi novel for a few years now. Another thing I'm working on writing is my blog 'Agile ADHD', which is about how I'm bringing my work home with me by teaching my fiancé Francis all about Agile and Scrum methodologies. We're attempting to apply those techniques to streamline our household chores and his freelancing as a musician.

What hardware do you use?

At work the grads are the envy of the office, as we all got handed a brand new Macbook Pro on our first day. I've only started using Macs this year, but I'm now pretty enamoured with them. I love the way you can swipe through multiple desktop screens using only fingers on the touchpad...

Other than my laptop, there's of course my smartphone, which sees heavy daily use. It's some sort of Samsung Galaxy (Android) and has stood up well to the workload over the last couple of years. For the first time I think I might not be rushing to replace it as soon as the contract runs out, as I've got it all set up the way I like it (e.g. all the app shortcuts arranged on only one screen, so I can't distract myself by cycling through different views constantly).

And what software?

A program I really like for writing is called Scrivener. I wish I'd had it back when tackling my dissertations in uni. It makes writing a novel a bit less daunting.

For coding, I've made one website so far, for my fiancé's guitar teaching business. For that I used Python, and the Django framework, and Bootstrap to help with the CSS. I found the DjangoGirls tutorial extremely useful (and inspiring that they teach it all to complete beginners in just one day!). For my IDE I used PyCharm. Other than that I've used Eclipse for writing a bit of Java, and NetBeans to write PHP (although for some reason I didn't like NetBeans very much).

In terms of apps on my phone, I'd say the main ones I love for productivity are Beeminder and Complice. Beeminder is not for the faint of heart - you commit to a certain thing (for instance, I say I will meditate for a certain amount of time per day) and if you fail to stay on track, then Beeminder 'stings' you for a payment.

Complice is a to-do list app that is truly brain-friendly, and has eliminated problems from other apps such as having a huge backlog of old tasks which aren't relevant any more. It also automatically ties in with my Beeminder. Plus it's developed all by one guy, and he's great. :)

What would be your dream setup?

I would love to have a hand-made, carved, wooden writing desk for my home study. I want it to look like a Victorian writing desk with lots of little cubby holes but still have all the spaces for wires and things subtly concealed within it. I'd also like it to be both a standing and a sitting desk, with different levels built in for exactly my height. I'd have several monitors, a place for a keyboard to be pulled out, and then when I'd sit down there'd be desk-space large enough to sketch and jot down ideas on paper. Various adjustable desk-lights and tablet-holders could be pointed exactly where I needed them. As you can see, I've given this a lot of thought!

I'd also love to get a graphics tablet and play around with digital drawing, as I've been very into painting and sketching in the past.

One item you can't live without?

Just lately, I can't imagine living without post-it notes. It's how we're organising everything on our corkboard at home where we've set up our Scrum 'task radiator' and it's how I'm capturing every task at work too. I've already become known as the woman who cries 'Write it down!' when anyone mentions even the smallest idea. I am also never seen without my pack of multicoloured fineliner pens, with which I make large and elaborate mind maps.

Thanks Sally!

If you enjoyed this you might like our talks, lectures or podcast.