Real Model Interview Episode #2, Chloe Hodgson, Auto Trader

Chloe Hodgson
What attracted you to working in the automotive industry?

To be completely honest, it was more the idea of working for Auto Trader that attracted me at first. I had heard great things about the culture and I knew a few people that had worked here and said it was an amazing place to work. Since working here though, I have realised how many misconceptions there are about working in the automotive industry. When I tell people I work at Auto Trader, the first question I get is almost always “So do you know loads about cars?”. A lot of people don’t realise the number of different roles and areas there are in the automotive industry. It’s not just about knowing the ins and outs of every car, it’s actually a really exciting industry to work in because things are constantly changing and moving forward.

Describe a typical day for you

Every day is different for a software developer which is something I love about the job! Typically though I will start my day at about 8:30 am when I get into the office. I spend some time looking over what I was working on the previous day, and planning what I’m going to work on that day. Then as a team, we have our daily standup, where we discuss where everyone is up to and any problems we may be facing. The rest of the day can vary but usually consists of building new features for our customers, troubleshooting issues and the occasional meeting.

What are your future goals?

Eventually, I would love to take on management responsibilities. I really enjoy working with people and I have been lucky enough to have some amazing managers during my time at Auto Trader that have been a big inspiration for me.

What do you like best about your job?

There are a few things I really love about being a developer. One of them is how varied the work can be. I could be working on a task one day, and then investigating a live issue the next. I very rarely work on the same thing for more than a few days in a row which keeps things really interesting, and also means I’m always learning. Another thing I love is the people that I get to work with. A common stereotype of developers is that we are shy, “geeky” people that sit behind a computer screen all day and don’t talk to anyone. This couldn’t be further from the truth! We wouldn’t be able to do our job if we didn’t have good communication with designers, database engineers, product owners, testers etc. I love this side of the job!

Who in your life has been a major positive influence for you?

I have been lucky enough to have had 2 mentors during my time at Auto Trader, both of whom I consider to be my role models. As a female developer, it can be a little daunting working in such a male-heavy environment, but they are both prime examples of how you can achieve amazing things regardless of your gender.

What has been your biggest achievement in life?

I haven’t technically achieved it yet! I am currently in my final year of a Degree Apprenticeship which has meant working full time alongside completing a degree. It’s been really challenging, but I am so proud of the results I have achieved so far and how far I have come since starting the degree.

Who in the world do you most admire, and why?

My parents. They have always been so supportive of everything I have done and have instilled great values in me and my siblings. My mum also taught me that you don’t have to choose between having a career or a family – she was the higher earner out of my parents and has always been a big inspiration for me.

Which 3 words best describe you?

“Curious, optimistic, likeable” according to my colleagues!

If there is one thing you could change about your life, what would it be?

I would have loved to discover coding earlier than I did. When I left school, I really didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do. I didn’t go to university when all my friends did and instead ended up working in retail and other customer facing roles for a few years. It was during that time that I discovered coding and realised it was something that I would really enjoy doing. At this point going to uni wasn’t really an option for me, as I was already earning a full time wage, so I decided to take the apprenticeship route. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I’m really proud of the path that I took, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder how far in my career I would be now if I had always known that programming was wanted I wanted to do.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

Take up a hobby and stick to it! There are loads of hobbies that I did when I was younger and then quit because I thought they “weren’t cool enough”, but would love to be able to do now!

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