Meet Evelien Rutsaert, Teacher and Freelance Web Developer

Evelien Rutsaert

Name: Evelien Rutsaert
Title: Teacher Graphical and Digital Media & Freelance Web Developer
Education: Bachelor Graphical and Digital Media, New Media Development

Book(s): Meeste mensen deugen - Rutger Bregman (English: Humankind - Rutger Bregman)

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I’m a New Media Development-teacher at the College University Arteveldehogeschool - Ghent-area. I’ve been teaching for around 6 years and I still love it!

Next to teaching I'm self-employed, working as a web developer. I’m married and have two young active daughters and a dog. I’m a chaotic but well organized enthusiastic person with a lot of energy. I think that describes me the best.

What is your job and what does a typical workday look like for you?

I have a very varied job and that is what I love about it. I teach about User Experience, web technology, introductions to frontend development, CMS, and so on...

But my job as a web developer is equally varied. I create new websites or guide companies through their digital experience. That can be creating something online, working with LMS or setting up an e-commerce website.

As a teacher, do you see / hear / notice any misconceptions about coding that keep returning amongst your students?

In my opinion coding is a creative course. If you are able to explore different solutions to a problem, you mostly have the capability to think creatively.

What do you love most and least about your job as teacher?

I love to teach… I teach a lot of practical courses. So feedback is an important part of teaching. And that is ok, but correcting all the projects is so time consuming.

How do you decide what to focus on when you have a broad skill set and broad range of interests?

I try to seperate my decisions or preferences and the preferences of others. If someone is learning something new, that doesn’t mean that I have to learn it. If I want to, then I can, but it will be my decision and not the ‘peer’-pressure. I still think it is important to keep exploring and investigate all the possibilities.

How is the ratio amongst students at the program you're currently teaching? And how many students end up becoming a programmer?

That is difficult to tell.. I mainly teach in the first year, so I don’t really have the statistics.

How do you combine freelance work with teaching? Has covid made any impact on this?

Covid has only had a negative impact on my professional and personal life. It has been a real challenge combining taking care of children (because of the schools closing) and working. It made it difficult to separate it. Because sometimes I'm taking care of my children while working, which results in less productive days, which means I need to work more hours. Which leads to working everyday. The weekdays are similar to the weekend.

What kind of projects do you take on as a freelancer? Can you give an example?

For the moment I’m not taking on any new projects. Life has been really hectic, so I'm trying to take a step back and relax more.

How about when you’re not working? Any hobbies or interests you’d like to tell us about?

Recently I picked up some new hobbies: kickboxing and bouldering, (skill-level: beginner). I only started only 6 months ago, but I never missed a class and I’m still motivated.

I also love to be outdoors with the kids and our dog and playing strategy games. But in the last couple of years it has been difficult to find the time.

Last games I've played: Portal (2), Mini motorways (just beating my brother at every stage is my goal) and Age Of Empires.

Although, I recently picked up Age of Empires again, together with a friend. She comes over, we drink a glass of wine and play a game, a perfect Friday night.

What or who got you initially interested in coding and / or pursuing a career in tech?

My older brother. I started gaming because of him. He was always into computers and gaming. And of course I look up to him. Now he is a java programmer.

If you look back on when you first started out. What advice would you give yourself?

You can not master every skill regarding coding, but step by step you can keep evolving.

Do you have any favourite resources or projects you like to follow?

I like to listen to/look at the tutorials from Wes Bos, he has a dynamic voice, easy to listen to. But I look at a lot of different tutorials. I have a lot of subscriptions.

What made you join the women.code(be) community?

I would love to see more women in the tech industry and I’m all for supporting other women in their journey.

How could the tech industry be more inclusive for women and minorities?

I think if we are able not to label everything from the beginning of a child's life into male or female, that would be a good start.
If we approach a lot of aspects as gender neutral, the tech industry wouldn't look that scary for women.

If time and budget were no obstacle would you be able to think off anything that can already be done to attract more women to the tech industry?

If we could target them earlier, that would have an impact. I think we just need to change the bias of the man, who thinks programming is a man’s job, even though they do not say it, they are still surprised if it is a female programmer.

I was listening to a podcast with IT Woman of the year, Dewi De Vyver, and she was talking about The World Commerce Organization that released a study that girls at the age of 6 already have the feeling that boys are better in math than girls.

We hope you enjoyed Evelien Rutsaert's story, feel free to share this article with your network. ❤️

You can find Evelien on her website.

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