Rachel Healey started teaching herself to code as a hobby during a year spent living in New York. She was working as sub-editor for a fashion magazine at the time, and had been looking for something to study on the side. It turned out to be the right move: “I’ve never looked back from there,” she says.
Today, Rachel has been a developer for around ten years and came on board with Linktree in mid-2020, where she focuses on UX and UI. In her downtime, she’s a foodie who loves to travel, hike and explore the great outdoors. She’s also a mother to a two-year-old son.
To find out more about her path into tech and her work at Linktree, we had a chat with Rachel to get the lowdown.
What made you first want to get into tech?
I think I just have a mathematical brain. I like logic, I like puzzles. I work really well with computers, I work really well with tech.
I was originally studying to be a writer and part of my university course was focussed on sub-editing — I really found myself there. Then when I was teaching myself how to code, I just found it really fun and interesting. It’s an activity you can teach yourself, so there’s never a real limit to how much you can learn. And I just really enjoy it.
“[Coding] is an activity you can teach yourself, so there’s never a real limit to how much you can learn”
Does Linktree feel more diverse than typical tech companies?
Yeah, it really does, in terms of gender. We’ve definitely got more of a balance. In previous companies I’ve worked for, I’ve probably been either the only female dev or one of less than three percent female devs. Linktree feels a lot more balanced.
What was your year in New York like?
I was fresh out of university and looking for something to do, so I went over there for some life experience. It was really fun. I’ve always had the dream of being able to experience different countries and cultures by immersing myself in a city, rather than just visiting and doing the tourist stuff.
There were hard things about it — it was during the GFC so it was hard to find an apartment and a job. But I started with an internship, got to work with people at New York Fashion Week and then struck gold and found a maternity leave position, which was perfect because I had a one-year visa.
The longer I lived there, the more I experienced the different personalities and areas of New York and met some really cool people. I loved it.
You’re a mum. How do you balance family and work?
I’ve found that it’s really important to keep the two as separate as possible. I can’t do any work when my son is around because he just wants to play. He wants to climb up on my lap and climb on my computer.
I really have to set aside play time for him, so there’s some days where we’ll just leave the house and go to a playground and my focus is 100 percent on him. Then other times he’s either asleep or at daycare and then I focus my attention 100 percent on work.
How does Linktree support working parents?
They’re great. Linktree made a point recently of encouraging kids to crash Zoom meetings — they were like, ‘please don’t worry if you’ve got a child in the background, please introduce us!’
There’s been times when I’ve had to stop a meeting because I have a screaming toddler behind me and everybody understands. Everyone’s completely fine with it. We have more than one way of communicating.
And Linktree have been really good about that — they understand that people have kids and that’s just life.
“Linktree made a point recently of encouraging kids to crash Zoom meetings”
What’s your favorite thing about working at Linktree?
It feels like a real family. Everybody’s really supportive and everyone’s ideas are supported. Everyone can bring their own unique skills to the team.
The work has been really interesting as well. And I love that every developer that I’ve worked with here really cares about their work. That makes every other developer’s life easy.