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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Growing my passion for iOS development: Challenging assumptions, exploring new possibilities and caring wildly

Dalia Danila, Lead iOS Engineer at Bloom & Wild

Bloom & Wild flowers

Dalia Danila is a lead iOS Engineer at Bloom & Wild, the UKs most-loved online florist and a certified B-Corporation, which links to the companys commitment to caring wildly and doing business differently, as well as for good. She studied computer science in her native country, Romania, pursuing an internship and part time coding roles whilst finishing her degree. Dalia moved to the UK with her husband in 2014 and has worked for clients like Joe Wicks, KPMG and Greene King before joining Bloom & Wild in 2020 as a senior iOS developer, and then being promoted to lead iOS engineer in 2023.

Dalia Danila - Bloom & Wild
Dalia Danila

The tech industry serves a global audience with diverse needs and preferences, so a team that reflects that diversity will be better equipped to design and develop products that resonate with a wider range of users. Diverse teams will also be more likely to consider factors like cultural context, accessibility, and varying technological capabilities.”

From Romania to the UK

I studied computer science in Iași, Romania. My first summer job was in customer support, filling questions from PwC employees across France and Algeria. (You could say it was a bit like a crash course in using my French and English language skills under pressure, but I rose to the occasion!)

The thing that sparked my passion for coding was an internship in mobile development and soon after I landed a part time job whilst I was still finishing my degree. I graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and then, together with my husband, we embarked on a new adventure in the UK.

Since arriving, I’ve had the privilege of developing apps across different industries like automotive, housing, sports, hospitality and now e commerce. I’ve worked on projects for amazing clients like KPMG, Castleton Technology, Joe WicksGreene King, before joining Bloom & Wild and building my career there, which feels incredibly rewarding.

A truly unique place to work

Bloom & Wild is a UK-based flower and gift brand and the pioneer of letterbox flowers. Care is something that’s embedded into every part of the business, guiding everything the brand does. From being B Corp certified, to its thoughtful marketing practices and only sending flowers as the freshest buds; carefully packed and ready to bloom for arrangements that last. You can easily order via the website or app.

Bloom & Wild’s company culture is truly unique. This is the workplace where I feel most valued and supported from the leadership down, but what I appreciate most is the team spirit. Everyone is passionate about continuous improvement and learning from experiences. This focus on both individual and company growth makes it a truly inspiring place to work.

Day-to-day role

On a day-to-day basis, I work closely with product and other stakeholders to understand requirements, translate them into actionable development tasks and estimate timelines, as well as allocating resources.

Dalia Danila - Bloom & WildI manage risks and troubleshoot different technical issues that may arise during development. I research and implement new technology to improve the functionality of apps. (It helps that we receive one learning and development day per quarter to focus on learning something new.) I also participate in daily stand-up meetings and team discussions to keep everyone informed on progress and roadblocks.

I delegate tasks and projects based on workload, do code reviews to ensure quality and adhere to best practices, and I also make periodic up releases to the AppStore. Recently, I contributed to the strategic planning for the application’s future development, and I’m now interviewing for hiring a new iOS developer for the team.

Importance of diversity of thought in tech

Diversity of thought is vital, in tech in particular because I think a room full of people who think similarly is less likely to generate groundbreaking ideas. When people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives come together, they challenge assumptions and explore new possibilities and so this can lead to creating more solutions, as well as more innovative products.

Complex problems require a multifaceted approach. Diverse teams bring a wider range of skills, knowledge, and viewpoints to the table, allowing them to identify potential blind spots and approach challenges from different angles, ultimately leading to more robust solutions.

The tech industry serves a global audience with diverse needs and preferences, so a team that reflects that diversity will be better equipped to design and develop products that resonate with a wider range of users. Diverse teams will also be more likely to consider factors like cultural context, accessibility, and varying technological capabilities.

Team collaboration, functionality, user experience

Developing iOS (or Android) app goes beyond just coding. It combines design, functionality, user experience, and efficient back-end systems. By having different specialists like UI/UX (user interface/user experience) designers, testers, and back-end developers on the team, everyone can contribute their expertise at each stage of development. This ensures a more polished and well-rounded final product.

During collaboration, discussions between developers and other team members can ensure that planned features are realistic and feasible within the project timeline and technical constraints. This helps to avoid project delays. Unlike web applications, where fixes can be deployed instantly, mobile apps do not own the release process and distribution, so they require a review process by Apple or Google before reaching users. This takes around a day or less.

There are a few reasons why catching issues early in the development process is critical for apps. The first of them is delayed fixes. Even a minor bug identified after release can take time to reach users. Some users might have automatic updates disabled, leaving them with a faulty version until they manually update.

Bloom & Wild screenshotAnother reason is the importance of proactive testing. By involving testers and designers early on, usability features, usability issues, potential bugs, and design functionality mismatches can be identified. This allows developers to fix them before the app reaches the review stage, minimising the time users are exposed to any potential problems.

Another reason is the efficiency boost. If you’re catching issues early it saves valuable time and resources, as fixing bugs after release requires additional development work, review processes, and potentially another way for users to update.

Sparking curiosity and finding your ideal career in technology

Tech is a vast field with many specialisations. My advice to people who are interested in tech careers would be to take some time to explore different areas like software development, data science, cyber security, UX, UI design, or maybe even technical writing or finance. There are online resources, quizzes, and even free introductory courses to help you discover what sparks your curiosity.

It’s a good idea if you try to look for connections to your hobbies. For example, do you love video games? Then maybe game development is a good fit. Or if you are a photography enthusiast, you could try to explore image processing or editing software tools. I think finding a tech field that aligns with your existing interests can make learning more engaging.

I have a tech degree, but this is only my path. I know developers who are self-taught and are very good at their jobs. They learned all by themselves. There are many free online resources and coding boot camps that can help teach you the fundamentals of programming languages like Python or JavaScript. Even basic coding knowledge can open doors to various tech fields.

Another thing I’d say is don’t wait for the perfect job to start gaining experience. Many companies offer freelance gigs or volunteer projects that can help you build your skills and portfolio. I’d also say try to contribute to open-source projects because the open-source software community welcomes contributions from all levels and it’s such a great way to learn from experienced developers and collaborate on real-world projects.

Bloom & Wild screenshot with borderLastly, try to follow tech influencers and companies on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Engage in discussions, ask questions, and participate in online communities related to your tech interests. Look for local meet-ups or conferences focused on tech topics. These events are excellent opportunities to learn from industry experts, network with potential employers and stay up to date on the latest trends.

 How the Womanthology community can engage

I’m happy to get in contact with the Womanthology community if readers have any questions around getting into tech, advice on interviews, iOS development etc. People can connect with me and message me on LinkedIn.

Coming up next

At Bloom & Wild we’re buzzing about a new user experience we’re designing for the app’s core journey. It’s a fantastic opportunity to simplify things for our users while simultaneously boosting their experience. We’re not just excited about the project itself, but we’re also about to welcome our new iOS developer on board soon. Their addition will be instrumental and ideally, it will pave the way for further team growth.

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