Software Engineer & Comp. Sci. graduate, writing about professional development, being a woman in tech, and all things coding. https://www.elletownsend.co.uk
Laptop on top of a white desk, with code on the screen, next to an orange mug, a cactus and a black lamp
Laptop on top of a white desk, with code on the screen, next to an orange mug, a cactus and a black lamp
Photo by Rich Tervet on Unsplash

While trying to level-up my front-end programming and JavaScript skills, I ran out of ideas for things to create, and I wanted to learn more about making API calls. I thought, what better way than to create some little projects with fun APIs? I don’t know about you, but I found it a little tricky to get my head around all the interactions at first, but getting stuck in and having a go helped me to understand how it all works.

I wanted to share some of my favourite APIs to play around with, in case any of you are looking to have a practice or want to learn more about the wonderful world of APIs. …


Mistakes I made when starting my blog, and the things you can do to avoid them.

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Photo by Domenico Loia on Unsplash

There are so many things I wish I knew when I started blogging, and I definitely made a fair few mistakes starting out. Looking back after a whole year of consistent blogging, I wanted to give some insight into 5 mistakes I made when I first started my blog (and tips on how to avoid them).

Be Original & Be Yourself

It’s easy when you first start out to slip into creating content that imitates popular trends or writers with thousands of reads.

Reading the work of others is a great way to pick up new writing techniques and popular blog formatting styles. However, there is a huge difference between writing about similar content or topics and outright copying, and you should be aware of the difference and make sure to keep yourself in check. …


When Setting Goals, Bigger Isn’t Always Better

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Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

As we make a start to the new year, many people will begin with setting goals for the year ahead. While I am all for dreaming big and laying foundations for what you want to achieve in the next 365 days, putting big expectations on yourself and holding yourself to big picture goals can actually be holding you back.

When it comes to outlining what you want to accomplish, having big goals is a great motivator, and they can help you stay focused and guide you towards where you want to be. …


Stay curious, stay focused, stay true to yourself. 5 Important learnings from my first 100 days in tech.

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Photo by Nathan da Silva on Unsplash

In September, I took my next step and started my first job in tech. As of this December, I will have officially been “in” the tech industry for 100 days. Here are the 5 most important things I learnt in my first 100 days in tech.

There Is Always Something More To Learn

I can be quite a shy person at times, but this is usually only to my own detriment. Starting out in your first job in tech, don’t be afraid to speak to people, be curious and ask questions. If you’re starting as a junior, nobody should expect you to be an expert, so being shy and not asking questions won’t get you anywhere. Ask why does it work like that? Why do we do that in this way? You are new to the team and how they work, so ask the other experienced developers. …


Everything you need to know to become a master of APIs.

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APIs are incredibly powerful and exciting tools that make up a large part of modern technology. Knowing what they are and how to use them is a vital skill that every developer should have in their arsenal.

What is an API?

Put plainly, an API (or Application Programming Interface’) is an intermediary software that allows for communication between two applications. Think of them like a waiter; you sit down at a restaurant and order some food from the menu (you are an application), you convey your order request to the waiter (the API), who then communicates your request for food (data) to the kitchen (the second application). When your food (data) is ready, the waiter (the API) brings it straight to your table. …


Overcome the fears, do the thing, and start a blog.

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Bit meta to be writing a blog post about writing a blog, but here we are.

Recently, I have been thinking about why I started blogging, and reflecting on my motivations and intentions for deciding to write semi-monthly blog posts. Hopefully this also convinces you to start a blog too.

When people talk about blogging, one of the first topics to come up is always motivation. “What is my motivation to start blogging”, “ what are my ‘blogging values’?” …


Passion projects can propel your success.

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Photo by Clément H on Unsplash

Side projects aren’t what they used to be. It doesn’t have to be about starting your own business or founding the next big tech start up. Side projects are an excellent way to create a body of work and experience outside of your day-to-day. What better way to facilitate personal development than through passion projects and continuous learning of things that make you happy!

These projects come into a whole new light when you’re job hunting. Being able to show a range of personal work that highlights not only your interests, but your coding abilities too, sounds like a perfect recipe for a portfolio! …


Elle’s Declassified Grad Scheme Application Survival Guide Part II

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

I’m back with another grad job post for students! This time I wanted to focus on giving some tips and advice for getting the most out of your university’s careers service. From my experience, utilising the careers service helped me not only improve my employability, but also find work experience opportunities and figure out what I wanted to do after graduating.

Know What You Need

My first piece of advice would be to work out what you want. Before you book an appointment to see a careers advisor, think about what it is you are looking to get out of the meeting. Do you need help with your CV? Have you made a CV yet? Do you need employability advice? Have an interview coming up and don’t know how to prep? …


Tips for Starting a Job Remotely.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In these troubling and uncertain times, I went through the strange experience of staring a new job. Video call fatigue is already setting in as I feel like I am hitting the world record for total clocked time in a teams call (bit of an over-exaggeration, but thats how it feels). …


Elle’s Declassified Grad Scheme Application Survival Guide.

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Photo by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash

Securing a graduate job after your final year of university is one step closer to the rest of your life. If the time is right, you’re probably in your final year of university, you have coursework to submit, group projects to agonise over and a dissertation to write. You’re just starting to think about what comes next and where to even start with graduate job applications. I know this is an extremely daunting process to go through, and I want to share all the advice here that I wish I could give to my past self before I started applying for grad jobs. …

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