Coder’s fun turns into a digital career

DIGITAL SKILLS: Julie Misson has been developing apps for the health sector and writing code for more than 30 years. Picture: NONI HYETT
DIGITAL SKILLS: Julie Misson has been developing apps for the health sector and writing code for more than 30 years. Picture: NONI HYETT

What started as a hobby for Julie Misson in the 1980s has continued for more than 30 years.

The Bendigo grandmother writes code for digital applications and has been honing her skills since the 1980s.

The 56-year-old enjoys coding so much that she has been developing apps for the health sector.

“It started ages ago, in the 80s, when the computer was just a black screen with green writing,” she said.

“It was just a hobby but I continued on with it over the years and for a while was building databases for small businesses.

“While I was working in health I could see a need in developing apps for (that sector).”

As well as refining her own coding skills, Ms Misson has also taught the basics to her 15-year-old niece and other ladies she works with.

“My friends and family who know me think it’s no surprise that they see me trying something new,” she said.

“It keeps the brain active. I’m someone who won’t let my mind tire. I get bored sitting around watching Netflix – there’s always time to do something.”

Currently, Ms Misson is creating an app for occupational therapists to help people in chronic pain conduct rehabilitation themselves.

She is also working on one that helps palliative carers learn to use equipment needed to look after their patients.

“It’s amazing. Computers have finally caught up to what I thought they should be at,” Ms Misson said. “Where it will go in the future will be interesting.”

Ms Misson said when people think of coding and computers, their attitude is a similar to cars.

But her enjoyment comes from learning the language that comes with coding.

“Like cars, people think that computers just work,” she said. “It is logic based but I like learning the (coding language). I taught myself from books, and more recently, the internet.

“I use C-Sharp and Xaml (coding) language. Also, GitHub is an open-source I use a lot. It’s kind of an open forum for code. Anybody can contribute to it and it is very good to check what you have written is correct.”