Interview with Rachel Newstead

by Cristina Grant

Rachel is a full stack engineer at Tes and works from her home office in Scotland. When she is not working, you will find Rachel either training for a race (she loves to run!), or exploring the outdoors. Want to get her attention? Just say the word “challenge”.

Rachel Newstead Trail Running

How long have you been doing development? What do you love about it?

I’ve been a software developer since 2011 despite coming from a non-technical background and a history degree! I’ve worked with many different programming languages and across different business domains. I love the fact that every day I get to work on a new and different challenge. One of my favourite things about working at Tes is being ‘full stack’ and getting to implement a new feature from design into live and then hearing my teacher friends talk about using it.

Do you have any hobbies outside work?

When I’m not working I’m usually running in the hills and exploring the trails with friends. Living in Edinburgh is great for being able to head out into the wild easily and there are lots of fell races to enter nearby. My passion is for longer distance trails and over the last few years I’ve started to enter longer races. I blog about my trail running adventures at www.powderach-running.blogspot.co.uk. In the winter months I like to explore the mountains by splitboard (which is the snowboard version of ski touring). We had a terrible winter for snow in Scotland last winter but I’m hoping for better next season.

What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?

Radiohead, Ash, Manic Street Preachers and poppier stuff like Sixpence None The Richer and Savage Garden. Musically I’m still stuck in the 90s; I like the simplicity of the music from then. I also have a slightly obscure penchant for 90s north German hip hop like Fettes Brot and Beginner after a stint working in Hamburg a few years ago!

What inspires you?

Being outside and having adventures in the hills and mountains with friends.

What is the most interesting place you have traveled?

Goatfell Arran

The Isle of Arran which is like Scotland in miniature. It has beautiful beaches and steep hills. I recently did a fell race up and down Goatfell (pictured), the largest hill on the island. It was a beautiful and brutal race! Arran is super accessible by train and ferry from Glasgow. You can take your bike for free on the ferry and cycle round the island (about 55 miles).

What is your favorite food?

I’ve stopped eating meat in the last few years and am really into making vegetable curries and finding interesting recipes using pulses.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • A race called the Ultra Tour Monte Rosa which is a 116km race with 8300m of ascent around the Monte Rosa massif mountain area in Italy and Switzerland. It looks both beautiful and super challenging and starts at the foot of the Matterhorn which I have always wanted to visit.
  • Cycle the Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico. This one will take a lot of time and planning!
  • A splitboard hut to hut tour of the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. This is the classic mountain tour from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, but depends on the snow conditions being just right.

What is your workspace like?

Rachel Newstead's Workspace

Usually I stand on a balance board. Working from my home office it’s difficult to stay active during the day but I find this helps to improve my posture and overall strength. I try to spend some time standing on one foot and doing squats on the board too!