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Glaucia Lemos
Glaucia Lemos

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Sharing my Story: From Public School to the Largest Technology Company in the World

Many people ask me what I did to get into the area of technology and finally land a job at Microsoft, which is one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

Well, yesterday at one of Microsoft's monthly events for Latin Americans called "HOLA DevDiv: Sharing Our Stories", Maira Wenzel asked me to tell my story to the other Latin American's employees. I used that information to write a post about my journey. Since some people have already asked me how I got here, I'd like to tell my story to all of you in this post. So, I hope you have fun!

It all begins in a Public School.

My name is Glaucia Lemos, and I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself and how I got so interested in sharing and learning about technology.
At the middle of 2002, I was in my second year of high school at the Brigadeiro Schorcht State School, a public school located in Taquara, Rio de Janeiro.

  • Picture: Brigadeiro Schorcht Public School

Brigadeiro Schorcht School picture

After my classes, which were usually in the morning, one of the things I liked best was going to the computer lab in the afternoon. I had already taken a basic computer class, which included the well-known classes on Windows, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. And I have always been eager to learn new things.

When I was in middle school, the director of my school noticed how good I was with computers and how much I liked them. She asked me and another student to be "teachers" for the Basic Computer Course classes that were held in that lab for the local community.

I agreed right away, of course! The other student taught PowerPoint and Excel, and I taught Windows and Word. But when the computer coaching classes were over, another student and I used the time to go online (using a dial-up connection) and play a game on a floppy disk called "Carmen San Diego." I asked myself during the game, "How does this game work behind the scenes?" How does this game's moving, changing of stages, and everything else work? Anyway, to sum up, the game and the questions it raised made me want to learn more about something that wasn't important to me before.

At the end of that afternoon, I told myself, "This is what I want to work with, and I will fight for it!" (When I was 15)

Persisting in the dream, with a lot of struggle!

And that is exactly what I did. But it took a long time to get to the first chance in the technology field. From 2004 to 2011, I worked selling agendas door-to-door to help my parents. It was a dark time because my father had been unemployed for months and couldn't bring food, so I had to do this work. I also worked selling capitalization and insurance titles, as an administrative and financial assistant, and as a travel agent before I joined a technology company.

When I got that last job as a travel agent, my salary went up, and I was finally able to pay for a Private University in Tech degree, which I got between 2011 and 2013 (Technologist in Analysis and Systems Development at Faculdades Integradas de Jacarepaguá College). This time made me even more sure that I wanted to work with Computer/Technology. I started college in February 2011, and I remember it like it was yesterday: in class 1103, there were more than 43 people, and the room was too crowded. Since so many people wanted to take the technology class, there weren't enough seats.

  • Picture: An Tech event happening in the FIJ Faculty

One of the fully classes at Faculdades Integradas de Jacarepaguá in 2011

  • Picture: my class 1103. Totally fully!

One of the fully classes at Faculdades Integradas de Jacarepaguá in 2011

However, as the years went by, that number kept going down. When I finally graduated from college in mid-December 2013, I was the first person in my immediate family to get a university degree. You might have asked, "But Glaucia, how many other people graduated with you?" Well, a few days before the graduation and diploma gathering, the head of the college where I studied called me and told me that I would be representing the undergraduate class in Analysis and Systems Development that year. I have to say that the invitation took me by surprise.

  • Picture: FIJ Faculty

Faculdades Integradas Jacarepaguá picture

On the day of the graduation, I was surprised to find that there were only three people there. I was the only girl there. That means that only three people out of the more than 43 people in that class made it to the end. I was the only girl there. At that moment, I understood why I had been picked to give the graduation speech for my class. It's sad to see that so few people made it to the end, especially since I was the only girl graduating at that moment!

In my graduation speech, I talked about a quote from Steve Jobs that means a lot to developers: "Stay hungry and stay foolish." In our job, we do need a constant desire to learn new things. And if we learn something, we should always be humble enough to share that information with others.

  • Picture: Me in the day of the Graduation Speech

Me in the day of the graduation speech

During that speech, a lot went through my mind. I thought about getting up every day at 6:30 am to go to work in downtown Rio de Janeiro, taking the busy train, and being on time at work at 9 am. And then I had to leave downtown Rio de Janeiro at 5:30 p.m. to take the bus to Taquara. I got there right on time at 7 p.m. for college, where I studied until 10 p.m. I finally went home at 11 p.m. to sleep before starting a new day. All of this, plus having to work on my own to pay for college because my parents couldn't afford it. Was it tiring? I won't say it wasn't, because it was. It was hard and took a lot of work for three years. But it was totally worth it in the end!

  • Picture: Me taking the train in the rainy day in the Marechal Hermes Station around 7h30 a.m to the Rio de Janeiro downtown

Me taking the train to the downtown in the rain day

Conversations about travel and the first opportunity in Technology

As soon as I finished from college, I was still working as a travel and exchange agent (at Casa Aliança). Then, a customer who wanted to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina, came to buy dollars. I gave her a lot of advice on places to go and restaurants to eat at because I had been to Buenos Aires on vacation that same year. Then I noticed that the girl I was giving advice to was wearing a suit from a tech company. At the end of the tips, I asked her if she worked for the company whose outfit she was wearing. She said, "Yes, Glaucia." "Yes, I work at that tech company." That was how I started. I told her, "Look, I graduated from college last week. I just finished an advanced course in C#. "Are there any internships or junior developer positions available?"

So, she said, "Glaucia, you are talking to the right person!" "The company just posted a job opening for a C# Junior Developer, and I work in the HR and hiring department." "Leave your resume with me, and I'll set up the interview for the following week, as soon as I get back from my trip."

And you probably already know what happened next! The interview went well! And 10 days after that, I was living my first dream: working as a junior worker in technology and making R$1,580.00 per month (around USD 316.00). But I was very thrilled!

Achieving another dream - living in another country!

  • Picture: Mom and me in Puerto Madero, Argentina. Mom was visiting me in that occasion.

Mom and me in Puerto Madero. Mom was visiting me that occasion in BsAs

I worked there for a year, from December 2013 to December 2014 in the TopDown Sistemas Company. I quit because I wanted to follow another dream of mine, which was to work in the technology area in another country. And Argentina was the country I chose! I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in February 2015 to pursue a chance in technology and do charity work in the Chinese community. I had been learning Mandarin (Chinese) for 9 years. I kept doing the work I was already doing as a volunteer in Brazil. In May 2015, after I had moved in and gotten the papers I needed, I got my first international job at one of Argentina's biggest international technology companies GlobalLogic. And that was one of the best things I've ever happened with me. The language, Spanish, didn't stop me because I was already taking Spanish classes with a friend and spoke the local language every day.

  • Picture: DNI Documentation for foreigners who want to work legally in Argentina

DNI Documentation - a permission to work at Argentina

My first love: MEAN Stack!

I was given a job that needed someone who knew the business rules for insurance (something I had worked with before) and had more C# knowledge (something I already had, since I had worked at the company in Rio de Janeiro for a year). The project began in May 2015 and went through August 2015. When the first job was done, there was a new challenge: learning a new stack to help move a project from Java to Node.js. I didn't know what Node.js was. But I took the challenge and starting studying very hard!

But I tend to be methodical person. When I learn something new, I like to share what I'm learning. So, since August 2013, I've had a YouTube account and a blog post on WordPress. And it was the same thing to learn Node.js. I started writing a lot about the stack, and for some reason, it started to become well-known in Brazil. The project took three months to finish. After getting there in December 2015, I went back to Brazil.

Returning to Brazil...

As soon as I got back to Brazil, I met Fernanda Saraiva. But she works here at Microsoft, she saw how much I wrote about Node.js, and got in touch with me.

Objective? She liked both the YouTube videos and the blog posts I had made about Node.js. She asked me if I would like to join the MVP Program (Microsoft Value Professional) because Microsoft was starting to make more articles about using Azure with JavaScript. Also, she needed more women's in the MVP Program.

We hadn't many women who spoke about JavaScript in that occasion. So, she asked me to come to be part of the MVP Program. She guided me for six months, and in April 2017 I started in the MVP Program.

  • Picture: Mom and me. The day that I received the MVP award package

Me and mom with the MVP award

Be part of the MVP Program it was great and a game-changer for me. Even though I had been in other University groups, like Business 4 Students and MSP (which is now MSLA, or Microsoft Student Learn Ambassadors), the MVP Program is a more integrated way to organize, create, and show and mainly share your knowledge for the Community.

My First Talks about... TypeScript!

Cynthia Zanoni saw some of the TypeScript videos I made for my YouTube channel in August 2017. She liked it so much that she asked me to give a talk on the topic for her NGO, WoMakersCode! In that occasion I participated in other presencial events talking about TypeScript. But in particular, the talk that I made for the WoMakersCode YouTube Channel it was a huge change for my life, and I will never forget it! I remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday! From then on, we became closer, and in 2018, she asked me to join the WoMakersCode organization as a volunteer and staff member.And I liked the idea and real goals of the group so much that I am now the Vice President of WoMakersCode.

  • My first talk in the WoMakersCode YouTube Channel in 10/2017

WoMakersCode is an nonprofit organization with intention to empower even more women's in the STEM. The organization's major goal is to: "Their initiatives support women, who wish to get an opportunity or specialize in careers related to technology and innovation, to have opportunities for technical training and employability." More than 250.000 women in Brazil, Chile, and North America have already gotten help from the non-profit.

Moving to Australia... but something happened!

I got a job offer from a financial company in Adelaide, Australia, to be a Software Engineer. I had my passport, my visa, my English test, and my plane ticket all ready to go. Everything! Around October 2018, this happened. Cynthia Zanoni found out I was leaving Brazil and told me, "Glaucia, I don't want to lose you to the foreign market! I'll recommend you for a job on my team that would be great for you."

And the job was there and still is! It was a job at Microsoft as a Cloud Advocate, which was just more of what I was already doing in the technical community: writing articles, making videos, and giving talks about JavaScript/TypeScript related to Azure services. The only difference is that I would get paid to do it!

So I didn't think twice and went for the interview! It happened in Sao Paulo during Microsoft Ignite 2018. I did well in each of the five rounds of the interviews. I turned down the other job offer in Australia and took on my current work as a Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. On March 13, 2019, I began. And I am still here today!

  • Picture: me visiting the Microsoft Headerquarters in Redmond (05/2019)

Me at the Microsoft Build in Redmond

Final Words

What can I say to everyone who is reading this story? Nobody has an easy life. But if you are driven and passionate about what you do, you can get to places you never thought you could reach.

Notice that I've always liked sharing what I know, even when I was young. I shared what I knew, even if it was just a little bit. Everyone should know that the best way to help other people is to share what you know. And that was a very important part of:

  • Meeting new people: When you share what you know, you help other people and make connections with people who might be able to help you in the future. See what happened to me the first time I had the chance? I was able to build a friendship with the person because I gave them travel tips, and they helped me get my first job as a coder!

  • Patience and being humble are the two most important things in life. Everything, and I mean everything, rests on these two words. Start by setting small goals! And as you reach them, you will be able to set bigger goals. But always keep in mind that no matter what you do for a living, you will have to deal with people. And being humble is the best way to deal with other people. Also, learn to listen well!

  • Persistence: I would not be where I am today if I had given up when I was the only woman to get my degree that year. So, women, even though you are in the minority and it is still very bad that there aren't more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), don't give up. And don't listen to people who say things like, "She can't solve it." Or: "She doesn't understand how to do this." I've heard a lot of these horrible comments, and it makes me sad. Do not give up! Always do good. Show you know, but do it in a humble way. And if you know, tell others! Because someone, maybe even someone you don't know, will always notice that about you. And that same person can take you to places you never thought you'd go, but don't give up! Always keep going!

So, that's the end of my story about a person who got interested in technology because of a floppy disk game when I was 15, went to public school in my whole life, and now works at one of the biggest technology companies in the world. Pure luck? No. Absolutely not! How did I get to this place? I love what I do, I love helping people, and I love sticking with things. So, don't give up, folks!

Thank you, Maira for invite me yesterday! Sharing our picture that we took in the last time that I saw you face to face!

  • Picture: Maira Wenzel (from the .NET DevDiv Team), Fernanda Saraiva (from the Next Gen Team), Cynthia Zanoni (from the Next Gen Team) and me in the DevRel Camp in Seattle (02/2020)

Maira, Fernanda, Cynthia and me at DevRel Camp 2020 in Redmond

Top comments (16)

minipowers profile image

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for sharing your story. It has been incredibly captivating and enlightening. Your experiences have shed light on the importance of education and the impact it can have on one's life. Hearing your journey has further solidified my belief in the power of knowledge and learning. Your story serves as a testament to the transformative nature of education. For those seeking assistance with their writing for nurses I highly recommend the service of proffessional writers. Their expertise and professionalism can truly elevate your academic work. All this things inspired me to continue seeking knowledge and striving for personal growth.

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

Thank you so much for you kind words! And I hope, one day, to make Master Degree to teach in some University or College to help even more people - especially women to come for the STEM!

demostenesbr profile image
Demóstenes Muniz Brito

Congratulations Glaucia, your post is an inspiration for many people to find and continue to pursue the path of career progress in IT. Don't forget your past, do your best today and always so that your future is even brighter.
Let's keep pushing, success to you!

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

Thank you, Demóstenes! :)

danilocdesousa profile image
Danilo de Sousa

Hi Glaucia. Thank you for sharing your story, which is inspiring.

Only one person in my Computer Science class graduated on time. An interesting detail is that this one person who graduated is a girl in a majority-male class.

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

WOW! Danilo, I really appreciate your kind words. Wow, the same thing happened to me!

sandraahlgrimm profile image
Sandra Ahlgrimm

Inspiring story! Thanks for sharing!

Btw. “Public schools” are harder to get in in Germany. As they are (almost) free but have the better paid personal, everyone wants to go to them.
Private schools are for the ones who didn’t performed that well before (but at least their parents have money 😵‍💫😅)

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

Here in Brazil the Public School (provided by the Brazilian government a few them are good: the Federal one's) the the other one's not too much. It's a different reality. Thanks, Sandra

wassimchegham profile image
Wassim Chegham

Thank you so much Glaucia for sharing your story. Incredibly inspiring. I'm glad to have you as a colleague and a friend. You rock 🎉

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

Thank you, Wassim. Have you in any Team is a privilege! I learn every moment with you. 🥲

amdfd profile image
Amanda Falcão

Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story with us! I wish you all the best, Glaucia!

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos

Thank you so much, Amanda!

codecrusader profile image
Backend Developer

Hy Man I'dlike to connect with you on Linkdlen

glaucia86 profile image
Glaucia Lemos


easbarba profile image
EAS Barbosa

Muito fera.