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Cover image for Lara Martin went from biologist to Flutter GDE... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney
Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ
Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at timbourguignon.fr

Lara Martin went from biologist to Flutter GDE... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney

This week, I published Lara Martin's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • Lara started learning to code, to better understand what her partner was doing during his day job. She took online courses and got help from her partner to ease into it. Him coaching her, had a bonding effect and helped them cope with the loneliness of expatriation from Spain to Germany.
  • In Spain there is the expectation that you work in the field you studied. So in Lara's case: biology. So even though she wasn't sure about the biology part, she felt she had to continue on this path. She found an online master's degree combining biology and computer science... which proved being more statistics than coding. Her final project was a website displaying statistical biological data. But it is during a interview that she finally realized that she wanted to build things, and not work in biology. That was the missing piece for her to be really happy!
  • She came to the software industry as a QA-Engineer. Again, she went the online-course route. She found a website on which she could train as a QA-Engineer, do manual and exploratory testing, write reports etc. And she brought her stats to the table when applying for QA jobs afterwards, to show how much homework she had been doing! And the company which ended up hiring her, did so because of the amount of online courses and effort she put into getting in shape for the role. This was the mindset they were looking for!
  • On the day Lara started her new QA role, she attended a Meetup Android Study-Group. As soon as she had written her first lines, she thought: "this is cool"!
  • Lara then worked for 1 year as a QA Engineer in a mobile team building iOS and Android apps. She was thus able to observe the developers in her team and learn a lot about development, while train her development skills at home, taking online courses and (Google) certifications. It took her a year to finally attempt the jump to write code for a living.
  • She then asked her manager to switch roles but nothing happened for months. It took a tweet telling her followers that she was looking for a dev-job to finally move the needle.
  • The first time Lara saw Flutter, it was the speed of the developer inner loop that she felt in love with. And in order to learn Flutter, Lara created... a study group meetup :D
  • There are many many kinds of GDEs (Google Developer Experts). It is the pendant to the MVP (Most Valuable Professionals) awards from Microsoft. Lara didn't expect to be nominated, and even less to go through the recruitment program. But she did!
  • With her nomination, Lara wanted to push representation of women in the industry. It is still not there yet, but it's getting better.
  • Lara used to have real stage fright. She was very uncomfortable speaking 5 min in front of people she knew. When the instructor of her Flutter study-group went on vacation, she had to step up... in front of 50 people. But piece by piece, she realized she loved the public speaking exercise.
  • One of Lara's mid-term goals is to work remotely. In order to do so, she is working on being more independent in her work.

Advice:

  • Find someone that support your ideas, an ally, who can help you remove the pressure of the outside world and concentrate on your learning/work.

Quotes:

  • "I am addicted to learning"

Thanks Lara for sharing your story with us!

lariki image

You can find the full episode and the shownotes on devjourney.info or directly here on DEV.

Did you listen to her story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?

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