This week, I published Sandra Parsick's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Hooked on video games by her cousin, at the age of 12, Sandra found herself selling newspapers to pay for her first computer. And that is when her "family computer support career" started. In high school, Sandra took Java programming classes, which set her up on the path she has been on since.
- Sandra went through a computer science degree and started working as a QA-Engineer. After one year, she strong-armed herself into a software engineer position and never left it since. But this year has been incredibly valuable. She kept this testing mindset, and it has served her well in creating robust software that other QA-Engineers cannot break easily.
- When you repeatedly start your application to test it manually, you would be better off having automated it. This is one of the good things Test Driven Development is bringing us. And don't forget that you can refactor those tests as well 😉
- Early in her career, Sandra was mentored by Jürgen, a colleague who took a keen interest in seeing her grow.
- When Sandra left the startup she worked for and joined a bigger corporation, she missed the heavy exchange about tech. That's when communities entered her life, first via the Softwerkskammer. It was her way to find "other Jürgens."
- Sandra then started sharing her knowledge amongst those communities: "Sharing my knowledge was like a test, to know if I understood it."
- Her first conference talk involved a lot of live coding. After a failed experience with no internet connectivity, she moved toward video recordings for those live codings. Then she can also describe what is happening instead of concentrating on writing the right code.
- Since then, Sandra has held many talks, co-organized conferences, and been on conference committees. But she also started writing articles. This process helps her "structure her thoughts." I agree with this. I usually start with a few tweets, write about a topic on my blog, craft a short talk, then an article, and finally an extended presentation. Each step is valuable in itself!
- "Say yes to everything, be open-minded to try out as much as you can, make your own opinion and decide if you want to repeat the experience."
- When I asked Sandra if she has a roadmap for herself, she answered that she knows what she doesn't want to do. But for the rest...
- "Whatever you do, it is rarely a one-way street"
- "Listen to your seniors and ask why"
- "When I sail, my laptop stays at home, and my phone is off, and it is awesome"
- "When I come back from a sailing trip, I have so many ideas for talks and articles"
Thanks, Sandra, for sharing your story with us!
Did you listen to her story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?