The end of the beginning

Posted on by Lori and Amalia

Categories: blog and student posts

Sometimes endings are really beginnings. We are finishing the summer of code, but the truth is this is the beginning of our tech career. This summer has been a way for us to see what it would be like to work full time as developers. We experienced working as part of a team, and it normalized what being a developer really meant.

Amalia and Lori working

Lori and Amalia at Thoughtworks (image by Amalia Cardenas)

What we learned this summer

Apart from the technical skills we gained this summer, we also emerged more confident. We went from feeling ashamed that we didn’t understand something to thinking, “we don’t understand it, yet”. This is an important mind shift. One needs to be comfortable with not knowing something, especially in tech. We learned that since technologies evolve and change every year it is important to get comfortable with not always knowing the answers.

Aside from the technical training and support we were given in git, TDD, Ruby and Rails we were also taught agile methods. From day one our coaches guided us in agile practices. Over time we recognized that beyond buzzwords, it is also a manner of thinking: we do the best we can with the information we have. When we get more information (experiences and reflection on our experiences through retrospectives) we do better. This commitment to constant reflection, feedback and improvement, created a growth environment. This has had a positive effect on even the way we organize our work at Codebar.

We also learned how to build and maintain connections between team members, especially since we were distributed in different countries across different time zones. We were lucky to meet the Exercism team in person at the beginning of the summer. The long dinners, chats over early morning coffee, and bouldering created a bond between us that will endure long after the summer.

Katrina, Jeremy, Lori, Amalia, Nicole, and Karlo at the launch of Exercism

Katrina, Jeremy, Lori, Amalia, Nicole, and Karlo at the launch of Exercism (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Finally, we learned that environment matters. In our host company, Thoughtworks Barcelona we found an environment where we were able to thrive. From the first day, our coaches addressed us as developers and the community at large welcomed us as their equals. We felt included in everything from social events, office- wide meetings, and tech talks. Because of the encouragement, belief and inclusiveness we morphed into developers.

Thank yous

We want to thank our mentors. First of all we would like to thank Katrina. It was awesome to see her program in Brighton. Her response to our awe was priceless: “I have been doing this for over 10 years: you’ll get there.” She also sent us GitHub stickers and hoodies.

Amalia and Lori sporting their GitHub hoodies

Amalia and Lori sporting their GitHub hoodies (image by Amalia Cardenas)

We also want to thank our second mentor Jeremy and team members Nicole and Karlo. Working with you has been a bonus this summer. Jeremy’s explained complex parts of the codebase via Slack in a way that was informative and fun. Nicole helped us ramp-up on the research supporting the evolution of the Exercism platform. Karlo gave us quick code snippets. All of you made us feel like a part of the team.

Our Coaches: David, Emily, Javier, Klaus, Maikha, Nacho, Jorge

We had the most amazing coaches in the history of the world. Words seem inadequate to express how much they have given us. Their official role was coach, but they also acted as a mentors and friends. They encouraged us when we were down, uplifting us with wit, humor, and hugs. In particular,

David We asked you to become a coach, you became as a mentor and a friend. You believed in us before we believed in ourselves. There are no words to describe the gratitude we feel for having you in our lives. Thank you.

David, Lori and Amalia after a long work day

David, Lori and Amalia after a long work day (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Emily Our advocate and role model. You planted a seed and helped us keep our eyes on the prize. We are on our way thanks to you.

Amalia, Emily and Lori enjoying the last days of the program.

Amalia, Emily and Lori enjoying the last days of the program (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Javier You took terrifying concepts and made them fun for us. Thanks for the TDD sessions and explaining YAGNI.

Lori, Javi and Amalia calming their nerves before the lunch and learn

Lori, Javi and Amalia calming their nerves before the lunch and learn (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Jorge What a lesson on inceptions! You stayed late. You came early. Your genuine care for us was evident. Thank you.

Jorge, Lori and Amalia during an early morning session

Jorge, Lori and Amalia during an early morning session (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Klaus Thank you for the session on landing our dream tech job. Thank you for the roadmap. Your commitment to inclusivity (at the office, at the Full Stack Fest) opens doors for people.

Amalia, Klaus and Amalia at a training session

Amalia, Klaus and Amalia at a training session (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Maikha (to us “Magic Maikha”). You are beacon of peace, tranquility and strength. We are lucky to have worked with you. You are going to change the world as you have changed ours.

Maikha and Amalia after a retrospective

Maikha and Amalia after a retrospective (image by Amalia Cardenas)

Nacho (to us “The Nach”). Thank you for your empathy. You always knew what to say when we didn’t know we needed to hear it. Your teaching skills are impeccable.

Nacho, Lori and Amalia after a long days work

Nacho, Lori and Amalia after a long days work(image by Amalia Cardenas)

Our coaching company ThoughtWorks, BCN

This summer we were hosted by the Barcelona office of ThoughtWorks. There we found an incredible community of people. We were inspired by the breadth and depth of their knowledge. Although our stay was temporary, we always felt like a part of the family. Thank you ThoughtWorkers for showing us that once you eliminate fear of judgement and add compassion to the workplace, people can flourish personally and professionally.

To our family

Lori: Thank you mom for reading our blog. Xesús, quérote moito.

Amalia: Quiero dar las gracias a mis padres. Los quiero mucho. I also want to thank my partner Giorgos who always supports all of my strange obsessions.

Unlimited Possibilities

We are finishing off the summer full of optimism towards the future. Knowing that it is possible to master anything through hard work, persistence, patience, and practice is really empowering. While the RGSoC is coming to an end, we feel like many doors have opened and that the journey is just getting started.

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