Software runs in my blood, so to speak. My Grandmother was a COBOL programmer in the 70’s and 80’s. She got her first job doing punch cards after attending a bootcamp course.
My first memory of anything software related was when I was about six. My grandma showed me a binary core dump printed on green bar paper. She explained that when the mainframe crashed it would do a printout a good half inch thick. This generally happened in the middle of the night… and she was on rotating pager duty. Part of her job was to study those core dumps and figure out why the crash happened. Maybe it was a bug in her code, maybe a bad input, maybe something else. I remember feeling so amazed and impressed that she could read the variables being loaded in binary! It looked incomprehensible. Little did I know at that age I would follow in her footsteps.
By itself, having a grandma in the industry doesn’t make me a good software professional… An inherit ‘talent’ helps tremendously, but what makes me a good software professional is my lifelong dedication to learning, determination to do my best, empathy for my customers and users, regular practice (yes I practice coding), and my broad experience which continues to grow.
My ideal day involves solving real world business problems, adding value, sharing my knowledge, and getting in the zone for at least a few hours.
My past roles include corporate contracting, start-ups, educational research, and e-commerce. My software has been used in almost every country with an internet connection, deployed in the Fortune 100, and used by people as young as five.
I have mentored a number of software professionals during my career, both when working for someone else and through my own company. Mentoring is something I get a lot of personal satisfaction from. In that vein I started this blog to share my knowledge and force myself to stay sharp. Based on the number of visits and how often people rip off my content I’d have to say it is going great!
To cap it all off I’m working on a book that will help aspiring developers get the software fundamentals they need to be outstanding at their job.
Location: Portland, Oregon
Check me out on Twitter @laurencegellert! I go for the insightful and funny stuff that isn’t too cynical.