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In the Spotlight 31: Ute Mayer

Time for another Spotlight Friday! This week we’re going to Berlin and meet Ute Mayer. Enjoy reading!

 

About Ute:

Ute went back to university in 2010 to make her dream come true and study computer science after working several years as a pharmacist. Since 2012 she is organizing Rails Girls events in Berlin (http://railsgirlsberlin.de) and attended Rails Girls Summer of Code in 2014. Now, in 2015, by getting her first job as a developer she is one step closer to her dreams becoming true.

 

Name: Ute Mayer
Job: Web Developer @ Railslove
 Favorite website, app or gadget: My iPhone. My whole life is in there. :)
Twitter: nerdbabe

 

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
Since my father is working as a scientist at a university, I was in contact with technology my whole childhood. The first computer we had at home was a Sinclar ZX81 and I was playing with old punch cards my dad brought from work. Later I enjoyed disassembling things like old telephones and see whats inside of them.

Some of my teenage years I spent in a local hacker club (as the only girl). I loved to communicate with people all over the world via Bulletin Board Systems. After school it took me several years to come back to computer science. I started studying again in 2010 and I never regretted it.

 

What does your working day look like?
 At  the moment I work for Railslove, a web agency. Usually I am working on a single project for a longer period of time depending on the customer’s needs. We have a standup in the morning with the whole team. Since we are working on different projects it’s interesting to hear what all the others are doing.The rest of my working day depends on the actual project. Besides of writing code I have meetings with a customer, talk to our designer and co-workers on the project, keep the issue tracker up to date, answer emails.

 

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
Last year I attended Rails Girls Summer of Code. Together with my teammate Magda I wrote Ataru a command line tool in Ruby for testing code samples in documentation. We learned a lot in these 3 months. Not only about programming itself but also about how to learn, work together in an agile team and how to deal with frustration. We also attended several conferences and gave talks about Ataru and Rails Girls Summer of Code. The diary of our journey as CodePadawans can be found here.
 
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
Since I started organising Rails Girls Berlin in 2012 I met a lot of awesome and inspiring people. First of all there is our amazing team of Rails Girls Berlin organizers. Together we organized more than 20 workshops with over 700 attendees. This year I helped organising eurucamp and I really loved to work with all those lovely people. And last but not least there are really amazing friends around me every day who help me being a better person. I am thankful for that. <3

 

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
Because it feels like home for me. <3 No other job is able to combine so many of my interests. I like the way developers think. Programming is creative and logical at the same time. You learn something new every day. It never gets boring. And you can work everywhere in the world. Isn’t that amazing?
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most?
And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
Not yet. Currently I am working on finishing my studies in Media Informatics. The most important thing I learned at university is that the way I learn is different from the way a German university is teaching. The most useful things I learned on my own using books and online resources and with the help of other developers.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
1. Don’t panic! The journey to learn how to code is a long one (I am not sure if there is a real end. Maybe it’s a lifelong path to enlightenment…). There will be moments of total frustration when you think you will never understand ALL those things. But don’t give up! It will get better.
2. Be patient with yourself! Sometimes learning needs time.
3. It’s never too late, you are not too old! There are people out there who will try to tell you that you are only a real developer if you started programming as a child. That’s not true. Don’t listen to them.
4. Find other learners! It helps a lot to find people who are on the same journey as you are. Visit your local user group (I can recommend the Ruby community. A lot of friendly, helpful people welcoming beginners) and go to a Rails Girls  or Django Girls workshop.
5. Find or start a project group (like http://rorganize.it/).
Last year I attended Rails Girls Summer of Code. During our journey as CodePadawans we found some secret Jedi Super Powers. Maybe they can help you on your path.

 

Extra question from Katherine: How do you deal with stress?
That’s a good question…I think I am not that good at realising that I am stressed plus I always have a lot to do. :D
Since I am an introvert I need time alone with no one around me. That helps me to reduce stress. A day at my favorite spa http://www.mediterana.de/is like a small holiday. Going for a walk and listening to music is also good against stress.
I also like to be organized (with the good old GTD http://gettingthingsdone.com/method). When I know what I have to do I am not so stressed, because I don’t have to be afraid that I forget something.

 

Thank you so much Ute!