In the Spotlight 5: Ola
Time for another awesome woman in tech: Let’s meet Ola! Ola is a developer, a core member of Hoodie and speaking regularly at conferences. Besides that she organizes events & workshops around open tech (RejectJS, OpenTechSchool, OpenTechSchoolConference) and loves daughter driven development.
Favorite website, app or gadget: My favorite website is definitely Twitter. I also use Slack a lot, so this would be my favorite app. I’m pretty old school about gadgets, so I’d say my SNES I got from my dad, when I was 16. Still loving it.
What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I got my C64 when I was 8. We moved from Poland to Germany when I was 7. So still having issues with the language, I played around with it a lot and started to code stuff. But I didn’t think about a career in IT until I was 18 or 19 and started an internship in a web agency, although I never quit coding. It never came to me, someone would pay me to do the stuff I love to do.
What does your working day look like?
I’m a single mom, so I got kind of the best alarm clock. My daughter. After dropping her off at her kindergarten, I head back home. Coffee, code and Slack / IRC it is for the next few hours. Then picking up my kiddo and enjoying the rest of the day with her.
Might sound boring to you, but between the lines it always super varied and exciting.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I work as a web developer for the Neighbourhoodies and am a core committer to Hoodie. This is great, because especially the offline first concept, but also empowering people to code… this is what I am passionate about.
Besides that, I really love to organize events with other great people like the RejectJS or the OpenTechSchool events here in Dortmund, Germany. It’s so awesome to see people, who always were too scared to code and thought it’s way too complicated, code their first apps. Seeing the light in their eyes and growing motivation… Priceless.
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
Many! But the people, who inspire me mostly are everyday heroes. People, who e.g. are amazing parents or use all of their spare time to help others / organize events, who stand up for others… Just make the world a little bit better.
Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
We as developers are enormously privileged. We can work from almost everywhere, build almost everything and change so many peoples lives with just some code. I really love to use that to make lives of others better and easier, help others.
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I studied CS for 3 years, but had to drop because I had to support my daughter and had to work again. Although I worked as a developer before, it was great to learn things I wouldn’t even had thought of. You are forced to explore topics and if you’re open to it, it helps you a lot to take the next step with your skills, thinking and ideas. But I’m glad I didn’t do this right after school, so I knew what I wanted to learn and what was really important in the industry. I also already found my field I wanted to work in. So my studies were more focused.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
First: Just do it! It’s not that hard as you might think. Check out online courses or (if there is a chapter nearby) the OpenTechSchool, RailsGirls… There are so many other organizations, who teach coding for free.
Second: Attend meetups, conferences, pair with people. Don’t be shy. Many starters think, they won’t understand anything and that’s why they don’t attend such events. Even if you don’t, you’ll definitely profit from that.
Last but not least: Ask as many questions as you can.
But the most important thing… Do not ever let anyone tell you, you can’t learn or do something. Just go for it! Everything else will fall into place.
Some great advice from Ola. Thank you!