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In the Spotlight 7: Floor Drees

It’s time for Spotlight Friday! This week I’m giving the stage to Floor Drees. Floor is the thriving force behind many Rails Girls workshop, developer meetup and tech conference in Europe, which she combines with her duties as Managing Director of sektor5 coworking spaces in Vienna.

Name: Floor Drees
Job: Managing Director sektor5 + many unofficial ‘occupations’
Favorite website, app or gadget: Slack and Wunderlist
Twitter: @floordrees
Site: https://github.com/FloorD or http://www.sektor5.at

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
When the startup I worked at decided to go into ‘permanent hackweek’ mode that meant none of the support tickets got worked on anymore. I decided to learn programming to help out our users myself. Together with one of the engineers we spend a day a week going through issues. This soon proved addictive and half a year later I set up my first Rails Girls workshop to get other people interested in tech as well.

What does your working day look like?
Ever since I started my MD position at sektor5 coworking spaces my typical workday looks a bit different than before. I get to organize a lot of workshops and events for startups and (aspiring) developers though. ROSS Conf being the latest example.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I get a lot of satisfaction working on the Rails Girls and Rails Girls Summer of Code projects. There is an amazing community behind these projects, working their ass of in their spare time to make the tech world just a little better.

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I tend to think of the people who stand up to help me set up all these conferences and meetups as heroes. They give me a kick in the butt when I need it and I absolutely LOVE working with them. I admire people who are good at teaching. There is a lot more to coaching than ‘just’ transferring knowledge from one person to another. It’s fascinating seeing real good teachers like Piotr Szotkowski or Patrick Huesler at ‘work’.

Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
It is amazing being able to build the stuff you think up.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I graduated from art school, so anything other than the school of startup life… I’m afraid not. In general I think I have a pretty good understanding of how to make stuff work, but lack the knowledge of why (/how) it works.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
I agree with what Laura said in your interview with her a couple of weeks back: the best way to learn is to build something. Many tutorials or lectures cover separate building blocks or programming concepts, building something you’re excited about from scratch is the best training you can possibly get.

Extra question from Robin: If you know about open source, what is your favorite program/tool that you use, and why do you use/prefer this?
Github (for Android) and Gitlab are essential tools keeping in touch with all collaborators of the various projects I am involved in. So is Slack, for bigger projects.

Thank you Floor! Curious about Rails Girls or Rails Girls Summer of Code?  Visit: railsgirls.com or http://railsgirlssummerofcode.org/