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#STEMStories: Laurie, Software Engineer, USA

#STEMStories: Laurie, Software Engineer, USA

1. Introduce yourself, who are you what do you do?

I’m Laurie Barth. I’m a software engineer who does a lot of technical blogging, speaking and teaching. I work as a consultant at Ten Mile Square Technologies and have a background in math.

2. How did you arrive at this career (or point in your life/work)? Was it always something you knew you wanted to do?

Nope! I studied mathematics and government in college. I wanted to be a lawyer. During my college career I interned at the Center for Opinion Research, a polling center on my college campus. One summer my boss there made me agree to take Computer Science 101. I was resistant, but she was insistent. I loved the course, and added it as a minor.

I ended up getting my masters in Computer Science while I worked for the federal government and eventually ended up being a software developer full time.

3. What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning, especially on those cold, dark mornings?

I love getting to learn new things and share them with others. I love that what I do helps people. There is so much about my job to enjoy, but truly it’s the community. I work with wonderful people at Ten Mile Square and I’ve befriended even more people outside of that role. They encourage me, and help me find value in the every day.

4. What is your personal cure for stress or how do you raise your spirits in times of doubt? Can you share a Story?

If I’m super stressed, I need a nap. Truly, it’s that simple. It took me a long time to realize this, but the best way to give my brain a reset, is to turn it off. The problem is recognizing this need when I’m so focused on that stress. The best tool I have for that is to listen to those around me. Coworkers, friends, family, surrounding yourself with honest and compassionate people is incredibly valuable.

5. Who is your role model? If no one, any thoughts on this?

A lot of people. I really admire the work of Sarah Drasner, who creates so many tools that help developers be more efficient and effective. I admire Kent C Dodds who has made a career out of educating others. I admire Angie Jones who is incredibly accomplished and constantly helping to elevate others. The list truly is never-ending.

6. What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time?

I always joke that I wouldn’t. If I did, I might change my trajectory, and I’m so happy with where I am at the moment. I guess the only thing I might tell myself is that the HTML and CSS I play around with, the short computer class assignments, etc are all code! For a long time I didn’t think any of that counted, and that real computer science was beyond my grasp. It wasn’t.

7. Top 3 tips for girls starting out in STEM?

  • the best thing you can do for yourself is learn how you learn best
  • carve your own path, you can be successful in any different number of ways
  • build relationships and communities, there is nothing more valuable to your career

8. How do you measure your success?

Success to me is having the flexibility to make the choices I want to. If I’m in a position to do that, I’ve been successful.

9. Where can we find out more about your work? is my personal site

10. Are you social? Will you share your Twitter handle, or LinkedIn profile, or Facebook so that young women can connect with you?

@laurieontech on twitter