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corgibytes

Nevertheless, Andrea Goulet Coded

andreagoulet profile image Andrea Goulet ・4 min read

I began coding because...

A good friend from high school started a software business and we reconnected at our class reunion. Scott had solved some interesting engineering problems but never made a dime from them. He asked if I'd come on board to be his CEO to help him build the business –Â thus, Corgibytes was born.

Scott noticed the way that I naturally solved problems. I would say things like "I'm not lazy, I'm efficient!" all the time when I was writing my marketing materials. Scott kept encouraging me to learn how to code because he thought I had some natural propensities to it, but I kept calling myself "non-technical" because I felt intimidated by the command line. It felt safe to stay in my self-created box.

It wasn't until I heard Scott on a podcast after we'd run the business together for five years that my ideas were challenged. At this point, I'd coded our website by myself and was learning ruby and JavaScript. During the interview he called me "non-technical" and I got really frustrated. What did I have to do to prove that I was good enough? Scott, in his calm and Yoda-esque way, took a deep breath and said, "When you start calling yourself technical, I will too." That's when my coding journey really began, and I dove in with gusto to figure out what was getting in my way.

It's been a long journey to feel comfortable calling myself technical. I even got inked up and have a JavaScript function tattooed on my wrist as a daily reminder that I can be whatever I want.

For me, learning to code has taught me more about myself and has helped me feel challenged and empowered. I love learning and I'm so grateful to be surrounded by people who constantly challenge me to be my best.

I'm currently hacking on...

My main job is making Corgibytes an amazing place to work. I love finding the right staff and the right clients and watching the magic happen. We're growing and my biggest focus right now is to make sure we always hold true to our five core values:

  • Act With Empathy
  • Adopt a Growth Mindset
  • Calm the Chaos
  • Communication is Just As Important as Code
  • Craftsmanship in Context

I'm speaking at a bunch of conferences in the next few months, such as Emerging Technology for the Enterprise, The Agile Alliance Technical Conference, and XP2017.

I launched Legacy Code Rocks about a year ago for folks who enjoy maintaining and modernizing software. There are about 250 people in our Slack channel and I've been really having fun interviewing people for our podcast. As an extrovert, the podcast has been one of my favorite projects because I get to connect with new people all the time!

I have an open source project I started in October called CallMyReps. The goal was to make it easier to connect with elected officials. But it's lost some traction now that some similar products have come out.

I have another startup called NagLess that makes it easy to collect timesheets so no one is the office nag. And another one that pairs people who LOVE making a home beautiful with folks like me who have a lot of "domestic debt". What's interesting there is that it's the same principle for software refactoring but the concepts are applied to physical things around the home.

I'm even working on a book that shares my journey. It's called Becoming Technical: Build an Amazing Career in Tech Starting at Square Zero to help people like me, who don't have a traditional computer science background (and even those folks who do) become comfortable learning how to code and grow into a thought leader.

I'm excited about...

The focus on diversity in tech over the past several years. When I first started attending software conferences, I was usually the only woman in the room. That's not the case today. I'm grateful to people who focus on sharing different perspectives, like Scott Hanselman and his podcast Hanselminutes, Camille Ricketts over at First Round Review, and Ben Halpern here at Dev.to. It takes an effort to make sure your community is diverse and I'm so thrilled that people are starting to see the value that diversity brings to the bottom line. While there is still a lot of work to do, I'm so grateful to all the folks who have encouraged me to keep going and share my perspective. Representation matters. If you don't see it, you can't be it. Seeing women software developers is really important for encouraging other women to get into the field.

My advice for other women who code is...

Encourage your friends to stop using the words "non-technical" and be a mentor for the people who think they can't learn how to code. Try new things. Apply for jobs even if you don't meet all the criteria. Submit a talk to a conference and see what happens. As women, we're often in our own way because we don't try. If you put yourself out there, you may just be pleasantly surprised.

corgibytes

Old code. New tricks. We love legacycode! Any language. Any Platform. Any framework.

Discussion

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Wow, I'm blown away that you were not a coder when you started CorgiBytes. The way you write about the profession, I'd think you'd been doing it your whole life.

 

My degree is in Marketing & Business Law. I guess if you count hacking on my MySpace page and building automation tools for sales using intricate data queries and custom templates, I'd been coding a little bit longer than when I started with Corgibytes. I think that's one of the things I advocate for most — lots of folks code and don't even know it!