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Cover image for Leticia Portella started with MATHLABianesque Python... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney (#149)

Leticia Portella started with MATHLABianesque Python... and other things I learned recording her DevJourney (#149)

timothep profile image Tim Bourguignon πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ Originally published at timbourguignon.fr ・3 min read

This week, I published Leticia Portella's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:

  • Leticia's story starts in oceanography, where she mostly did data analysis in MATLAB. During an internship, she was asked, "why do you use MATLAB?" Her answer was along the lines of "because that's what I know." And then, she was introduced to Python. Her colleagues started giving her challenges like "how would you do this in 2 lines of code?" And that's how she "fell in love with Python programming" (sic). But it took another job, a task waiting to be automated and save her days of work (4 days -> 15 min), and her boss being on vacation for the news to really sink in: she was a developer!
  • When a Python meetup was created in her city, Leticia went in once, discovered a room full of men talking about web development with Python. She didn't understand a word. She didn't feel welcome or included. She left with the clear intention of never coming back. A couple of meetups went by until one of the organizers asked someone to hold a session on Numpy and reached out to Leticia, asking her to try again. When she showed up, the whole community went out of their way to make her feel welcome, show her gratitude for being there and suggested creating a PyLadies community. And they did. Leticia also co-organized Pycon-Brazil and finally decided to give her first talk. A project manager was in the room and offered her a job on the spot.
  • I asked Leticia to expand on the difference between Data-Analysis and Simulation. Both are very intertwined. Simulations are producing a lot of data, which needs making sense of. That's where Data-Analysis comes into play.
  • When she decided to learn Scala, Leticia decided to #LearnInPublic. She decided to write a blog post for each learning session to sediment her learnings. She said: "I like writing, I like sharing, and it makes me study better." And she also creates a lot of "cheat sheets" summarizing her learnings. And those are great to use later on as well when her brain has moved on!
  • Through the years, Leticia built a close-knit network of trusted friends & advisors but also found many mentors who went the extra mile to help her grow, were patient and loveable, who "never made her feel less, because she didn't know this or that". How awesome is that?
  • "As a mentee, you have to learn how to annoy people without them hating you" said, Leticia. She apparently rotates the people she asks questions to spread the load!
  • Leticia started a learning group with 4 women but found it hard to deal with the different momentums. On the other hand, she has one mentee "and she will cherish her forever."

Advice:

  • "Learn how to learn, everything else is transient"

Quotes:

  • "At first, my Python scripts were very MATHLABianesques" 🀣
  • "I have found a very nice spot for now, but my heart is with data, I cannot lie"
  • "I never stopped to study javascript, I learned it through the pain"
  • "Pressure on myself? Always!"
  • "As a mentee, you have to learn how to annoy people without them hating you"

Thanks, Leticia, for sharing your story with us!

You can find the full episode and the show notes on devjourney.info or directly here on DEV

Did you listen to her story?

  • What did you learn?
  • What are your personal takeaways?
  • What did you find particularly interesting?

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