Software craftswomen: Alexandra Marin

Mar 24, 2016 by Madalina Botez in  Software Craft Women In Tech

In celebration of Women’s Day, this March we salute yesterday & today women’s contribution to the development of the technology and IT fields. Follow #famousITwomen to find interesting stories. They might motivate and encourage you to do something out of the ordinary in your career. 

The importance of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) has been gaining a momentum in the last years. At I T.A.K.E. Unconference, we value women’s contribution in IT and we believe their dedication to the software craft can be an inspiration for other practitioners.

Alexandra Marin, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016, shared more with us about her professional journey and lessons learnt in the IT field.

If you want to find more inspirational stories, we invite you to read also about Franziska Sauerwein, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference, and Grace Hopper, programming pioneer. Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.52.20 PM

 

#1. What’s your professional story?

Why did you choose to develop a career in this domain?

Dopamine junkie who loves cracking puzzles. Had my first computer in middle school and by high school had taught myself how to code. One CS degree and a few freelancing/volunteering gigs later landed my first real developer job in Germany. My traditional office career was short lived though. I decided to check for myself if freelancers really go hungry looking for work, as I had repeatedly been warned.

Turns out I enjoy taking responsibility for my own career and remote work came with unexpected benefits. Working with people and causes I truly find compelling, making and sticking to my own work schedule (amazing for dev productivity if done right) and coming into teams as an equal partner are all pretty great side effects.

 

#2. Share with us a lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been working in IT

Maybe counterintuitive, but time and again I’ve seen collaboration putting you ahead of the game. So, experience pair programming & code retreats, make open source contributions, be a speaker, offer mentorship or get a mentor. Building a network beats whiteboard practice any day of the week as far as job hunting goes.

 

#3. Whom do you admire as a women IT practitioner? Why?

I appreciate makers like Simone Giertz and Sara Chipps, creator of Jewelbots, for tackling hardware and robotics. I empathize with Julie-Ann Horvath, ex-GitHub, for a situation all too common for women in tech. Also worth following on Twitter: Iris Classon, Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, and not women per-se, but the @CallbackWomen & @PowerToFly initiatives.

 

Curious to meet Alexandra? Join her @ I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Hack your journey to software craftsmanship with martial arts practices

Apr 29, 2017

code-kata

“Whatever luck I had, I made. I was never a natural athlete, but I paid my dues in sweat and concentration and took the time necessary to learn Karate and become World Champion.” – Chuck Norris (American martial artist and actor. Also, the only man who has counted to infinity. Twice.)

 

 

Japanese concepts from martial arts become common practices in software craftsmanship. It is known that thousands of software developers aiming to become craftsmen are mastering their skills using them.

In fact, in the software industry developers are taught the theory and thrown straight into working on a project. The practice is done on the job, and mistakes occur. Applying the theory is not enough, greatness comes from practising. What makes a programmer to be great is the practice done beyond the software development current job. That’s why so many developers nowadays practice Code Kata.

Why would you do Code Kata?

In karate a kata is an exercise where you repeat a form many times, making small improvements each time. The intent behind code kata is similar. Each iteration is a short exercise (about 30′ to 1-hour duration). The point of the kata is not arriving at the right solution, but to learn some stuff along the way. The only goal is to practice.

Exercise your programming muscles in a way you enjoy and see the progress you make.

According to Code Kata, you need a good practice session and you have to make it fun: you need a bit of time without interruptions, and a single problem to solve in iterations; do as many iterations as it takes for you to improve, and be comfortable making mistakes.

What is Code Kata?

code kata is an exercise in programming which helps a programmer improve their skills through practice and repetition. The term is considered to be coined by Dave Thomas, co-author of the book The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master, in a bow to the Japanese concept of kata in the martial arts.

An example of Kata

Repeat solving the same problem (as the one below), until you know it by heart. You can be sure the next time it pops-up in production it will take you seconds to get it done.

Think of binary numbers: sequences of 0’s and 1’s. How many n-digit binary numbers are there that don’t have two adjacent 1 bits? For example, for three-digit numbers, five of the possible eight combinations meet the criteria: 000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111. What is the number for sequences of length 4, 5, 10, n? Having worked out the pattern, there’s a second part to the question: can you prove why that relationship exists?

Practice Code Kata at I T.A.K.E. Unconference

On 11-12 May 2017 in Bucharest, there’s a Kata Lounge track waiting for you.
During the 2-day program, at any time, you can join this track to pick up a challenge and start the kata session. The challenge contains the problem (called kata), the time you have for your session, and the name of the person who will review your code. The reviewer will help you improve your coding skills.
Invest a bit of time in your coding-craft. Don’t miss the Kata Lounge as well as many other hands-on sessions at I T.A.K.E. Unconference.

Admiral Grace Hopper, programming pioneer

Mar 09, 2016

In celebration of Women’s Day, this March we salute yesterday & today women’s contribution to the development of the technology and IT fields. Follow #famousITwomen to find interesting stories. They might motivate and encourage you to do something out of the ordinary in your career. 

The importance of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math has been gaining a momentum in the last years. At I T.A.K.E. Unconference, we value women’s contribution in IT and we believe their dedication to the software craft can be an inspiration for other practitioners.

Help us meet other remarkable women, from your teams and communities! For the next 5 registrations at I T.A.K.E Unconference this week, we offer an invitation for a lady colleague to join! You will receive the discount code after registering. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.18.26 PM

After finding the professional journey of Franziska Sauerwein, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference, we invite to find more about United States Navy Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992). Often defined as a woman ahead of her time, she is one of the first programmers in the history.

 

The first bug

With a PhD degree in mathematics, she was part of WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, U.S. Naval Reserve), and later joined the programming team at the new Mark I computer, at Harvard University.

One famous anecdote kept perpetuating until today about her time in the Mark I team. One day a computer failure had Hopper and her team baffled. They opened the machine and they discovered the source of the problem: a live moth was stuck in one of the electrical switches controlling a circuit. Hopper taped the offending creature into her log book and noted beside it, “first actual bug found.” She is credited with the terms “bug” and “debug” for computer errors and how to fix them.

 

The A compiler

Grace_Hopper_and_UNIVAC-300x263
Grace Hooper, UNIVAC, ~1960

Grace Hopper is also the creator of the A compiler, a program developed during her time at UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I – UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I).

After joining the consortium Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL), as technical consultant on the committee, she created a validation software for COBOL to make sure the language could perform its function. COBOL, which stands for “COmmon Business-Oriented Language”, is still used in order-processing business software today.

 
 
 

First woman to …

In the course of her lifetime, Grace Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities around the world, along with numerous awards and honors including:

  • 1st winner of “Computer Science Man of the Year” award from the Data Processing Management Association in 1969
  • 1st person from the United States and the first woman from any country to be made Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1973
  • 1st woman to receive the National Medal of Technology as an individual in 1991

The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, ‘Try it.’ And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances. 

 

Stay tuned & follow #famousITwomen! During the next days, we will share more stories about women who made & make history in IT.  If you want to meet remarkable software craftswomen, join us at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Help us meet other remarkable women, from your teams and communities! For the next 5 registrations at I T.A.K.E Unconference this week, we offer an invitation for a lady colleague to join! 

The Pioneer of OOP: Barbara Liskov

Mar 10, 2015

The week to celebrate women in IT continues with Barbara Liskov’s story. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

At the dawn of the software revolution, engineers were struggling. It wasn’t clear at that time how to organize code so that it was optimal, easy to understand and easy to change.

The solution proved to be finding the right abstractions. Barbara Liskov was an active participant in the conversation, publishing papers, implementing programming languages, database systems and operating systems. In one of these conversations, she came up with what is now known as the “Liskov Substitution Principle”, one of the 5 key principles of software design (the L from SOLID principles).

In 2004, Barbara Liskov won the highest award for computer science, the John von Neumann Medal for “fundamental contributions to programming languages, programming methodology, and distributed systems”. She also received the 2008 Turing Award for her work in the design of programming languages and software methodology that led to the development of object-oriented programming.

Watch the story of Object Oriented Programming in her keynote “The Power of Abstraction”, published by our partners from InfoQ.

Hope Barbara Liskov’s story aroused your curiosity to learn from history more about IT famous women.

This week, stay tuned for the upcoming stories and win an invitation to I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015. 

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