Rebecca Wirfs-Brock | #womenintech interview

Mar 23, 2017 by Madalina Botez in  Women In Tech

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock is the object design pioneer who invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD), the first behavioral approach to object design. She is the lead author of two software design books and design columnist for IEEE Software. By accident, she started the x-Driven Design meme (TDD, DDD, BDD…). Although best known for software design, she is has a passion simply expressing complex requirements and effectively communicating software architecture. Rebecca joined #itakeunconf in 2013 as keynote, at the first edition of the unconference.

When sharing more about #womenintech, Rebecca is one of the most important role models ladies in the field mention or look up to. Read on to find her professional story and lessons learned along the way.

 

#1. What’s your professional story? Why did you choose to develop a career in this domain?

 

I went to university with no idea what I would major in. I liked both sciences and the humanities. I had a part time job at school grading tests. We’d scan the tests (which were marked in pencil) onto a tape, then take that tape to the computer center. They would run a job to print out students’ test results and grades.

I wanted to learn how that program worked. So for fun, I took my first computing class learning FORTRAN. And I was hooked. Writing programs was not only fun; programs could do something useful. So that is how I discovered programming—by accident. I liked solving problems by programming. I still do.

 

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

I’ve learned that you won’t know if something is possible unless you try doing it. Sometimes we hold ourselves back because we don’t think we can do what seems like some seemingly impossible task. If you are a part of a team, you can do even more great things than you can on your own.

Being a software engineer at Tektronix (a company that made oscilloscopes and workstations, among other hardware products), I learned that with good team collaboration, the right management support, and the belief in what we were doing, we could do amazing things. I have taken this spirit of collaboration and can-do attitude with me throughout my career.

#3. What piece of advice would you give to the next generation of #womenintech?

Keep learning. The programming languages, tools, libraries, and database technologies you work with 10 years from now will be different from those you use today. There’s always something new to learn. Don’t just limit yourself to learning new programming languages and tools or the latest popular libraries. Take some time to learn things outside of your daily work. For example, I turn to blog by Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper, https://blog.acolyer.org/. I find reading about technology trends and research stretches my brain. And then I get on with my daily work.

Take some time to learn things outside of your daily work. For example, I turn to blog by Adrian Colyer, The Morning Paper. I find reading about technology trends and research stretches my brain. And then I get on with my daily work.

But more importantly, take time to find, study, and learn about well-designed code and systems. Learn what makes one codebase more easily maintained than another, or what makes one easier to understand or test. Read others’ code. There’s a lot you can learn.

 

 

At I T.A.K.E Unconference, we aim to move the needle by offering to women in tech access to a fast-learning, practical & inspirational community for their growth. Join the 5th edition, 11-12 May, Bucharest and meet remarkable tech ladies.

Software craftswomen: Franziska Sauerwein

Mar 08, 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. 

We’ve sat down with Franziska Sauwerwein, software craftswoman. Learn more about her professional journey and lessons learned in the IT field. She will speak at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016.

#1. What’s your professional story?

Please share with us about your journey in the IT field.

Hey, my name is Franziska Sauerwein and I’m a Software Craftswoman. Puzzles have always amazed me and that’s how I got interested in Computer Science. After completing my degree I worked as a software developer and consultant for three years in Germany. I then moved to London to join Codurance in the summer of 2015.

 

My passions include Test Driven Development, Refactoring, XP techniques and high quality software development. I’m always trying to improve my skills and share knowledge. As an active member of the European Software Craftsmanship community I love to participate in unconferences and organise code retreats, hackathons, coding dojos as well as tech talks. I aim to use my skills and creativity to develop software that is reliable, easy to adapt and doing what it is supposed to do.

 

#2. What would be a lesson you’ve learned so far as practitioners in this field?

I learned that software development is much more about people than about sitting alone at a desk in a room and coding in isolation, which is great! I do enjoy coding at a high quality level but people have always fascinated me.

As developers, we have a profound influence on our society and people’s everyday lives. How we write software and what we write has an impact and with great power comes great responsibility. And how people act when developing software has a great influence on how that software turns out. For example, a team that does not have a good team culture or a lacking relationship with the business will most probably have code quality problems that stem from misunderstandings and lack of communication. And sometimes products are developed just from a developer’s perspective without the user’s needs in mind when the teams are too homogenous. This is something that should definitely be changed.

 

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

Please share with our audience about great women you think they make a difference in this domain.

There are so many women in IT that I admire. If I had to choose one, I’d point out Rachel Davies, an expert practitioner and coach of eXtreme Programming. If you search online for “Rachel Davies xp” (without quotes) you’ll find a lot of content, including videos of her inspiring talks. Talking to her has given me lots of insights and she keeps on inspiring me.

 

What women in IT inspire you? Let us know in a comment!
Curious to meet Franziska? Join her @ I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Software craftswomen: Alexandra Marin

Mar 24, 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 (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!

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock and Object Oriented Design

Mar 11, 2015

pablo rebecca

The week to celebrate women in IT goes on with the woman who defined the Object Oriented Design – Rebecca Wirfs-Brock. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

Object Oriented Design is about behaviors, not about entities and relations. We owe this idea to a woman: Rebecca Wirfs-Brock.

[Updated based on Rebecca’s feedback]

Early in her career, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock worked as a tester at Tektronix for graphics libraries. In those days, it was customary for testers to write just as much code as programmers in the form of automated tests. She decided to become a programmer because, despite the equally difficult work, testers were paid less than programmers. She became a principal engineer at Tektronix for Smalltalk, the language that inspired Java, Python and many others. This was a great opportunity for the industry, since she introduced the world to “Responsibility Driven Design”, the technique that influenced all modern design techniques such as TDD or BDD. Those of us who used UML owe her the idea of stereotypes. She now lives in Portland, and has been consulting enterprises on architecture and design for the past 30 years.

We were fortunate to have Rebecca a keynote speaker at I T.A.K.E. Unconference. You can watch her keynote below.



Hope Rebecca Wirfs-Brock’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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