A girl in IT: How I ended up here

The topic of gender diversity has become so popular in the tech community recently that it seems like it’s the only thing anybody can talk about… except perhaps Donald Trump!

During my 11 years as Software Engineer, I have never been aware of lack of females in IT, although that may be because I was lucky enough to know a lot of them. But let’s start from the beginning.

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Not good enough

“I’m not good enough” says the graduate to herself, shuffling her feet.  “All those uni assignments made no difference; everyone knows more than me.  Why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say?”  Surrounded by self-assured, battle-hardened colleagues, there seems an insurmountable distance to cover—but one day, she’ll surely know enough.

“Enough”.

“I’m not good enough” said the programmer with a grimace, starting a new job at a famous company. “Seven years of work and it’s like nothing! Everyone here knows so much; how long will it take for me to know enough?”

So when is enough? Is there a line we cross when we become experts? Does ticker-tape fall from the ceiling, and the mayor of Hackertown give us a medal?

“I’m not good enough” said the veteran of fifteen years. “The people writing these libraries, blogs and conference talks are so smart—am I ever going to know enough to have such an impact?”

Every point on this slope is fractally self-similar to every other, differing only in scale. We know only so much; the unfathomable expanse of the unknown is spread before us.  It was like this when you knew a tenth as much, and it will look the same when you know ten or hundred times more again.  From the horizon, we all look like ants.

Look at your heroes; the best in the world at what you do. In fact, what they see is roughly what you see: a body of accumulated knowledge, and the brutally vast frontier of their own ignorance ahead.

So when do we draw the line and call ourselves “expert”? Never! This is for fools who have already stopped pedalling. It takes humility to accept that a life’s work can barely hope to recover a drop from this ocean of ignorance, and a noble madness to cheerfully hurl oneself into the waves.  If there is a line to draw, it is between these folk and those who turn their backs, turtling in with trinkets and baubles already won.

This light harshly exposes those who can’t empathise with junior colleagues. So, they asked a stupid question. Why did you stop asking stupid questions? Nobody still open to improving themselves would fail to recognise one of their own.

So learn! Abandon yourself to permanent inadequacy. Your life may host any number of hardships, but you’ll never know boredom again. You’ll forget what it was like to endure barren, aimless hours. The waiting-room becomes a study, the bus-stop an opportunity, the laundry a goldmine.

No, you’re not good enough, because there’s no such thing and never was. But you can still head that way.

Girlapalooza – for women who dig digital at REA

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Girlapalooza blog post, with me Miss Leah(pleurodon) Eramo, at your service.

What is Girlapalooza?

A couple of years ago, a few of us who were interested in technology came together and formed a group to collectively harness the talent, passion & creativity that women at REA possess.

Girlapalooza is a community that positively engages women within REA in activities relating to digital technology, marketing, design and leadership.

Girlapalooza embraces women of all abilities and backgrounds, with a positive philosophy of fun and inclusion.

This month I am featuring an interview with REA’s 2016 Big Idea winner and my team mate, Linda Brunetti. So read all the way through to catch her interview.

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Confessions of a Podcaster

I confess to being a mad podcast fan. I am always listening to my favourite podcasts and always on the look out for new ones. I devour podcasts in the same way some people ‘do internet’ or read books. I literally fall asleep each night with my headphones in – incidentally podcast apps usually have a timed stop feature, so you can switch off at the end of an episode or after a specified duration.  

I am such a fan of podcasts that Rob Leane, Logan Han and myself created a podcast just to find out what that would be like to create a podcast. It was really really fun, and if you go to http://podcast.rea.tech you will be able to listen to the podcast we created for our Inventorship event (the event formerly known as Hackday at REA).  Continue reading

How We (Mostly) Survived The Stormy Apocalypse!

It’s not news to anyone any more, so I’m sure everyone knows Amazon Web Services (our major cloud infrastructure provider) suffered an outage within one of their availability zones on Sunday June 5th. AWS is split up into various geographic regions, and within each region, a number of availability zones. I’m going to assume most readers know about this, but if you don’t, check out Amazon on how they describe these things. On Sunday one of these availability zones suffered a “power event”, owing to Sydney’s wild weather on the weekend, bringing it to its knees. Lots of Australian based websites had major problems.

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