A few words about you, who are you?
I am Lena. I am currently writing my thesis in Digital Humanities on ethics in AI with focus on the discriminating aspect of algorithms. Last year I took part in the first class of Code Camp Leipzig. It was a very nice experience and it made me very comfortable and secure with coding. On the side I work as a working student as a frontend developer. Since one month I am starting to work on some projects of my own, which I am very excited about.
When and how did you get interested in coding?
I always found coding interesting and I always loved math. Also because it was the only thing I was good in in school. I anyways decided to go for languages. Even if I had the worst grades. And I studied roman languages. Which was great because I could study in Paris. Which I could have done with informatics too. Anyways, my original plan was to study informatics in a women only study program in Berlin. But I couldn’t leave Leipzig yet, so I started studying Digital Humanities. That is an interdisciplinary study program, that brings together programming with social science. Unfortunately for me, the University was not a great study surrounding so I didn’t really get into the whole coding thing. On a theoretical level yes, but practical it didn’t work at all. I was always very motivated but I got stuck super fast and I didn’t know how to approach problems or even how to ask the right questions. And my last project in University was so interesting… we automated the Bechdel Test with Python and it was the first time that I pulled through. After that I took part in the Code Camp Leipzig and it gave me the foundation and the confidence to be able to now approach every obstacle.
What do you like about coding most?
About coding I like most that it is such a wonderful social experience and the best thing is a hackathon where you just stay with amazing people forever in a room and you eat pizza and you drink beer and you code. I love pair programming and I think all companies should do it. It is proven to be very effective as you don’t need to spend too much time on problem solving. And you don’t get lost so easily. And it is the best to celebrate when you have solved something. And when your best friend does a little dance. I like that there almost always will be a solution. And sometimes it just takes time. And you can’t push it. Sometimes the best thing to do, is to take a break and come back to it and suddenly it is all clear. And even if the common view on coding is this stressful environment where people push you to finish something, in the end it is your code and you can only do it in your time and if you are not done you are not done… it gives you incredible freedom and control.
What is currently your favourite project?
A friend of mine is currently working on nuxt-starter-templates for static websites and for a shop. And I want to help him and also with these templates build a super beautiful shop for a friend that does ceramics. I got a lot of project offers from great women that are doing great things and I am very excited to work together with all of these amazing people.
Is there a project you’re particularly proud of?
I am really just at the beginning of my way to become a super programmer. But I am proud, that I was never intimidated by not getting anything for two years about coding. But I always thought: one day it will just come, when I keep on going. And it did. And now I love to help to make this way easier for others and I am always super proud when I can help a friend figure out a problem.
What do you like to try/learn/know?
I am super interested in security. It is my goal to be a real hacker one day. Right now I don’t know anything and the internet knows everything about me. But I really like this game microcorruption. I only got through the tutorial. You have to know some Assembly Code, which we learned in Code Camp and it is a lot of fun.
What is your biggest challenge as a programmer?
To ask questions. In university I always wanted to be cool rather than asking questions. And I didn’t learn anything. And that is actually more embarrassing. But then I met this amazing woman and she taught me how to ask questions. And not to care what anybody thinks. So that was great.
Do you have role models?
In the Code Camp we watched a video series from code.org about the internet. And there was this girl Mia Epner. And she talks about encryption. And she is so cool. You can watch the video here.She is now working for a security company and my dream is to work with her.
Which stereotype of a programmer can you prove wrong?
That coding is boring. Or that you have to be good in Math. Aya Jaff, or also Ms.Code, the german female super star in coding didn’t like math and also didn’t like studying programming. But she started building apps at 15 and she wrote a book about stocks and she was in Silicon Valley and she is super cool. And Aya says: Over the last years, I’ve experienced that technology knows no boundaries - all of us can participate and benefit from it. Technology and digitalization are constantly stretching the reality of what is possible. It’s also helping us to be more creative and innovative. If this is the case, then why should I live in the confines of boundaries? Why should you? We are indeed living in exciting times.” And I think that it is very true.
Can you recommend a book / podcast / tutorial / film or event?
Hackers with Angelina Jolie