Change is Terrifying. Do it Anyway.

On Saturday, 05 March, I am one of the keynote speakers for Django Girls den Haag.

Hi. My name is Rain Leander. Welcome to Django Girls den Haag. Today I’m going to talk about programming – what it is, why you should do it, what you can do with it. I’m going to tell you my programming story including how I got the job I have now. And I’m going to give you a little programming advice.

First, what IS programming? Ashley Gavin gave a great TEDxNYU talk where she defines computer science as a medium for problem solving and self expression. Just like a dancer will solve a problem or express themselves with movement in space, a programmer uses technology.

But then why should you learn to program? There are so many reasons. Steve Jobs said, “Everyone in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.” And code.org is putting out some great you-tube videos of “code super stars”saying that everyone should learn to program.

Paraphrased, some of the reasons include:

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Hello, My Name Is

I am in the midst of a new position within Red Hat and part of the new responsibilities include applying to public speaking opportunities all over the world.

And since you have to include a short biography with these applications, I decided it was time for a bit of an overhaul.

For perspective, here is the old version:

K Rain Leander is an enthusiastic Software Engineer with a background in web development / graphic design / internet marketing and a Master’s in Information Technology. She is currently leveraging her procedural knowledge from over six years as an engineer with Red Hat to study Django and Python languages as well as OpenStack and RDO-manager technologies and become more active in the Fedora community.

I figuratively just fell asleep reading those sentences and if you did the same I DON’T BLAME YOU ONE BIT.

To figure out the new bio, I read a lot, diving here and there and everywhere for advice and insight and skipped over articles that similarly made me fall asleep until I put together something stronger, more interesting and, most importantly, a description of a person I WANT TO MEET.

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AND THE BIG NEWS IS (drumroll, please)

No, we’re not pregnant.

No, we’re not moving.

I have a shiny new job.

But first, some history.

I used to dance. And to pay for rehearsal space and costumes and performance venues, I taught myself HTML / CSS / javascript. Eventually I retired from dance and took web development seriously – interned in New York, worked with a few internet marketing companies in North Carolina.

Had a blast.

Then Red Hat changed their new hire scope – you had to have two of three requirements – customer service, technical skills, or linux. I had the first two. I was hired. I had a blast.

But when you work at Red Hat, every day is drinking from the firehose and I had to stop coding entirely.

Continue reading “AND THE BIG NEWS IS (drumroll, please)”