Welcome to our continuing series of Code Project interviews in which we talk to developers about their backgrounds, projects, interests and pet peeves. In this installment we talk to Maureen McElaney, who’s just getting started as a dev, but already contributing to the community.
Who are you?
My name is Maureen McElaney and I live in Burlington, VT. I work as a Digital Advisor at Dealer.com, a digital marketing and software development firm serving the automotive industry. I am also the leader of the Burlington chapter of Girl Develop It.
What do you do?
I live two lives!
In my 9–5 life I help my clients navigate their way through the digital world, advising them on how to utilize the digital sphere to help their businesses grow.
At night I hustle to build support for Girl Develop It Burlington. I just launched the chapter in March and our second sold out class is scheduled for June. Through Girl Develop It I’ve met amazing people in my community who are excited at the prospect of helping to build greater diversity in the tech industry.
I am not a developer. I found out about Girl Develop It while living in Philadelphia, and started taking classes. I got hooked on learning to code, but opportunity knocked here in Vermont. After the move, I missed the community I found through Girl Develop It and so I decided to bring it here with me!
What is your development environment?
I am learning to code on a laptop I "borrowed" from my brother, Brian McElaney, who is Director of Software Design and Development at Tamman Technologies and who also recently started teaching classes for Girl Develop It Philadelphia.
What new tools, languages or frameworks interest you?
I am really interested in harnessing the power of CSS3 and have been trying to teach myself Ruby on Rails. As such, I am excited about the Burlington Ruby Conference in August, and looking forward to offering an Introduction to Ruby course in conjunction. (We are still looking for sponsors so that some of our Girl Develop It Intro to Ruby students can attend for free!)
I am constantly amazed at how much the developer community welcomes newcomers. There are always new online tutorials and resources for learning. Right now I'm learning my way through how to utilize Github.
In plugging into my new city I found meetup.com and Twitter most useful in finding like-minded folks and user groups in my community.
When I have a specific code question I often find answers on WC3Schools or by bugging one of my dev friends to take a look.
What advice would you offer to an up-and-coming programmer?
As a person who is still learning, my advice would be to get out there and do it. If you learn best through online tutorials, carve out the time to take them. If you learn best in a classroom setting, ask around your community to see who is holding the best classes. If you have a question, go online and ask it!
The developer community in the US needs more talent and YOU might just be exactly what they are looking for!