Hey, friends! I'm Lauren

Hey, friends!

I’m Lauren Schaefer, a developer advocate at MongoDB. I’ve been with MongoDB for a little over a year, and I love helping users get started with the technology. I’m on the Content team, so I spend most of my team creating blogs and videos.

I work out of my home office in Pennsylvania, which is on the east coast of the United States. I love traveling and speaking at conferences. Maybe we’ll bump into each other at a developer conference in the future. :slight_smile:

I’m a big advocate of remote work. It has enabled me to create a career I thoroughly enjoy despite living in the rural locations where my husband is employed. I gave a talk entitled Does Remote Work Really Work? at Pycon last year. Check it out.

In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my daughter and husband, watching comedies (I’m currently enjoying season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), and empowering and encouraging other women.

You can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. See you around the community!

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Hi I have a few questions for a school project the first question is.
What made you get into programming ?
@Lauren_Schaefer

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Welcome to the community! I’m glad you made your way here from TikTok! :slight_smile:

So what made me get into programming?

My family got the internet when I was in middle school, and I was fascinated. I remember creating a personal webpage using a basic GUI tool and thinking how fun it was. At some point, I got interested in the code behind the webpages. I went to a bookstore (yes, a real bookstore!) and picked up HTML for Dummies. I read the whole thing and had fun building out my own personal website.

When I was trying to figure out what service project to do for my Girl Scout Gold Award (equivalent to an Eagle Scout), I knew I wanted to do something with the web. My troop leader said she knew a local nonprofit that needed a website. I decided to teach myself to use Dreamweaver and Flash (Flash was super hot tech back then) to build the website for them. I had a lot of fun creating the site and then training a staff member how to update the site, so it could continue on after I left for college.

When I needed to pick a college major, I really didn’t know what to pick. Math had always been my favorite subject in school, but I didn’t know what a professional mathematician really did. I had always liked computers, so I decided to roll with that. Computer Science would be my major.

No one told me that Computer Science was “for guys.” I truly had no idea. My parents had no idea.

I also had no idea that many of my classmates would already have programming experience. They had taken programming courses in high school (my high school didn’t offer any), or they had taught themselves to program. I remember in my first programming course the instructor asked us how many of us had programming experience. I raised my hand. A classmate asked me what I had programmed. I told him I had built websites using HTML. He informed that wasn’t real programming.

When I took my second-level programming course, I discovered that programming was a male-dominated field. I was the only woman in my class. And I was shocked. Why had no one told me?

I knew so little in comparison to many of my classmates, and I was constantly aware of the fact that I was the only female student.

I considered switching majors many times. But I honestly couldn’t think of another major I would enjoy doing. Programming was a struggle for me initially (I remember being very confused at variable assignment – why were we saying two things were equal when they clearly were not?). I spent a LOT of time in office hours and a LOT of time with my classmates who helped me understand the material.

I remember when the instructor in my second-level programming course passed out our graded exams, my classmates were shocked that I got an A. I had to work so hard in those programming courses as I felt like I was catching up with my classmates.

Anyway, I never did find a major that sounded more interesting than Computer Science, so I graduated with a BS in Computer Science. I decided to stick around and get a MS in Computer Science. And then I was hired as a software engineer.

Well, that was probably more info than you were looking for, but there it is. Let me know if you have any other questions. :slight_smile:

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Wow, I felt a similar way when deciding what I would major in because computer science is the only thing I’m interested in because of my curiosity of how things work. You actually answered a lot of my questions that already had so thank you :grinning:! I only have two more …

As you most likely know homelessness is a huge issue. If I wanted to develop an app where people can individually donate to homeless people how would developers go about starting a project like this?

Lastly, why do you think programming has one of the best job outlooks in the future ?
@Lauren_Schaefer

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Also what programming language do you mostly use now ?
And what language is best to learn when looking for a job ?
@Lauren_Schaefer

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Regarding the app - It’s unclear to me what stage of app development you’re in.

If you’re at the very beginning, you probably need to start with some requirements gathering. What will actually help? What will be effective? Will donations be tax deductible? Why would people donate through your app rather than existing channels? Can you partner with existing organizations? etc

Thinking lean, you may want to start by validating your idea while building as little as possible. Can you accept donations through an existing system (mail, Paypal, gofundme, etc) to validate people are willing to give and that you have a way to effectively distribute donations.

Once you’ve validated your idea, you’re ready to build. This is the fun part. If you’re looking for a platform to build your app, I recommend MongoDB Realm. It has a lot of features that make building web and mobile apps easier. Things like serverless functions, GraphQL, and a mobile database.


Why do I think programming has one of the best job outlooks in the future?

Every company is becoming a software company. Nearly every business needs software in order to stay competitive or move ahead. Programmers make this happen.


Also what programming language do you mostly use now ?

JavaScript


And what language is best to learn when looking for a job ?

Some employers look for experience in specific programming languages while others acknowledge that, if you know one programming language, you can probably pick up another language fairly easily. I learned Java in school, but I haven’t touched it in years. Throughout my career, I’ve picked up JavaScript, Python, and PHP.

I recommend checking out the Stack Overflow Developer Survey for more information on programming language trends.

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This really helped a lot thank you and thank you for your time ! :slight_smile:

You’re welcome, @Tyree_mccloud!