Gabriela Larregle is an energetic purpose-driven top-level Ember.Js developer from Argentina. She joined Index global talent network and got matched for a 1-year full-time remote job with the US leading provider of highly scalable development and DevOps solutions.
She is now a core member of the development guild and is responsible for guiding the product development on the frontend side, mentoring junior devs, and collaborating with UI/UX teams.
Read her inspiring interview to discover smart, unique perspectives on women coders, career fulfilment, and inclusiveness in the workplace. Also find out how she hit the ground running and guiding her current team.
Why & how have you become a woman developer? Who or what inspired you to become one?
I was 23 when I embarked on this journey together with a close friend. He was a brilliant entrepreneur and inspired me to endeavor the software development career path so I could get the most out of “my intelligence and discipline”, as per his words, and travel the world.
How have you developed your skills?
First, we did research on the preferred technologies. After a couple of months of online courses, I started to pick up smaller and easier projects. It was extremely stressful at the beginning, but we faked it till we made it. And, we made it. After 6 months, I got hired by an Italian startup with whom I fell in love. There I worked for 3 years and I was educated/trained by professional engineers with years of experience.
To reach a good productivity and performance level, I worked around 12 to 16h hours per day during my first year. My abundant motivation led me to become unafraid of taking on new challenges and to thrive at the job.
What challenges have you faced on your way to becoming a developer?
The number one challenge I’ve faced was self-confidence. Like any other extremely challenging field, software development can affect your self-awareness, pushing you to doubt yourself, especially when you’re a self-learner or a women coder whose work might be easily scrutinized due to gender, age, and inclusiveness, or any other gaps. Self-confidence is your superpower in software engineering.
Starting as a woman coder wasn’t easy, because of the prejudices and blockages. In my first two years, I was scared to interact with the software engineering communities and developers. I felt that I had to prove myself. So I over-efforted and overworked my way up. And after three years of self-development and experimentation, I decided to quit the job, because I was clearly being underestimated.
These are more from the self-confidence perspective. But real outside-of-work challenges were to encounter sexist jokes, memes, and overuse of male pronouns. I worked with people across the world, from different cultures and contexts. A huge challenge for me was to speak up, and I always did. Sometimes I had to explain in front of many men why a certain thing was sexist.
Fortunately, in 99% of the cases, I was honored for it. It’s pivotal to speak up regardless, and detachedly, of how others would respond to it, (if they reflect or not), the group has to know that the bias was noticed and that it shouldn’t really be there; there’s a better paradigm to aim for.
Why did you choose an Ember.js career path?
Because of its balance between stability-growth, its supportive community, and the neatness of Ruby on Rails, Ember.js was a perfect choice. It’s a developer-first framework.
On what projects have you worked before joining the Index platform?
I’ve worked developing web and mobile apps for startups as well as freelance jobs. So far, working in the IT industry has been my favorite, the infinitely creative environment.
What triggered you to join the Index hiring network?
Fortunately, the Index IT Recruiters found me. My hiring “agent”, if I can call her like that, was the one who first interacted with me. She was very purposeful, supportive, and uplifting. Her willingness to assign me and drive triggered me to join. We were on the page right from the start and from now on I feel like we are on the same team :)
What I like most about Index is that the team is fast and timely, as well as friendly/flexible, and always willing to help. This supportive environment feels like a track for growth.
What are some perks, strong points or advantages of working remotely as a software developer?
Well of course the number one: you can work from everywhere. So, as long as you stick to your schedule and manage to be organized, you can enjoy traveling and any mixture of home activities while you’re programming.
Also, there is always room for flexibility and unexpected appointments day-to-day. You can also enjoy sharing co-working spaces where you may meet creative people, business ideas and enjoy good drinks, which is amazing for your wellbeing.
How do you think inclusion and diversity matters for the tech industry? Do they matter in the workplace?
Yes, it matters. There’s still a lot of work to do. Even though companies hire or give opportunities to diverse people of any gender, age and disabilities, companies still should revise their norms and values to not leave women who can code behind. There’s still the belief that genders choose their career paths due to “natural” factors, ignoring contexts. This perspective is often validated in companies that prioritize male leaders or judge women’s talent without considering this educational factor.
Companies should keep on promoting the image of females in any role, leading roles, technical roles, etc. It doesn’t matter that the reality still has to catch up. And it will eventually… catch up. Inclusive marketing, inclusive media images, inclusive language, and examples, all build up to society’s paradigm.
Give a few tips to non-techs who’d like to switch their career and become developers?
Have patience! Creativity comes to you when you are relaxed. And trust yourself. If you’re not having fun doing the work you love, you’ll miss them both. Be led by excitement, not perfectionism. The joy of programming is in discovering the best solution that looks hard or even impossible on paper but can happen anytime. Think of it as an ‘aha’ moment.
Simplicity is key and, ultimately, the best approach.
What advice would you give to a person who wants to have such an impressive profile like yours? What trends should they follow?
It really depends on what you want. You can be successful at whatever you do - new projects, ideas, habits or even life goals. The best advice I can think of: become good at solving problems. Problems of any kind.
Something that can serve you well also is learning blockchain, VR, XR. They may look complex and cutting edge at first. But with time it will pay you off by broadening your skills and granting you great job offers.
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