From Office Administrator to Coder
How door2door Empowers its Female Employees
I have always been a curious person, which has led me to try out many things in life. If only I knew what I really wanted. I graduated in Marketing. I worked as an English teacher, a music producer, an airport agent and sales representative for a Brazilian airline and later held a job in the public service. When people don’t know what they want, some stagnate, other fluctuate, like me. While I wouldn’t miss the experience, the driving motor behind my restlessness was the thought that there is a better fit out there for me. There must be. Having tasted work-life in almost all its facets, I was still eager to find my real dream.
This was when I decided to pursue an online degree in computer science. When door2door opened its office in Porto Alegre, the company’s profile seemed intriguing and once again I thought: maybe this is the right thing for me. Based on my prior qualifications I started working there as an office administrator. At door2door we have a budgeted learning day which we can use for personal development in any way we want. I used this opportunity to cover my university courses and learn more about front-end development. I realized that coding was not just another thing to try out but that I really loved it. It became ever more clear to me that coding was what I really wanted to do.
I decided to share my thoughts with my manager Thiago who is also the General Manager of the Porto Alegre office and Team Lead in Software Development. Thankfully, he decided to fully support me. Knowing that I was already learning to code in my free time, he put me in a company internal mentorship program. Throughout the program I got to know door2door’s expert coders who helped me improve my coding step by step through feedback sessions. I’d like to mention here that my mentor Stiliyana has been a big inspiration for me — both as a woman pursuing a career in technology and as a developer. Stili started out as an intern herself in May 2016 during her last year at university. She wrote her bachelor thesis in the company being mentored by Adam Mooney, Senior Software Developer at door2door. She became a full-time software developer in October 2017. Having herself received this opportunity, Stili was clearly happy to pass that torch on to me. Even though we are all busy and work in different time zones, Stili is always quick to respond to my questions. With real projects the responsibility also became very real and trust took a center stage. It was okay that I was still learning, but I was being relied on and trusted to do my best.
Nobody said it would be easy. Learning a complex new profession can be overwhelming and it is normal to give up. I’ve seen many people give up early in the process because it is almost impossible to walk that path alone or without help. To be honest, sometimes I wasn’t sure myself if I could follow through. The number of programs, tools, languages, frameworks, and all of the numerous list of things that you cannot even classify are just endless! You listen to developers speak and although they understand each other perfectly, you don’t get a word of what they are saying. And then there is that screen with a lot of letters and symbols in seemingly random order. Craaaazy… (but let’s be honest… it is amazing!). I learned that working hard for what you want can be rewarding and part of my reward was the support I received from door2door’s engineering team. I will always be grateful to them for not letting me give up!
At the beginning of 2019 I had another opportunity to visit door2door’s headquarter in Berlin, Germany, to work closer with my mentor and the team. As always, meeting Stili and other colleagues from around the world in person was great and being exposed to clients who actually rely on the algorithms we build to run a modern kind of public transport and the knowledge we bring was important. What I didn’t know yet was that my promotion was going to be announced on my last day in Berlin during Town Hall with all employees present. I would officially start working on front-end projects! First in addition to my administrative job and with time I could increase my share of coding as well as progress into the field of back-end development, working at the heart of door2door’s mobility platform
In coding I found my calling and at door2door I found a place which encouraged me (and still does) to follow my dream. At the same time I found beautiful colleagues who supported me and who are inspiring and fun to work with. But more so I found a home, a foundation which I don’t intend to trade for any tempting experience that might come my way. Not because I owe anything to anyone. But because I feel settled here at door2door and because I have finally found what I have been looking for.