Laurie Malau, originally from Indonesia, came to Germany without previous experience in coding and software engineering. Out of passion and curiosity, she decided to change her career and now works as a Junior Software Engineer at Scout24. We talked to her about her move to Berlin and her decision to jump into cold water and start her career all over again.
You are originally from Indonesia and moved to Germany. How has that been?
Laurie: I first came to Berlin in January 2014 on an assignment from my previous workplace. At first, I struggled with the brutal winter months, but when the sun started to come out I saw how beautiful Berlin could be. At the end of 2015 I left Berlin, not knowing that I would be back again in a year to join ImmobilienScout24. I’m still trying to conquer the German language, but I think I can call Germany my home now.
What did you do at your previous workplace and why did you decide to change jobs?
Laurie: I was a foreign service officer. During my assignment in Berlin, a friend showed me some code. It was just a few simple lines, but I still remember the feeling of fascination that washed over me. I started tinkering with it at home after work, and then started joining coding workshops, and finally decided that this was what I wanted to do instead.
A lot of people thought I was out of my mind and that I would regret it, but I have never looked back.
Now you are fully into coding and working as a Junior Software Engineer. Why did you choose Scout24 as your new employer? And what projects are you working on?
Laurie: I was contacted by ImmobilienScout24 to have a chat, which turned out to be the first interview! At the end of the process it was an easy decision for me. I knew ImmobilienScout24 already, had a good impression of their involvement in the tech community, and I really liked the people who I interacted with during the hiring process.
I was also very interested by what the team was building, the tools and languages they were working with, and I thought I could learn a lot from it.
In my job as a Software Engineer, I am part of the commercial market segment where we build services related to the non-residential real estate market that includes offices, restaurants, stores and so on. This saves me whenever people ask if I can help them find an apartment.
Do you have any advice for people (especially women) who are thinking about starting a new career (especially in the tech industry)?
Laurie: I always say to people: It’s going to be hard, and you’ll doubt yourself along the way, but you’ll get through it!
For career-changers who had a different expertise already, it can be harder, because it’s like going from hero to zero. We have to learn to accept this discomfort of restarting from scratch, and at times, this could be more difficult than the technical learning curve.
Whenever in doubt, look back at the you a year ago, or a month ago, or last week, and you’ll realize that you’ve levelled up. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
For women or people from underrepresented groups, I suggest prioritizing on finding a good team for their first job. I am incredibly lucky to have found an amazing team of people who are supportive of my development and want me to succeed, and I hope others can too.
Do you think there is something typical German? And what do you think about that?
Laurie: Germans are passionate about folding cardboard boxes as small as possible before putting it in the trash. It’s quite impressive.