Lauren Lickus, software developer

Rad Seed, Rad Future. N°02.

What do you do?

I am a software developer, working on marketing applications for an education technology company.

I specialize in applications with a front-end focus, so I primarily work with Javascript, HTML and CSS. The products I support all have a Python back-ends so I have learned enough to be dangerous and have passing experience with a handful of other programming languages.

I am raising a brilliant and fearless 18-month-old daughter. I also run an immersive cinematic exhibition company called BBQ Films alongside my husband and a team of extremely talented people.

How were you as a child?

I have always been doing things with my hands. When I was small I would play with Legos, build doll houses with blocks of wood from my grandfather’s tool bench, crochet, do needlepoint, play the violin. My family always encouraged me to learn and explore, but the mechanical work of making something with precision has always been like meditation to me.

I also love to read. As a child I would read anything I could get my hands on, but fantasy and mystery have always been my passion. I read Alice in Wonderland with my dad every night before bed. I spent a memorable summer reading every single L. Frank Baum book. I loved Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie novels. I stayed up after bedtime reading Peter Pan by my night light. At dinner one night I even gave my parents a critique of Tolkien’s narrative style that I still stand by today!

Lauren’s childhood books that are now in her daughter’s bedroom ❤

Everyone comes at it from their own road, but I believe my love of the fantastical, the mysterious and the purely practical contribute in equal parts to my ability to build great software.

What was the trigger that got you into coding?

I never had a single moment that got me into programming — it was really more of an accident than a plan. In fact, I started this career path with the intention of becoming a book designer.

Penguin Random House offices, New York.

While I was getting my design degree I took some web development classes that I enjoyed, so when I was looking for a way to support myself in New York City, I was fortunate to find an opportunity to do design and development for a book publisher, Penguin Random House.

The thing that makes me happy to go to work every day is the same thing that I enjoyed in those classes — the excitement of hunting down the solution to a problem and seeing the thing I have made come alive on screen. Whether it is a solution to a layout problem in CSS, fixing a bug in Python, or getting a container running in Kubernetes — when I get the pieces to finally fall into the right place and whatever I am trying to do just WORKS it creates a visceral thrill that is, frankly, addictive.

What advice do you have working in tech?

It is critical to make your peace with failure. As a fundamentally
risk-averse person, this is something I have to practice and
re-discover daily. Coming to terms with the idea that you have to
experience failure in order to achieve success
is a powerful lesson
that software engineering teaches me over and over again.

I am incredibly fortunate to work with teams that foster experimentation
and value learning, so I am proud to exercise this principle everyday.

Secret Code. Make Her See What She Can Be.