Lucy Bain · Software Engineer · Atlassian

Lucy Bain · Software Engineer · Atlassian

Lucy got her start in engineering by chance. “I took a programming course for fun in college at the University of Mary Washington really enjoyed it — enough to switch majors!”

After graduation Lucy did a stint in Silicon Valley and eventually transferred to New Zealand. “I’d always wanted to travel there, so I asked for a transfer. I worked at AVOS writing in Ruby on Rails, which was completely new to me. I learned on the job from people who were passionate about the technology. It was a great experience, but I much prefer focused, intentional learning. Eventually the constant pivoting, rewriting, and disrupting was too much — I decided to leave a Valley company and I don’t regret it.

“I moved to Sydney and worked for a small Rails company here, called SplitIt. I learned about short methods, testing, and clear naming; I practiced deploying to staging and production; I tinkered with JS and CSS. This was the company where I grew and developed the most. I decided I wanted to learn more front end development so I started teaching myself JavaScript.”

“I did a lot of front end learning on my own. I went through Codecademy, read ‘JavaScript: The Good Parts’, started a study group that had lots of hands on coding, and answered a bunch of JS interview questions. It wasn’t fast, but it worked well enough to get me a new job at Atlassian. Now I work on Bitbucket Server as a front end developer. I learn something every day and am constantly impressed with my coworkers. And of course I love working at the best place to work in Australia!”

“While I was studying JS I decided to work through as many JS interview questions I could from https://github.com/h5bp/Front-end-Developer-Interview-Questions#js. This amazing resource helped me so much. Most of the questions I couldn’t answer right off the bat. I needed to do research and learn more and more about JS to be able to answer them. But I wanted to be sure I wasn’t answering the questions in a hand-wave-y kind of way. I needed to be able to answer these kinds of questions with an interviewer standing right there and my mind slowly going blank. So I wrote a blog post for each of them. This really helped focus my learning and give me a clear goal for each study session. I had something real to show my interviewers — they didn’t need to take my word for it that I’d been studying hard.”

“Of course, as I wrote my answers I found little gaps that I hadn’t realised were there. My understanding of JS deepened and my ability to communicate and teach improved. I’m always overjoyed when I get an email from someone who found a post of mine useful, or a comment saying a concept hadn’t “clicked” for them until they read my post. I love knowing that I helped someone else learn as well. My blog still helps keep me focused and striving. Recently I’ve been focusing on ES6 since we’re using it at work more and more, hopefully those posts help others as well!” Check out her blog at www.lucybain.com!

Lucy is one of the organizers for Women Who Code and the Sydney chapter of Rails Girls. “I’m currently co-running a mentor ring for interns, and just started coffee dates to help people get to know their women coworkers better.”

When Lucy is stuck on a hard problem she remembers, “Learn it once, know it forever! If you skip out on this problem you’ll almost certainly hit it (or something similar) again. I try to remind myself that this problem might suck now, but it’ll have larger rewards than just this problem.”

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