Software Developers Journey Podcast

#265 Mirjam Aulbach accountant, dog trainer, and senior engineer



Start of the Journey & The Intersection of Coding and Social Work (4:46)

Mirjam Aulbach started her journey in a field entirely unrelated to software development, in accounting and then dog training, yet she found herself drawn to the logic and creativity of programming. She acknowledges the importance of understanding the dynamics of the human mind and emotions in software development and communication within a team.

The Role of Side Projects (12:40)

Mirjam highlights the significance of side projects for learning and exploring new areas. She discusses her side project 'Conference Buddy,' where she built a platform for people who want to attend tech conferences but are hesitant to go alone. These endeavors offer unique opportunities for junior developers to gain practical experience, learn new technologies, and take ownership of their projects.

Transition into Full-time Developer (19:28)

Mirjam elaborates on her shift from being a dog trainer to a full-time software developer, emphasizing the impact of having a mentor and her self-study. She leveraged online platforms like FreeCodeCamp, and engaged in coding meetups and Twitter coding community for learning and support. Her journey underlines the importance of continuous learning and community support in personal growth and career development.

Importance of Testing (38:12)

Mirjam discusses her focus on testing in development. She underscores that testing is a critical part of the development process, focusing mostly on the unit and integration levels. She believes that every team needs someone who understands how to break things and ensure a strong testing safety net. This experience emphasizes the value of software testing and its integral role in the development process.

Understanding Human Behavior and Emotions (42:35)

Toward the end of the conversation, Mirjam revisits the theme of understanding human behavior and emotions. She encourages junior developers to develop kindness and compassion for others, acknowledging that people's experiences and feelings can differ vastly. This understanding is essential not just for team dynamics, but also for creating user-oriented software solutions.

Open Source Development Challenges (42:10)

Mirjam discusses her current role at VMware working on an open-source product. She describes the unique challenges involved, particularly lacking direct access to end-user interactions. These insights shed light on the distinct dynamics of open-source development and adapting testing strategies accordingly.

Enjoyed the Podcast?

If you did, make sure to subscribe and share it with your friends!

Post a review and share it! If you enjoyed tuning in, leave us a review. You can also share this podcast with your friends and family and share lessons on software development.

Become a supporter of the show. Head over to Patreon or on Buzzsprout.

Got any questions? You can connect with me, Timothée (Tim) Bourguignon, on LinkedIn, per email, or via my homepage.

Thank you for tuning in!


⚠ The following transcript was automatically generated.
❤ Help us out, Submit a pull-request to correct potential mistakes

Mirjam Aulbach 0:00
The things I like most in development are things you don't need a lot in this kind of agency. When I started to get into testing the first time, it was like instant love affair. I love testing. And we didn't run tests at that agency and all the other things like refactoring. I love refactoring. Like, I don't know, if I like refactoring or testing more, it's more to decide. So kind of this, taking things, making them better writing tests, and then taking those things back again, and making them even better and so on. It's just something I really like. And that was something that wasn't required in that extends, or even a little, and that was why I, I think after six months already, I started to feel like I think I need something more complex like to develop myself better and to feel a bit better with doing what I'm doing.

Tim Bourguignon 0:53
Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers. To help you on your upcoming journey. I'm your host team building. On this episode, I receive Maryam Alba medium wrote her first programming. Now, let's skip this and hear it from her directly. She finally turn this hobby into a career something like six years ago. Currently, Miriam is working as a software engineer, Senior Software Engineer at evens open source program office, she self describes as us carry the cat, or social anxiety sometimes make connecting to the tech community quite hard. That's why he created the idea of conference buddy, a way to find companions for tech events for everyone uncomfortable visiting such events on their own. And that's actually where we met the first time at a conference for more than four weeks ago, something like this. You're welcome. Step three. Hi. But before we come to your story, I want to thank the terrific listeners who support the show every month, you are keeping the dev journey lights up. If you would like to join this fine crew, and help me spend more time on finding phenomenal guests, then editing audio tracks, please go to our website, Dev journey for info and click on the Support me on Patreon button. Even the smallest contributions are giant steps toward a sustainable dev journey. journey. Thank you. And now back to today's guest. So Miriam, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story look like, and imagine how to shape their own future. So let's go back to beginnings. Where would you place the start of your dev journey?

Mirjam Aulbach 2:45
That is a hard question. I think like the official start was 2070. But I would say my start was most 30 years ago. And like when I was 12, or 11. Because that's when I wrote my first program in locomotive basic. And it was like it was really simple program where the computer asked you questions like multiple choice questions, and you had to answer them. And if you got it, right, like the border of display blinked in different colors. And I was really proud of that. And I think if I go in, like my old boxes, I probably can still find the data set where the program is saved. I don't know. Yeah, but that was maybe my beginning. I would say yes.

Tim Bourguignon 3:38
What took you to writing lines of basic at the age of 12?

Mirjam Aulbach 3:42
Yeah, I think so. My father was pretty interested in computers. And that kind of I played computers a lot as a kid. And he also wrote a lot of programs himself and kind of, I think this is what kind of started my interest. And I also think he helped me a bit I actually don't remember because it's been some time. And yeah, that was something I basically had as a hobby since then, ever. Like I also started writing or building websites and back then iframes because that was like the thing to do. Later. Awesome layouts and tables and stuff. But it was always kind of a hobby. Like it was never really a career. What I didn't even realize it could be career for me to be honest. Until Yeah, seven years six years ago.

Tim Bourguignon 4:34
Wow. When did you begin to scratch your own itches? Do stuff for yourself. Just satisfy your curiosity.

Mirjam Aulbach 4:42
I don't even know I just, I mean, I just liked it. Like it was nice, like writing something like typing something into my computer. And then it like the thing did what I wanted to do like what I told it to do, and that was kind of interesting. So that was something I liked. And then whether websites, obviously, like your type something into your computer, and then you can actually see something and something is happening on the screen. And you can share that with others. Yeah. And that was something I, yeah, I just liked. Simple as that.

Tim Bourguignon 5:16
I can relate to that seeing seeing the things you build, and seeing them running. It's just it's really in itself. You just need to advertise it to anyone. It's just for you. And that was so awesome. Yeah, exactly. I can relate to that. Perfectly. But then you didn't realize this could be your career. So did you go a different direction first?

Mirjam Aulbach 5:36
Yeah. So for me, like in the school system, I was in Germany back at that time, we had to decide between different kind of main passes for the school system, I think it changed back like until then. But I had the choice between doing more social paths, and also some a more language based mathematic base path. And then also like kind of accounting. And I wanted to do the math, math things because I thought like, that sounds interesting. But I was at a school, like a girls only school and they only, like, actually did that path. And in that year, when more than I think 12 people chose it. And that didn't happen. So I chose that counting thing, because I thought like, it's also numbers. And like, it sounded better for me, because I thought like, I'm not super social, which turns out is not true. And also, I'm not good with languages. So I kind of took that path. And from that point on, like, all, like all careers, and then chops ever talked about, or like somebody told me about were related to that kind of area. So I never even realized that there is something I could do outside of kind of accounting, and so on. And yeah, that's how I then landed in something called Industrial Management Assistance, and in German, which is yeah, basically, I did a lot of accounting for years and office management and stuff like that.

Tim Bourguignon 7:17
Okay, while still coding on the side for yourself.

Mirjam Aulbach 7:21
Exactly. Okay. Yeah, a bit. Like I did nothing like super fancy, it was more like buildings, where we simple websites and stuff like that. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 7:30
It's fancy enough. So which time did you realize that this could actually be a career and end, you may want to change.

Mirjam Aulbach 7:43
So I took a little detour, um, because I've worked as like Office Manager for quite some time accounting and project management and a lot of excellent magic, a lot of extra magic. And then, I mean, I was never really happy in that kind of career, because it was okay. But it was not super interesting. And also, at least, I have never found a job where you feel like you are treated like very respectfully, because it's like, kind of people think it's more than like the lower end of jobs, I don't know, which is not true at all. And then I, like I had this interest into programming. But that was still a point in time where I felt, you can only go that path if you have a computer science background period. So I had, like, I thought a bit about should I go back to university, but then I needed to make money because I lived on my own. So at that point in time, a new pattern I got in my life, I got into my life, and he had a doc. And I always wanted to talk, but I couldn't have fun when I was little. And then when the partner, including the doc moved in with me, I started to read a lot of dog books, because I want to do things perfect, which is like not a good thing. And then I found a private learning institution where you can basically become a dog trainer, and I did the math. And it turned out like doing this online module, like online learning modules and going to seminars, if I pay that separately, it's more expensive than doing the doc trainer thing. And that's why I started that. I didn't want to become a doctor and now only wanted to basically become my own dog trainer for my own dog. And then I realized and that was a big surprise for me. I actually like working with people. And that was something I absolutely did not expect. So then I worked at the dog trainer for almost nine years, which was really nice. And it taught me more about programming than anything else I think or working as an engineer And I think 2015 2016, I started to feel like this is not something I can do for much longer, because it's, I mean, it's exhaustive, it's not. So well paid, if you don't have really high prices, which I didn't want to do, because then it's not accessible. And it gets also a bit exhausting emotionally. Because you have, like, added one or one coachings, which means most of the people that came to me had a dog that had heavier issues. And that is always also, like, really a problem for the people, obviously, because it's like, yeah, it's a burden, it can be emotionally really hard for people. So yeah, that was the point I realized, I think I need to do something different. And that was also the point where, like, in the tech industry, you could see that more and more people are actually started working there that are not from this computer science background. And then my partner at that time also was an engineer. And he saw he also that like, I have people in my team that are awesome programmers, and they don't have a computer science background. So I had that kind of support. And then I also worked at an agency as an office manager, part time because I did my dog training. And I think we had one off site where I did a presentation about like, the latest numbers, like the counting numbers, basically. And I did that in a JavaScript framework, like the whole presentation, and the graphics, and so on, and animations was all in JavaScript. And then they said, like, I mean, if you're into that stuff, so much like and you're doing a lot of that. And I also had like three different WordPress blogs for my doctrinal projects, and so on, which I knew about and say, well, like, I mean, if you like, you want to change something. And if you really want to go into development, you can do it, like with us, which was an awesome opportunity. And yeah, that means 2016 is stop doing dog training, like I did not take on new clients. I've worked with existing ones, obviously, and started to do a bit of a self learning pass. Like I did, Free Code Camp Hubbard, I did a bit of exorcism, and just building things. And 20 and 2016. I also worked already a bit in the agency, like an end developer unit, but only like a bit just like to get familiar and 2017. I started working officially as a front end engineer like full time frontend engineer.

Tim Bourguignon 12:47
places I want to forecast. Hey, Scott, let's let's pick one, and then we'll come back to the timeline. You mentioned in passing, working with Doug told me so much about working with engineers. Yes, I just cannot not look at this.

Mirjam Aulbach 13:06
I mean, so like on different levels. One thing is, I am convinced that my love for software testing, and especially test driven development is because of Doc training, because it has a lot in common with dog training I did I have a whole talk about that, which I love giving because I love talking about dogs and testing. And yeah, it actually has a lot. It is a lot related to dog training, like doing this little steps toward one big goal like breaking it down doing little steps, having a lot of reinforcement getting this feedback loop. That is a lot like that kind of dog training. I did. And also so for once I learned a lot about stuff like how, how do dogs learn how to print structured like, how emotions like anxiety and fear and aggression? How do they kind of start and how that happened? How do they affect behavior. And that is something that is also really good to know, like when working and interacting with people and genuine and understanding people. And then because dog training is not about training dogs, I mean, need to know how a dog learns and how to create an environment where dogs can learn. But it's mostly about working with people. So you need to learn a lot about how you work with people how you talk to people, you have to learn at least I think a lot of compassion for people. And that is really something that I can see every day in my job. This is something I can always go back to and be like okay, looking through my dog trainer eyes, and all people that work with me for long. Know, Like I start a lot of sentences with words like Okay, so in dog training anything or not to talk too much about documenting, but yeah, that's actually I learned a lot.

Tim Bourguignon 15:08
And I can totally understand it now. Now as you explain it. At first, I would feel puzzled. If you say, well, as dog trainer, I can explain what you're what you're doing right now. Are you comparing me to a dog?

Mirjam Aulbach 15:20
Yes. Yeah, I mean, that I have to be careful with that. Because like, obviously, it does not feel nice. Like if I would say to somebody like, yeah, I tend to let it like a dog. It feels like an insult. It isn't because I did a very, I feel like positive and compassionate and kind kind of dog training. But yeah, obviously, it doesn't feel nice. And I had I think at an I was once at an event with a co worker. And he was asked by someone we had a conversation with, he was asked like, ah, and does she also train you like, you and your team? And he? He laughed? And he was like, No, of course not. And I was like, Okay, wait a second. How did you think about software testing when you started like in my team? And he was like, I hated it? And like, yes. Did you write tests? And he was like, no, like, did we have to force you to write tests? And he was like, Yes, I was like, okay, and the new team you are now working at? Like, what is your test coverage and font and what you're saying, and he was like, 90%? So and now, do you think? Yes. I just want to say, like, trained you sound so negative, but it's not. It's about like, you need to see what, what motivates people and what makes people realize their own benefit of doing things. So it sounds very manipulative, but it's more about finding the right approach to get your point across and to form and reinforce behavior.

Tim Bourguignon 16:55
I like the word you put manipulative, because it's what comes across. But it's actually not the point, it's really working inside the framework. And the I don't want to say limitations, I want to say guardrails of the system you have to work with. And if a brain or the brain of a dog is structured this way, and you work inside those structures, and inside the way it works, then obviously, you're going to make, you're gonna have some results, if you work against the grain against the way it's supposed to work. And it's not gonna work. So you have to adapt to this. Probably, the way our brains are structured is probably similar to the way human brain, the sector in some ways, and then you can reuse the same patterns to the same same positive extent. So definitely very cool. Thank you for expanding on this. That makes a lot of sense. Then, the second place I wanted to poke at is, you said, 2016, you still had some, some customers working with you, and you didn't take new customers, and you started dipping your toes into into development for real in this company? How did that work out? How did they make it possible? How did you start experimenting, bringing some value while still very being officially flagged as a learner? How did that work out? Yes, this this sounds very, a very nice nest to start working.

Mirjam Aulbach 18:23
Definitely, it definitely was. So I think we started out mostly by, I got asked for a list of this other technologies we are working with. And this is the kind of knowledge you need to have. So in that agency, we worked a lot with WordPress. So obviously, it was WordPress, which I was already familiar with HTML, CSS, which I also already was pretty familiar with. And then also more JavaScript and vanilla J. S, like I started with the good old vanilla J. S. And I knew okay, this is probably something I need to do a bit more to see how everything kind of works together a bit php. And so I already had worked with WordPress, I had, I think, built two or three different sites with it. So it was a bit familiar. So I started using the plugins we use just to get familiar with that. And then the team sometimes so far, I think I, it was mostly Fridays. I just did go over to the Deaf corner, basically where the developers were sitting, and did basically, I mean, it wasn't really pair programming, like in a strict sense, but a bit kind of pair programming, basically sitting with someone at their computer looking at code. Something sometimes even writing a bit of code. And so I started with that. And yeah, I think that was the start. And I have a hard time remembering when I did my first own things. I don't know, it feels so long ago, there was a pandemic in which Indian ages. And but I still remember when I had my first feature that I needed to actually ship to production. And I'm making air quotes because we upload FTP, like, via FTP. So yeah, it was not really that. And I remember that my project manager back then was a great friend of mine now, she basically didn't hold my hand via telephone, because she was not in the office. But she knew that I was really nervous about that, because I was afraid that I kind of break everything. And so we had like a standing line, basically, while I did the upload and checked everything. And I think it's really nice, because I had a lot of support on this journey, which was definitely super nice. Yes,

Tim Bourguignon 20:53
that is awesome. Do you remember when when this flipped into a job? What What triggered this flip? Was it? You don't have any customers on your dog training side anymore? And so, Tara, it becomes a full time job, or was it somebody telling you hey, you're ready, let's jump into the cold water. And let's do this. How did it happen?

Mirjam Aulbach 21:15
And we planned the timeline. So we had the deadline of the first first January 2017, where it was clear that as a point wherever worked full time as a developer in that company, and that was also needed, because like I did office management back then with a colleague, and we need to find somebody to replace me, we need to do the whole hand over. So we had this deadline, basically where it was official and the end. And in between I had this kind of sometime first sometimes that and I always did that by moving my desk. So I had two desks in the office. And like Friday, for example, was my developer day. And then if somebody came and asked me about, hey, this invoice, I was saying, I'm a developer today. Go ahead and wait a message to my colleague.

Tim Bourguignon 22:05
Yeah, well wait for Monday. That's exactly

Mirjam Aulbach 22:07
right. Until I'm back.

Tim Bourguignon 22:11
How did you feel on end of December 2016. And facing this deadline?

Mirjam Aulbach 22:17
I was really excited. Because I, I felt like I mean, I did not felt super confident in a way like, I will totally rock this whole thing. But it was really nice for me to know that I will be out of this one, chop that edit for such a long time. And that, like I had nice colleagues and so on, but it was still not something I was super excited about the whole day. Like, you know, and so this, it was a really big thing for me this knowing like, okay, next month, you will be officially officially like a front end developer. Yeah, I would. I was really excited. Yes.

Tim Bourguignon 22:59
Did you look at your, at your choices in the past of not going toward development? And already start to wonder at that time?

Mirjam Aulbach 23:09
Definitely. Yeah. Often? I think at that time I like, I don't know. So looking back, I think it definitely, it definitely could have done this sooner. Like if I would have thought about that. And I blame sexism for that. I'm sorry, I just do. And I mean, also for my own mindset, because it didn't occur to me that this is something I could belong to kind of I don't know. And on the other hand, I think that, like it was a choice I had to make for different reasons, like I had, I moved out really early. And that means meant I need money. So I had to do a job. I couldn't go to university and do computer science stuff. And also, in hindsight, I think, having worked in different jobs, like in this kind of office management role, where also did project management and all this stuff. And obviously also as a dog trainer. This is something that makes me a better developer, because I can really appreciate what a privileged role that is because it is like, like before I like as an office manager back then, if I had a job that I didn't like, and I felt really bad. That's it. I mean, you cannot like it's not super easy to change. It's really hard to change. I had one shop where my therapist told me I have to leave. Because he was like this is like unhealthy. I think I had I don't know like 45 kilos at that time. So it was really affecting my physical and obviously mental health. And it was really hard finding something new. Even though I had a lot of time because like I did get a doctor's notice that I didn't have to go too far. going on, so on. And that meant I also did get unemployment benefit from the first day, which normally you don't get if you quit. And it still was really hard for me finding something new. And I had a really bad time because I thought, what if I cannot pay my rent anymore. And now as a software engineer, not that it's, like, the easiest time right now. And I think like other people may have a bit of an easier way to find a new job, but I still know I will find a job. And just this is such a privilege, and it changes your mindset in work, because, you know, I don't have to put up with everything that is thrown at me. Yeah, so all in all, I'm definitely it would have been really smart to go and development way sooner, super smart. But I think it makes me whole package, I guess, as an engineer, so it's okay.

Tim Bourguignon 25:53
It sounds like it. This is something I've seen him on the show times the times over, which is really not only people who had a first or second career and then switch to, to development, bring something from their first career or second careers with them. So some kind of you mentioned, social contact, empathy, etc. But also, I feel that this maturity of being a bit older, when you start looking at all this brings a different regard on the on the on the world of development and seeing, as you said, we are a privileged bunch. And this is not the same everywhere. On the less dire note, I've had very interesting discussions about communities and saying, Well, this is a given on the tech side that we have communities cetera. But what about lawyers that will have communities like this, they don't meet every week for us as a group and and talk about luxury stuff. It's not in their habits. And so this is, again, something different that people say, Hey, this is new. I've never seen this before. And this is always a fresh view on our industry. And I

Mirjam Aulbach 27:02
love it. Yeah, definitely. Um,

Tim Bourguignon 27:05
I'm cheating a bit over your LinkedIn open on the site. I could do. I'm actually very interested in the job after that one. So I know after that you went to a different job. It might be interesting, why why you changed up at that time. And then I would like to talk about how you started brighter, because it was just before the pandemic, and I would be interested in this. But

Mirjam Aulbach 27:32
tickets there. Yeah. So I've worked at the agency, like as a full time developer for a year. And it's, I've realized, pretty quickly that the things I like most in development are things you don't need a lot in this kind of agency like I when I started to get into testing the first time it was like, instant instant love affair, like I love testing. And we didn't write tests at that agency. And all the other things like refactoring, I love refactoring, like, I don't know, if I like refactoring our testing, while want to decide. So kind of this, taking things, making them better writing tests, and then taking those things back again, and making them even better and so on. It's just something I really like. And that was something that wasn't required in that kind of work. And in that extent, or even a little. And that was why I kind of I think after six months already, I started to feel like I think I need something more complex, like to develop myself better and to feel a bit better with doing what I'm doing. And that is why I changed for the first time. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 29:00
Yeah, how do you find the next job?

Mirjam Aulbach 29:03
Actually, a nice thing about the development development world as a community. And this is also something that I learned, which was really important for me. I kind of found my people. So we have and Frankfort where I'm from, we have a community that is basically for women and tech. It's called tickets. And I did know somebody that was a member there. And so I got into contact with that community. I went to a meet, they did a Rails Girls workshop where I participated. And they said next year, I could not be a participant anymore. I had to be a teacher. So I kind of had made contact and this like mostly in this in this space. And my friend from this community told me like if you are looking like for new job, I know a company that I know the CTO, and I know that he would would really be open to um hire somebody outside of computer science world. And this is how I, like then got enough of my living together to actually contact like that person and be like, Can I send you my resume? Me? Because the chapter description, I read the job description they would not have applied there because like I think even required a computer science background. So I was like, Yeah, okay, I'm out. Yeah. And that was because I knew that this is somebody that is open for my kind of resume. That was when I applied and then we had a talk and like, the whole official thing, and that's how I learned up there.

Tim Bourguignon 30:38
Okay, did you give them the feedback that if they want somebody else, then the computer science, they might remove it from?

Mirjam Aulbach 30:45
They have really improved to help process like, it's definitely better? Yes.

Tim Bourguignon 30:50
Okay. So you will end the job and you stayed a couple of years there than you

Mirjam Aulbach 30:55
would have to take my LinkedIn. I think I switched. And I know that I started at my next job in October 2019. Yes, yes. And that the reason for that was like, I've worked, like the company I've worked with, is called cozy. And they've basically a bit of kind of a consultancy. I don't know how to describe it really well. But we've worked for different clients. But I've worked in a team that worked on one product for one client, so it was kind of a product team. And this was what I was looking for. I didn't want to do agency work again, because I noticed like it has a lot of pros. So not to bash consultancy or agency work. But I knew for me, it's not the right thing right now at least not this neck short left project. So that was by I got on the team that worked on that product. And then the company that shifted but also with a client, because the client was not super, the easiest client in the whole world work. And it was clear that the company will probably shift their Yeah, their main clients or them main direction for a bit and probably do some more short lift work. And that was something I didn't want to do. So I decided to look for something new. Like it was a bit. I mean, it was a bit bad because I felt like I really liked the team. And I really like the kind of work on the company and the culture. But yeah, I felt like this is not like no, I don't want to do that. So yeah. And that's why I changed again,

Tim Bourguignon 32:38
good for you to to be able to pinpoint what you didn't want to, to do. Yeah, and really stand up to it and say no, that's not what I want. Let's let's let's that's something we quite often don't do, and then come to regret and realize that later on. So good job and doing it before. Before we go to brighter. How did it feel? Applying what you had learned in so far one company, and just one context and then experience a different world and basically apply to skill somewhere else and discover maybe maybe Oh, I was good. And actually Oh, maybe Oh no, I didn't know about this at all and feel like an imposter. How did that feel?

Mirjam Aulbach 33:23
I mean, I don't know. Do you ever stop feeling like an imposter? No. I think actually, it was like this, which was really nice. Like, obviously, I mean, I say obviously because for me it was obviously but I felt like an imposter the first few weeks definitely. Because I switched from building WordPress sites to building a React application. I've never worked with React. Like I like I practiced it a bit before I started, but I never really worked with it. So it was a really big switch for me. So yeah, that was a bit of a switch. But I already what I was really good at, I knew that was communicating and understanding a client because in the agency I had like very close contact, obviously. So that was a bit easier for me. And then I was able to have a bigger team than the team I had before. And that was really nice for me because we did trunk base development and we did culture us mostly together on one screen. So I learned a lot. And then it was also very nice environment by I felt like even if I'm the only one here without a computer science background. They are still open like for me printing topics and like testing because the project or the product I've worked and not have any unit or integration tests only end to end tests. But we did have them in the end. It took some time. But that was kind of my pet project during the time. Yeah, I think like I could play on One of the things I learned before, but what I could mostly apply was the things I learned before that I missed, if that makes sense. So I knew I want to work on something that has tests. And so I was not okay with the thing not having tests. So yeah, I think that was the main thing for me.

Tim Bourguignon 35:22
Yeah. And I love the former dog trainer, talking about pet projects, which is

Tim Bourguignon 35:32
awesome. You can embed that in your next talk.

Mirjam Aulbach 35:39
I have to write that down later.

Tim Bourguignon 35:42
And that takes us to brighter so I know brighter a little bit. But I would be most interested in. That's basically barely six months after you came in. And bam, you've got a pandemic on your hands. Yes. How did you start ramping up in new company in a completely new context? From what I know from brighter, a bit different way of working, and then suddenly get the rug pulled on your feet? And have to start that again? How did that go?

Mirjam Aulbach 36:11
Actually, I think it was one of the best companies you could start and that time because it is it like it was a remote first company. That means like, I did go in the office before the pandemic, but only one or two times a week. And that was mostly to meet other people and have a coffee. Because the team I've worked in was mostly not in Germany. So actually, that transition was not too hard because I was used to working in that Remote Setup. And when the pandemic hit, and the first lockdown, I'm making exports again, because Germany never had really hard lockdown. But when then when that started, like, Friday, I didn't have to do anything. Like we didn't have to get any process or tools or or anything because it was already remote first. So that transition. I mean, the pandemic itself was absolutely not easy. But that worked transition. That was not a problem. Okay, yeah,

Tim Bourguignon 37:10
I thought you were more office based, then? No? Okay, then then it's easy. Oh, good.

Mirjam Aulbach 37:17
I mean, some people that I don't know that some people that go more often to the office may be, but also project crew, like they had a hyper crossface. So then, like, we had so many, like people that didn't have an office near them. And for me, it was also like, I did only go one or two times a week because I had dogs. And, you know, I wanted to spend time at home with my dog and go for a walk and so on. So yeah, the transition was actually not too bad. Okay.

Tim Bourguignon 37:43
So did the f test when you came in?

Mirjam Aulbach 37:47
Yes, but they had more than I left.

Tim Bourguignon 37:51
So you train them again?

Mirjam Aulbach 37:53
No, yeah. I reinforced existing good behavior. And that did kind of introduce a new testing approach and change things. But yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 38:02
Okay. So did you kind of specialize in those testing methods when you work in a team or, you know what your head?

Mirjam Aulbach 38:12
No, I think I just equites. Again, I like it. So that is something that kind of, I do that in every team I come into, but for me, it belongs really, like it's strongly connected to the development process. And I'm also like, my testing abilities, or whatever, are mostly in the kind of unit integration level. I can also do end to end testing, but I'm not like qualified, like to really have or develop a super strong strategy for end to end testing, or, like all other testings that there are performance testing, and so on. So it's more this development, supporting testing thing that I bring in, because I like it.

Tim Bourguignon 38:56
Totally, totally. And you always need somebody on the team who has a connection in, in how you break things, and how you make sure that you have a test. Net, behind your back. And so that's the best when this person is a developer, but has also this expertise and can relate on both on both ends. And I've had less of a success with I'm going to make a quote, pure, pure QA persons who don't code that much bring their expertise in testing, but not coding and as much it hasn't been as impactful in the experience I've had.

Mirjam Aulbach 39:37
I have to say, I have like a credit we had QA and people and team like I've worked in different teams at Pryda. But one of like the team I've worked longest and had to QA person so we switched because our first QA did go in the developer experience unit full time, but I also was a part of and then we had somebody else and I I think that was really good collaboration. Because I mean, in our our team, I don't want to brag Pat, our team had, I think the best tests, obviously, we also were the first team that, like, introduced contract testing, because that was my pet project back then. I really wanted to do that. And we've worked really close with our QA person. And I think for us that were quite because we had that it was for all developers, it was natural to have a lot of tests in there, kind of developer world. And then the check together with with QA and also Product Management. Okay, what do we really need to cover on end to end devil? How should that look like? And yeah, so in that regard, that was really quit collaboration that we had, but I know like experience, obviously differ, also for different companies. But that's something I still miss to have this kind of person on the team Allegan.

Tim Bourguignon 40:58
So you don't have that relationship nowadays in Avon.

Mirjam Aulbach 41:02
And no, also because like, I'm now working on open source product, which, like we are still, we are just rewriting the front end from an existing Angular app to react. And we already started talking a bit about end to end testing. But we have this different challenge that, like, I don't have production, basically, that means, like, I don't know, what users are actually, like end users are actually doing and my product because I'm not running it. Our other users are running it. And yeah, that makes this whole process a bit more complicated or not complicated. But yeah, it's a different challenge that we are still working on. Like, we are still at the beginning. We already started talking about okay, what can we maybe do? Can we do some kind of end to end testing, but it's a Kafka governance tools, or we would have to have, I don't know, a cluster for Kafka running somewhere of this test data. So it's, yeah, it's a whole whole different beast.

Tim Bourguignon 42:10
I see. Yes, yes. And that's usually the place where I ask for advice. And for your want to go back to your first careers. Is there something that's outside of the software development word, that you would advise people to look into something that you learned in your first careers and say, Hey, this definitely translates you should look into that.

Mirjam Aulbach 42:35
Can I just not documenting as too much? I think what I think is, can be good for everybody as an understanding how emotion work than a brain and how different behavior has like, a different, basic, so like, social anxiety, that some people are socially anxious, some people aren't, and that there can, there can be a lot of reasons for that, like fine chemistry, like genetic things, family experience, and so on. And I think getting this, I think getting this understanding of a person is behaving and feeling and in a certain way that is, or can be different than mine. And that can have a reason. And that reason also can be something that that person cannot even, like, have any influence on. I think this is something for me, that is a good basic for developing more kindness and compassion for others. And I think that is, in general, a good trait like not only an inner child, but just in general. Yeah.

Tim Bourguignon 43:45
Big Hell yeah. To that makes you a better human being as a whole. Yeah, definitely. Thank you for that. So of course, VMware would be the best place to find you online, find all the things that you do, and that we didn't talk about. Anything you want to push and advertise.

Mirjam Aulbach 44:05
So usually, you could find me on Twitter a lot, but Twitter is not what it used to be anymore. You still can find me but there's not a lot happening. I'm also on Mastodon, I have a website. It's called poor community dot rocks, we will have a link in this where I try to keep a bit up to date with what I'm doing. And most importantly, check out conference buddy.io For my side project, or pet project conference, buddy, and I promise that there may be soonish like if you sign up for the newsletter, maybe there as soon as newsletter or a mailing list information to come. I don't want to over promise but maybe, hopefully soonish something you could check out.

Tim Bourguignon 44:56
You have some time until this show airs to make that

Mirjam Aulbach 44:58
I know that's that's why So,

Tim Bourguignon 45:01
in looking at the homepage of conference, buddy, now I know why the icon is dark. Right. Thank you so much. It's been a blast. Listening to your story.

Mirjam Aulbach 45:14
Thanks for inviting me and letting me tell my story.

Tim Bourguignon 45:17
It was a pleasure. And this has been another episode of teapots journey. We see each other next week. Bye. Thanks a lot for tuning in. I hope you have enjoyed this week's episode. If you like the show, please share rate and review. It helps more listeners discover stories. You can find the links to all the platforms to show appears on on our website, Dev journey dot info, slash subscribe. Creating the show every week takes a lot of time, energy, and of course money. Will you please help me continue bringing our dues inspiring stories every week by pledging a small monthly donation, you'll find our patreon link at Dev journey dot info slash donate. And finally, don't hesitate to reach out and tell me how this week story is shaping your future. You can find me on Twitter at @timothep ti m o th e p porker email info at Dev journey dot info