Laura Baston is familiar with the customer-facing side of tech. After working in sales at two software companies and a startup, she learned to be quick on her feet when customers encountered problems with applications. Her experience brought curiosity for the other side of tech — building the apps themselves.
After taking a few online tutorials, Baston decided to enroll in Thinkful’s Flexible Full-Stack Web Development Bootcamp to dive right into coding, while still holding a part-time job. “I’m a creative thinker and I can create a very clear narrative for how a user might interact with an app,” says Baston.
She’s now looking to join a great company, small or large, to expand her programming skills (right now, she’s knee-deep in learning React Native) and maybe even start a company-wide Sudoku competition. We hear she’s quite accomplished at logic — it’s no puzzle why she would be a great addition to your team.
Why the interest in the technology field?
I’ve worked in sales and I wasn’t happy. I was happy working in early childhood education, but it’s generally underpaid and overworked. I had been considering different options including going back to school when I decided to try out coding. I played around with some of the free online tutorials and really enjoyed what I was learning.
Coding reminds me of doing Sudoku (which is my go-to phone game) or other logic puzzles. I decided to jump headfirst into bootcamp and spent a crazy 6 months doing bootcamp while still working part-time and being a full-time mom and slept very little. I’m excited to start a full-time career where I can create new things and solve puzzles.
What tech projects have you worked on?
I previously worked in sales and worked for two software companies, The Neat Company and Navicure, as well as a startup called CrowdCut.com that was a part of the Groupon frenzy a few years ago. I’ve demonstrated and helped clients learn to use applications, and now I’m making them. Right now I’m doing project work for Mobile App Hero, where I get to work on mobile apps that bring clients ideas to life. It’s fun and exciting to get to try out new things.
What tech tools are essential to you as a developer?
Google is every developer’s best friend and that usually leads me to GitHub and StackOverflow to help me solve whatever bugs I have. I’ve recently switched to VSCode for my text editor and I love the spellcheck feature, it helps me skip a lot of hassle when I accidentally misspell a function name.
How do you stay informed and on top of emerging trends?
I love Medium the most, but I feel like I get the best information directly from the tech communities I’ve joined on Slack. There’s always a great article being shared on there or suggestions from friends and mentors. My favorite experience so far was attending the WeRise Women Who Code Atlanta conference in June. I met a lot of great people and learned so much. I can’t wait to attend Connect.Tech later this month.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I’m in the midst of learning React Native and I love working with mobile apps. I want to learn about a relational database like SQL really well as well as either Java or C# so I can take on bigger enterprise-level software in the future.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
At a small company, I can wear many hats and work on a lot of projects, while at a bigger company, I can learn more about working in a structured team that ships enterprise-level software. Both are appealing options to me since I want to learn to do both.
What’s most important to me is a company that values their employees, has a great work-life balance, and where I can be a part of a great team and grow as a developer.