It’s always great to see someone become apart of our local tech community!
Guest post by Eventbrite:
Beck joined Eventbrite’s growing Nashville Engineering team after graduating from the Nashville Software School. She is one half of the SEO Engineering team, who are responsible for making sure events on Eventbrite are popping up at the top of every search engine result to help drive our organic growth and make our customers successful.
You’re a displaced Aussie, what brought you to Nashville?
I moved to Nashville in July 2013 without ever having been to the city, it was kind of a leap of faith. We had just moved from Beijing by way of Stockholm and Canada, and were looking for a new adventure when my husband was offered a job in town. We had heard great things about the city and thought ‘why not’. It has proven to be one of the best decisions we have ever made.
Nashville has such a vibrant energy and is an exciting place to be at the moment. I love the community, especially the tech scene. It’s a really collaborative environment, people are very willing to go out of their way to meet you for a coffee or beer. I think that the “Music City” ethos of artist collaboration has rubbed off on the tech and business communities here.
What was your path to the Nashville Software School, and what led you to learn how to code?
I got my start as an Event Manager for corporate events (fitting). I was always intrigued with how the web worked. I started off creating websites in WordPress for friends which lead to creating custom PHP plugins, and later decided to try to translate my work as an events manager into project management. I thought I’d really enjoy being ScrumMaster and helping to be part of driving development that way. I never envisioned actually touching code, but went to a Girl Geek Dinner here in Nashville, and met a group of people from the Nashville Software School and started to picture myself in a role where I was directly responsible for building products.
How did NSS prepare you for the work you do now?
The 6 month program became my life, I even started to dream in code. It was pretty self-directed, and they not only taught me the full backend and frontend tools, but prepared me for what to expect working in development teams, and what kinds of opportunities were available in Nashville. I learnt how to deconstruct ambiguous and complex problems and how to deal with imposter syndrome.
Andy Matthews and Bryan Mayes actually visited NSS and showed our class the living styleguide Eventbrite had built, and I had a million questions. I reached out and came in to meet the team, and on demo day at NSS received the full-time offer from Eventbrite. So not only did NSS prepare me for the role, but it directly introduced me to my future team members.
How has it been going straight from school to joining the team full time?
The mentorship Eventbrite offers was one of the defining reasons I joined the team. My team leader, Andy, has been a great mentor along with many other Britelings I work with. Being a new programmer it is often overwhelming receiving a problem that you have never faced before. I never feel nervous about asking another engineer at Eventbrite for help, and that openness and accessibility is essential for a junior programmer.
What made you want to join the team and work on the product?
I love the culture Eventbrite has worked so hard to cultivate. It attracts smart, energetic people who are all willing to help wherever they can. I wanted to be apart of this culture and take advantage of the mentorship Eventbrite offered. Everyone works hard, but we have a lot of fun while doing it. I also wanted to work for a company that cared. Eventbrite’s goal of using technology to bring people together very much aligns with my career goals.
You’re active with both Code for Nashville and Nashville Women Programmers, how have you seen that community grow and what’s your hope for the organizations?
I’m currently the the co-captain for Code for Nashville and provide mentorship for new coders at the Nashville Women’s Programming Meetup, which we host at Eventbrite twice a month. As a former Nashville Software School student, I try to be available for new coders to meet up for a chat and to share my story.
Both organizations are crucial to the Nashville tech scene. Code for Nashville was revived last October with only a handful of us at the first meeting. John Chapin and Jon Staples have put the organization on the map, and it has become a dedicated space for people to get together weekly for hack nights. Anyone can come to work on any project, it connects people with resources, and strengthens the larger tech community. Nashville Women Programmers is a great group of women all with different programming backgrounds and skillsets. The group helps women get a feel for programming and become comfortable in asking questions and meeting other female programmers. I’ve seen many members go on to further their programming skills through bootcamps or self learning after coming to the meetups. It’s helped bridge the gender gap in the Nashville tech community.
What’s the “next big thing” in Nashville’s tech landscape?
With Nashville becoming a serious tech town, it’s attracting companies from Silicon Valley and more and more talent. I think the next surprise will be the rise of a really successful startup scene.
Eventbrite opened their second US office here last year after experiencing the energy and commitment of Nashville’s tech community. With tech booming here, and batches of new techies coming out of places like NSS locally, or the droves of people relocating from LA, New York, and San Francisco, Eventbrite made a smart move for growth and I expect to see us continue to grow here.
What’s your biggest advice for people just getting their start as developers?
I guess it boils down to 3 things: stay curious, ask for help, and don’t be deterred if things don’t click straight away.
Find a mentors and ask them anything on your mind, and remember there are no stupid questions. Networking is key to finding the right people and the right job for you as a junior engineer. Let people know you’re passionate about programming and offer to help on an open source project You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can become an asset to a project and team.