What is your current professional role and how did you get here?

Today I work as a Support Engineer at CircleCI, and before that, I worked at Realm also as a Support Engineer. I originally started out as an iOS developer, around 4 years ago, but over time I decided that I wanted to become more of a generalist. So I transitioned my career from just iOS roles to now work in support where I handle requests from all kinds of stacks and languages, as well as work on iOS stuff.

What was the first app you worked on and what did it do?

I built a simplified clone of the app Strava. Essentially, the app was a fitness timer that also tracked your location changes. This means that after your workout you would be able to see where you went on a map as well as other details like how long it took, and altitude changes.

What went well? What could have gone better?

I was never happy with the results and always felt like I needed to change “one more” substantial thing before I put the app on the App Store. It took me over 6 months to actually just get the app out of the door even though it was done. Knowing what I know know, I should’ve released the first viable release candidate and made my changes as a 1.0.1 version. Since building this app, I’ve worked very hard to leverage my perfectionism in a healthy way. It’s not bad to have an eye for details and wanting things to be great but it’s important to know when to stop and just ship it.

At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?

This is truthfully something I’ve struggled with but I’ve recently found some new hobbies like experimenting with hardware and electronics, and learning about physics and how mechanical systems work. I’ve also taken an interest in sewing, art, photography, and making music.

Why do you support the goals of App Camp?

Girls can make amazing engineers. I remember when I was young a lot of girls my age had an interest in technology but over time they were either directly or subliminally told that it was only for boys. Which is ridiculous. I’m happy organizations like App Camp exist to rekindle the excitement for technology and engineering because this industry shouldn’t just be for men.

What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?

I have a few points so I’m going to just put them in bullet-like points:

* Acknowledge your biases and learn from them.

* Diversity doesn’t just mean abled white cis women.

* Improving diversity is a huge topic right now. Don’t just hire minorities because you think it’ll make your company look good. Learn what they bring to your team and hire from there. Don’t have token diversity folk. It’s not nice and it’s extremely exhausting to be on the receiving end of that.

How can technology be a force for good?

I think it already is. It gives the connected world access to unlimited amounts of knowledge and information. It makes our lives easier. It makes surgeries more precise and improves success rates. Et cetera.

You can find Oliver on Twitter.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

John Siracusa
Myke Hurley, Relay.fm