Episode 188 – Build Genuine Relationships and Help Others to Unlock Your Full Potential with Laurie Barth
Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Laurie Barth. She is a software engineer who started as a mathematician. She currently works as a developer and consultant with Ten Mile Square Technologies in the Washington DC Metro area.
In this episode, Phil and Laurie Barth discuss how to use your previous skills and experience to succeed when taking on new roles. They also speak about how the background of those getting involved in the industry is becoming more diverse and the positive impact that is having.
During the podcast, they discuss how an empathetic approach to project management brings benefits for both the customer and the development team. As well as, talking about the opportunities working collaboratively as an IT community is creating.
(4.46) TOP CAREER TIP
All of your skills are transferable. Your past experiences from your education and previous jobs will all be relevant in some way, even if it is not obvious how. So, when you start a new role, remember that you are always a bit further ahead than you think.
(6.10) WORST CAREER MOMENT
At one point in her career, Laurie ended up working for the government. In that role, she was put in charge of managing a series of large technical problems. Unfortunately, despite being a manager, she was not given the authority to actually do anything to solve those issues. Fairly quickly, she realised she was in the wrong job and moved on.
As a result of this experience, if Laurie does not feel excited or engaged with what she is being asked to do, she quickly speaks up. At the company she is currently working for, every time she has done that, they have pivoted things enough to make things interesting again.
(8.09) CAREER HIGHLIGHT
For Laurie, her first lead engineer role was a really exciting experience. When she took over, she quickly realised that some tension existed between the customer and the technical team. From the start, Laurie recognised that the client was not that interested in her technical prowess. They just wanted to know she had their back and would deliver good solutions. In response to this, Laurie decided to focus on understanding their problems and gaining their trust. Armed with that knowledge, she was able to act as an effective conduit between the customer and the technical team.
As a result, the project went from being one that was in trouble, to being one that was a huge success. By the end of it, everyone was really excited about what had been accomplished. An outcome few expected, which is part of the reason it is one of Laurie’s career highlights.
(9.59) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T
It is good to see the industry moving away from the stereotype of coders in a basement, working apart from everyone else. Now, communities of developers are coming together online, at conferences, meetups and working on open source projects.
People are getting excited about the tech again and are being introduced to lots of new stuff. This collaborative culture is helping to move things forward at a far faster pace.
(11.13) THE REVEAL
What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – A love of puzzles and maths.
What’s the best career advice you received? – Your values and goals should always be in sync, not in conflict.
What’s the worst career advice you received? – Never let a bad commute put you off of taking a great job. Terrible advice – a long, tiring, stressful commute can really mess up your quality of life.
What would you do if you started your career now? – Laurie wishes she had recognised her coding abilities at a younger age.
What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Writing. Technical writing is challenging, but it is a skill that is in demand and the work is interesting.
How do you keep your own career energized? – Getting involved in various IT communities has enabled Laurie to connect with some incredible people. It has also exposed her to all kinds of interesting and new tech.
What do you do away from technology? – Laurie plays a lot of board games, bakes whenever she can and loves TV and movies.
(15.42) FINAL CAREER TIP
Build genuine relationships and help others. When you take that approach you become more valuable and a useful contributor to the IT industry.
(5.24) – Laurie – “Even if you’re starting from scratch, you’re further ahead than you think.”
(7.12) – Laurie – “If you don’t feel engaged, while working on a project, speak up and change things up.”
(10.36) – Laurie – “Get involved with IT communities to benefit from the growing collaborative culture.”
(11.39) – Laurie – “Make sure your values and goals are always in sync, not in conflict.”
(14.38) – Laurie – “The IT industry is crying out for technical writers.”
(16.02) – Laurie – “Help others and build genuine relationships to become a more valuable industry contributor.”
ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.
CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:
Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer
ABOUT THE GUEST – LAURIE BARTH
Laurie Barth is a software engineer who started as a mathematician. She currently works as a developer and consultant with Ten Mile Square Technologies in the Washington DC Metro area.
After speaking at her first conference in 2017, she now regularly speaks about the technical challenges she has faced in her career. And in her free time she involves herself in local technology groups, including facilitating a Girls Who Code club.
CONTACT THE GUEST – LAURIE BARTH
Laurie Barth can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms: