Software Developer: A Day in the Life

Growing up in Pelotas, Brazil, I didn’t have access to a computer until I was 9 years old. No one in my family worked with technology, so it didn’t cross my mind to consider a career in it until high school, when a friend encouraged me to try a course in electronics.

The course introduced me to programming logic with C and C++, and it was exciting to see logic, math, and technology come together. This inspired me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in systems analysis and development at the university level.

I am very proud of my Brazilian heritage. However, there are relatively few women in this profession, especially in Latin America. Women are still forced to overcome obstacles and stereotypes. Despite my higher grades, for example, it took me longer to land my first job than my male colleagues.

However, I believe that companies are beginning to understand the value of diverse thoughts and perspectives in problem solving; that is exactly what programming is. Companies serve global customers and the contribution of men and women is essential. Additionally, Hispanics represent a rapidly growing share of the world’s population.

[ Also read Data scientist: A day in the life. ]

After landing my first job as a backend developer in 2019, I was promoted to team leader within three months, which gave me the confidence to take on a new challenge: working with Drupal at another company. I had never worked with a CMS before, but had excellent training. My first project was with a German client, and I had to not only learn new technologies, but also use a new language. It wasn’t easy, but it was a necessary and important part of my career development.

I’m so glad I went this route! I get to solve problems on a daily basis and work with people from other cultures as a Drupal developer at Jobsity. Here’s how a typical work day goes:

8.30 a.m. – 11 a.m.: Work out, grab a coffee and get ready for the day

11 a.m.: My workday begins by reviewing my email, calendar, and Slack messages to determine if there are any immediate fires to put out. In my team, each task must be reviewed by at least one colleague before being tested by the QA team. So almost every day I have code to review.

I like to start my day by tackling these issues, as any delays could impact my colleagues’ work. Then I review yesterday’s work, revising and updating what I need to focus on for the current day.

Midday: Daily standing hug with my team. We discuss our work from the day before, identify priorities for the current day, and decide if other teams need support or more resources.

[ Related read Agile adoption: 6 strategic steps for IT leaders ]

12:30 p.m.: Lunch break.

1:30 p.m.: It’s time to delete the tasks from my to-do list. If I need information from my colleagues, I send them a message on Slack, favoring asynchronous communication.

5 p.m.: On Wednesdays and Thursdays, we have team meetings to plan the next sprint (we work with a cadence of weekly sprints), discuss important topics with the team, talk about current and upcoming technology projects, and review our quarterly milestones .

These meetings are not all about tasks and project management; we also share our professional and personal activities. It’s always a fun time of the week; I like to discover other cultures and get to know my colleagues better.

6 p.m.: More focus on tasks.

8 p.m.: Conclude the workday by noting the time spent on each task. We try to keep the 6-8pm time slot with no meetings so that everyone can complete their daily tasks without interruption.

8:30 p.m.: For me, evenings are for relaxing and enjoying activities such as homework, basketball, cooking, studying new technologies, practicing English, reading thrillers and spending time spent with family and friends.

Drupal skills are essential

I am passionate about encouraging others to consider a career in software – especially girls and young women. A good starting point is with Drupal.

While Drupal Documentation is mature and includes many community contributions and forums, it can be difficult to learn without guidance. Consider using the Acquia Preparation Guide. Acquia is a Drupal-related company that offers certification programs – for example, I have the Drupal 9 Site Builder certificate, which is a good goal for those just starting out.

If you can pay for some courses, the Drupalize.me The platform offers various videos and useful explanations. Documentation and free videos from blogs, YouTube channels, and telegram groups can also be a great resource. Fortunately, the Drupal community keeps growing and creating great content.

[ Related read Diversity in IT: 3 key components to enable meaningful change ]

If English is difficult, look for communities that share your native language. For example, the brazil community has a lot of Portuguese content. It does not replace the official documentation but can help users understand some fundamental components.

Above all, practice makes perfect. Keep creating projects and testing everything you read or watch; it’s the best way to learn!

Is software development right for you? 7 key questions

Developers are in high demand and the world needs more of them. We also need diversity and different voices to solve big problems and create big things.

Wondering if you’re a good candidate for a career in analytics? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you like solving problems? This is basically what you will do every day.
  • Are you logical? You must use logical thinking to solve your tasks.
  • Are you good at prioritizing? You need to understand what is most important to do first, next, etc.
  • Are you patient? Learning takes time and patience, and development is a team sport. Your goal should be to learn and grow every day.
  • Are you empathetic? Beyond technical skills, you will also be evaluated by your ability to work in a team and your soft skills.
  • Are you a good communicator? This not only includes verbal skills, but also writing and responding to messages and emails.
  • Do you have a passion for technology? You will need to understand the basics of programming, know at least one programming language, and know basic English to work with global companies.

Here are some of the core skills you’ll need to build a career in analytics. Technical skills vary depending on each position and can be acquired through courses, documentation, certification and higher education programs. While hard skills are important, never underestimate the value of keeping your soft skills up to date and well practiced.

Don’t get too attached to one skill

An analyst role will require you to constantly learn new skills, look at things in new ways, and embrace new perspectives. In technology and business, things move fast. It is important to always follow what is happening in the industries in which you are involved.

[ Also read Software development trends: What’s flourishing and what’s fading ]

Never forget that at its core, technology is about problem solving. Don’t get too attached to one coding language; just know that you probably won’t be able to use the language you like, do the refactoring you want, or do the update you expect all the time. The focus is always on the customer and their needs take precedence over the preferences of the developers. Be ready to use English every day. To keep your skills sharp, read documentation, talk to others often, and watch videos.

Advice for Latin American developers

My first tip: Find a supportive community. Bringing more women into the software developer community is very important to me, and my biggest personal project is a community called Gurias Tech. In March 2021, I created this community to encourage and help women find opportunities in the software technology market. I haven’t forgotten how difficult it was to land my first job and overcome the stereotypes and barriers that women face.

This group provides a safe space where women can talk about their experiences, encourage and inspire each other and, most importantly, participate in a valuable network of job opportunities. At Gurias Tech, we have created a talent bank connecting women to job opportunities at partner companies looking for more inclusive teams.

I also encourage you to keep your network strong and pass it on to the next generation of professionals. I attend events at companies, schools, and universities, and civic forums to talk about women in tech. I share my experiences and encourage other women to pursue this rewarding career.

Any analytics professional who wants to advance their career should always be alert to new and updated technologies, become an expert in a specific language/technology, and understand low level programming in a variety of languages. Finally, if you enjoy logic, math, and problem solving, consider a career in software development. The world needs your skills to solve great challenges.

[ What is a ‘day in the life’ like in your role? If you’d like to participate in this series, reach out here! ]

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