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Lara is a Mobile Developer based in Berlin. Her passion for programming made her transition from her background in science to software development. She’s currently working as an Android Developer and is a Google Developer Expert for Flutter and Dart. She has spoken in conferences like App Builders, DevFest Florida and Droidcon Berlin, and in many other meetups. Her dream is to make apps more accessible for everyone. When she’s not attending a tech meetup, you will find her playing video games, with her dog Lily or doing arts and crafts.
Connect with Lara
You’ve made interesting transitions in your career. You were first a biologist; how does a biologist become a software tester?
After my studies in biology, I tried basic programming, and I found it very fun. I wanted to learn a little bit more, but I didn’t know how. I enrolled in a master’s degree program in biotechnology so I could use my biology knowledge, more or less, hoping that it would be my thing, but sadly, it wasn’t. After earning my Master’s degree, I decided to look for something else.
That’s very interesting. You went from biologist to tester and then from tester to software developer. I’m assuming maybe the second transition was probably easier, since it’s there in the same domain.
I can’t say it was easy, to be honest. The very same week I started working in QA, I started attending a study group in my city. We met every two weeks for four months to learn basic Android development. I spent four months learning just a tiny bit of the basics of Android to try it out. It turned out I loved it, so I kept learning for a year and a half while I was working in QA. I had a full-time job in QA, and then I spent my evenings and weekends learning Android. The transition from QA to Android development was tough because there aren’t many open job positions for juniors without experience. It took some time, but I managed to switch.
You’ve been open about what it took to make these career moves. Imagine a person in your situation, who either wants to get a start in IT, or who’s working in QA and thinking about going into development. What advice would you give them?
One thing that helped me grow as a professional was connecting to the community. I started going to local meetups, and also, I started to go to conferences and meet people from my field. I also found people like me, with similar, non-technical backgrounds, trying to get into development. We grew together.