Are you hiring?

I am ecstatic to hear that you have the opportunity to grow your team!

If you’ve found this page, it is likely because you’re looking for someone with my skills. Lets find out if we would be a good match.

If you’re looking for someone to help you with a contract or consulting opportunity, please read the section on what I can do for you, and then reach out and we can discuss your project more in depth!

If you’re looking for someone to come on your payroll, the rest of this page will talk a little about me, tell you what I’m looking for, and explain some of the reasoning behind it. You may decide that we’re a great fit and want to reach out, but it may also show you that we will definitely not be a good fit. If this should happen, it’ll save us both some time!

At any point, you can skip down to the “You’re not a fit, is there someone else you know?” – no hard feelings.

What I can do for you.

I am a growth mindset individual with an intense desire to learn, grow, teach, and mentor. I am known for my ability to take complicated concepts and technical jargon and translate it into understandable language.

With over a decade of experience in a multitude of different spaces in tech, I’ve gained deep and fundamental skills that I can apply to help your company and teams succeed.

Understand and Meet Customer Needs

Before I begin at any company or on any project, I take the time to learn the scope and the business goals – both short term and long term – and apply them in the mindset and context of the customer. Ideally, this is a collaborative process so I can understand where you are and where you want to be, so I can think critically about how I personally can help you get there.

Collaborate and Listen

Throughout each endeavor, I work collaboratively with everyone involved. Project, customers, teams, and code changes frequently, and collaborating closely throughout the project ensures that we are able to make decisions and change course early and in agreement. Everyone’s voice matters, and I ensure everyone is heard.

Deep Learn Your Ecosystem

Every company, project, and team operates differently. The first thing I do when I join any new environment or situation is to sit, listen, and learn. I will dive into your culture, code, and needs and learn everything I can.

This allows me to see all of the moving parts, adapt quickly, and integrate seamlessly into the team. Establish trust and knowledge, and then make everything even better.

Reduce Risk, Increase Productivity

I think a lot about risk and how I can reduce complexity and still provide a rich experience for customers. Whenever possible, I strive to visualize the entire picture so all teams can work at their best from operations to support to sales. This allows me to make confident technical decisions on how to best move forward with implementation. My goal is to create well thought out technical plans that fit within the existing framework, challenge the status quo when necessary, and most importantly deliver according to those business goals we talked about that start.

Architect, Re-architect, and Improve

One of my favorite things about building software is that it’s creative problem solving. I solve problems using the pieces that are in front of me, and do my best to form a cohesive picture from what I have, scrapping what fails to fit, and create what is needed to be complete.

I can architect on a blank landscape or within your existing one. I can adapt to the teams coding standards and lift them into industry best practices. I believe in humane and understandable code built for humans.

Teach, Coach, and Mentor

I naturally strive to encourage those around me to be their best selves. I do this by offering friendship, seeing and recognizing their work and what they do, and introducing best practices to all members.

I offer my calendar to anyone who wishes to learn from me through open pairing hours. I’ve paired on a problem someone is stuck with, allowed them to follow along with a problem I’m working on, coached on setting career goals, knowledge shared on features or processes, and collaboration on new ideas to benefit the organization. This can be for other developers, managers, support folks, or even business and finance friends.

Contribute to the Vision and Growth

I believe strongly in creating a better world for everyone. This can be applied to the product, customers, team, and code. It can also be applied to the company. I will cultivate relationships within the company and across the organization, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and strive to resolve those with resilient and kind solutions. In the past, I’ve suggested Code of Conducts, Mental Health policies, workplace belonging, and inclusive processes. I’ve also created processes and technical solutions to aid and reduce workload for other departments, above and beyond and in addition to my other responsibilities.

Represent your Organization to the Developer Community

I love sharing what I know with the world and if you wish to partner with me in this aspect, I can represent you in my endeavors. This primarily looks like conference and meetup appearances, but can also look like writing and podcasts.

Why should you trust me?

You don't have to take it from me; read what others have to say about me.
“Laura is a standout software engineer. She has the required technical expertise, is an incredibly fast learner, and can ship any project that she takes on. But what truly takes her to a higher level is her skill in raising the bar for her team in non-technical areas. She is an excellent communicator, both written and verbal, and is always pursuing clarity when there is confusion or ambiguity. It is unfortunately rare to meet someone that lives their values, but Laura is such a person: she is a true leader that embodies her values in each and every action. She is a strong advocate for people and makes any team or company she is a part of better. I couldn't recommend her more highly.”
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith
Co-Founder of Abstract
Some of my clients:
Client Still I Run
Client Abstract
Terrastories

What I need from you.

This is what I expect of you and the constraints that I put on which companies I decide to work for. If you're looking at this page to see if I can help you with your contract project, you can skip down to how to contact me.

Mental Health matters to you.

I’m a mental health advocate. 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental health condition in a given year.

If your company has no policies in place to support folks experiencing a mental health condition and refuses to acknowledge that these support systems and policies are needed, this partnership will not work.

You value me over diversity numbers.

Look. I check a lot of boxes. I know. I’m not looking to be your poster child nor do I want to jump start your diversity metrics. If you’re only interested in this partnership for the numbers I “give” you, I’m not interested.

I’m also not interested if your company cannot demonstrate strong inclusion or has current or former employees that can contradict what you’re marketing.

You can be a work in progress (in fact, everyone should be a work in progress), but I do expect to see that you are making an effort to reach and include people who different than you.

You value remote work.

I have worked remotely successfully for the last several years and I plan on continuing to do this. If I relocate, it will be because I want or need to, not for a job.

You have flexible work schedules.

Let me work how I work best. I know what works for me and what I need to be successful, mentally and physically healthy, and avoid the decline into burnout.

If there are meetings scheduled or I am working with another developer, I will of course be there.

You judge my impact, not my hours or when I work.

As a followup from the previous point, please judge the impact of the work that I do, and not when I work or what hours I’m at my desk. I often leave my desk to think through problems and I’m a better problem solver for it.

Trust that I am doing the work and verify against the work that I output for you.

You are okay with me working from literally anywhere.

I’m a world traveler. I sometimes work from weird time zones and weird places (like a campsite!). I plan on continuing to do this with any project I pick up or any company I join.

You're into constant communication (ie: no fucking surprises).

I’ve been surprised at “yearly performance reviews” one too many times. I expect and deserve constant communication on our working relationship, what is working if it’s working, and what isn’t working so I can grow and do better.

If you wait an entire year to tell me that I’ve been doing this one thing (or several things) wrong, I will have had no time to learn how to do better and my career is forestalled because of it. So please, no fucking surprises. We can all constantly improve, don’t wait.

You believe in the life-work balance.

Business is for work. Life is for living. You fairly compensate you employees for the time and work they do for you, so they can go use that to live the life they want to make for themselves.

Your company avoids the “office traps” like game tables, beer on tap, catered food, or other things to get you stay at work longer. And you don’t use or encourage the use of family rhetoric, which can be dangerous, manipulative, and exploitative.

You create the space for me to be me.

I was once asked by the emcee of a conference to describe myself so they could introduce me to the audience. The first thing out of my mouth was, “Ummm, I’m weird?”

And it’s true. I have a lot of quirks. And I’m unapologetic about them. Let me be me, and you’ll be happy with my output.

You allow me to continue my creative work, blog writing, and conference talk creation.

I really enjoy writing, creating, and speaking at conferences. If you give me some space to continue doing this as part of my job, I will return the favor by representing your company in these endeavors.

You're a fit!

When can we hire you?

Great! Let's talk about how that might look.

Lets meet.

Chances are, you have a specific process for hiring... reach out, let me know you've read this page, and we can figure out next steps together.

Grab my resume.

You probably also need a resume or something like it. You can grab one here.

Show me that you care.

It'll be pretty obvious if you reach out, have said you read this, and have not actually read this. Please read.

Does your process include a coding challenge?

I understand: you need to assess technical ability. Coding challenges and pairing exercises can be a great way to ascertain technical skills.

Unfortunately, these are also the parts of the interview process that can be exclusive and discriminatory. It’s important to me that you have been thoughtful about how you have designed your challenge and who you may exclude by having *your* coding challenge. Here’s what I look for in strong coding challenges:

  • It’s relevant to the job you are hiring me to do. And nothing more. If you’re asking me to code a binary search tree from scratch or do CS or language-specific trivia for a web application position, that’s a huge red flag.
  • You are not requiring or asking me to prepare for your challenge by reading Cracking the Coding Challenge or studying on sites like Project Euler, LeetCode, or HackerRank. These sites often provide problems and exercises that are likely irrelevant to your company and target demographics that are privileged to come from CS backgrounds or have the time to study on their own.
  • The time frame allows multiple programming sessions and the flexibility to work with busy or atypical schedules. Especially for longer take-home exercises, requiring a quick turn around time will exclude folks that do not have the luxury of time. Since most take-home exercises are asking for free labor, the most you can do is give the time and space to allow folks to finish it when they do have time.
  • Your code challenge teaches me something. Whether that is something about your product or something that grows my skills, I want to be able to learn something from your challenge. The interview process is a two way street, this should be, too.
  • We agree on at least one of the following: either I receive actionable, specific, and technical feedback on the code I submit within a week of submission, regardless of the hiring or moving forward decision, or I am free to publish the body of my submission, in whole or in part, for use in blog posts or teaching. I will not publish the text of the challenge or the company how issued the challenge. This is so I can either further my own skills, or someone else’s with the work I do for you.

You're not a fit, Laura.

That's okay. I get it. I know I'm looking for something rather specific.

Lets talk about ways we may still be able to partner together:

  • Part-time contract-based projects. With the right circumstances, I may be able to work with you in this capacity.
  • Coaching and Mentoring. I can do this in a few ways:
    • I can work one-on-one with your developers. I can help them with their technical skills or set career goals.
    • I can help you establish a mental health policy that works for your company.
    • I can give one of my talks to your team.

If you still think we aren’t a good fit, I may be able to connect you to someone who is. Send me an email letting me know what you are looking for, that you read this page and we aren’t a good fit, and I’ll reach out to my network of folks looking and see if there is anyone interested. I make no guarantees.

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