Team Spotlight: Lauren Scott
October 1, 2014
Brad’s Deals’ own Lauren Scott, a junior developer on our engineering team, is speaking at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the Summit here, and to learn more about Lauren, keep reading!
How did you wind up at Brad’s Deals?
After eight years of studying poetry and three years of working retail with a poetry degree, I decided to throw caution to the wind and drop everything to re-educate myself at Dev Bootcamp, a nine-week intensive program that teaches you how to be a developer. I phrase it like that because you’re not just learning programming, you’re also learning how to empathize with your coworkers, adapt to an ever-changing tech landscape, flourish under pressure, and–above all else–you learn how to learn.
I met our VP of Engineering, Ken Walters, when he attended not one, not two, but every single one of the project demonstrations put on by each graduating class this year. To see that kind of interest in and dedication to new players in the tech world was really exciting, so when Ken approached me after I graduated I was thrilled to come in and try my hand at joining the team.
What’s most appealing about working here?
Where do I start! The technological aspects of working here are wonderful, but what really drew me in was the culture. Brad’s Deals’s commitment to serving the community is among the best I’ve ever seen. Brad’s Deals employees were some of my first mentors when I was going to meetups and taking classes around Chicago before Dev Bootcamp, and I had both taken and taught classes here through Girl Develop It. But the company’s commitment to developers internally was even more impressive. Two Dev Bootcamp graduates had already joined the team, and I was really struck by their stories of how much respect and support they got as junior developers.
How are you involved in Chicago’s local tech community?
Currently, my biggest endeavor is re-starting Chicago’s Rails Bridge outreach workshops for women to learn Ruby on Rails. These workshops are a fantastic way for women to be introduced to Rails (or to programming in general), and when I realized there hadn’t been one in Chicago in years, I decided to step up and bring it back. I’m lucky enough to have two fantastic women as my co-organizers, but it’s definitely a lot of work putting together a two-day workshop for over 100 people from scratch.
I’m also an instructor with Girl Develop It, with whom we have just kicked off a six-event series on women in tech hosted here at Brad’s Deals! I mentor at Dev Bootcamp whenever I have spare time, and I’m currently also working with a few other alumni on a “dream project” of sorts, where we are hoping to help an entire cohort of women (that’s about 20 people) go through DBC together on scholarship. We know it’s a lofty goal, but we’re hopeful. After you get a life-changing opportunity like that, it’s important to try and pay it forward.
What’s your proudest accomplishment in your time here?
I’m still pretty green, so I’d say my biggest accomplishment is just getting to see any of my work make it onto the actual website! It’s also been very exciting getting to the point where I can contribute meaningful work on my own.
You’re speaking at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit in DC. Tell us a little about the event and how you came to be a featured speaker.
The summit is focused on discussing how we can strengthen the economic opportunities available to young adults globally, and brings in youth leaders, policy makers, educators, private sector companies, NPOs and more from over 50 countries. Dev Bootcamp asked me to speak as their alumni representative. I’ll be talking about my experience at DBC, but also about America’s broken educational system and how alternative educational models can help fix it. The bootcamp model provides opportunities for those who want to gain vital new skillsets but aren’t able to benefit from traditional higher education, whether that’s because they can’t afford the tuition, can’t afford the time, or don’t feel comfortable in or want an academic environment.
It’s also a fantastic way to get more skilled professionals into the workforce and lower the number of people with crippling student loan debt. However, without institutional support for these programs, we still end up excluding people who don’t have the resources to take off a few months of work or pay for programs without loans. Hopefully I’ll be able to inspire some of those policy-makers to help make the changes necessary for bootcamps to be accessible for all!
You’re stranded on a desert island, and because hypothetical desert islands always allow you to bring one of everything, you only have one movie, one book, one album, and one meal. Which ones do you bring?
For the book, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millenium General Assembly: Poems Collected and New by Denis Johnson. Which is a bit of a cheat, because it’s basically a whole bunch of Denis Johnson books smashed into one and it’s one of the largest books of poetry I’ve ever seen, but it’s got enough whoppers in there that I could spend a lifetime unpacking it. For the album, 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic fields for almost exactly the same reason. I can have it all!! The movie I’d choose to keep me sane–something comforting, maybe Milo and Otis. Desert islands are existentially terrifying, so at least you can watch a pug fight a bear. For the meal, I’ll take a really good hamburger. Can’t be beat.
Tell us something completely random about yourself.
I’m currently contemplating getting a second (or even a third) custom made muppet.