aimee daniells (lowercase as requested) is a self-employed software crafter from Winchester, UK.
Our short Q&A with aimee daniells:
What is your technical background?
I was sponsored through university by IBM. I had an integrated degree where I worked at IBM 3 days a week and studied Computer Science at university 2 days a week. After I graduated I worked for IBM for a few years. Although I began as a developer, they decided to retrain me as a tester. I didn’t like the way IBM made decisions for me.
Now a tester, I looked for a job where I could begin as a tester but progress back into development. This didn’t really work. Fortunately I was learning in my spare time. I learned Ruby on Rails and made the application mychores.co.uk – a team based tracking system for recurring tasks. On the strength of that I got a job with Eden Development, an agile web development and consultancy company.
I worked at Eden for 3 years and took an apprenticeship under Enrique Comba Riepenhausen. I learned an incredible amount about good quality, reliable, well tested software and user experience design. Towards the end I took on two apprentices, one of whom I am still in regular contact with.
I am now an independent software crafter, doing freelance work and visiting companies to work as a contractor. I love what I do, I love meeting people and I love learning and sharing. At the last company I’ve just finished working at, I was approached by somebody who wanted to be mentored by me, who has now become my newest apprentice.
What industry sites or blogs do you read regularly?
I do not read RSS. I used to be subscribed to hundreds but I couldn’t read them all. These days I get all the news I need through twitter.
What are a few of your favorite development tools and why?
I love my macbook. It just does exactly what I want it to do, feels reliable and very rarely annoys me. I prefer to develop using Vim because I feel it is very powerful and I can express my intentions using intuitive combinations of keystrokes. I typed on the Dvorak keyboard layout for years, but I’ve recently changed to Colemak. I find it very comfortable and efficient to type on.
What tip or advice would you like to impart to women interested in programming?
Ask questions. Better to ask a silly question one day than give a silly answer another day. There is no such thing as silly questions, only silly answers. Listen a lot and ponder. Think carefully about what you believe. Share your opinions when asked. Share whatever you know. Be generous. Blog about things you find interesting: somebody else will do too. Ask for things you need. If you want to learn more, find a mentor. Don’t wait for people to do things for you. Make your own luck. Be extremely proud of who you are. Look yourself in the mirror every day and tell yourself how wonderful you are. Be humble. Don’t brag, but let your skills speak for themselves.
Last question on our q&a, if you were a computer part, what would you be?
I would be the Any key!