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Developer Spotlight: Laura Warr

Madison Maher


Q: Where did you go to school/what is your background in engineering?

A: My background in engineering is a bit unconventional; I have my Bachelor's in Math from the University of Waterloo, where I studied computer science fundamentals and computational math, but I wasn’t on a direct path to work in software right away.

After graduating, I was interested in UX design, so I took a one year program to become more familiar with user experience testing and web technologies. The work that I did there really reinforced my interest in software, specifically in server-side development. After my co-ops and schooling, I worked in a variety of industries ranging from social media analytics, to dev tooling for iOT systems, FinTech, and even warehouse management for sustainable grocery delivery. One of the things I find really exciting about building software is that you can apply the same skill set to solve problems in almost any industry.

Q: What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever built or worked on as an engineer?

A: It’s hard to come up with one answer for this, but some of the stuff we’re working on at DevCycle is pretty cool. I’ve especially enjoyed working on some of the code analysis that we’ve integrated into our GitHub actions and CLI. Our first approach to this was parsing and analyzing the text, and then we moved to using ASTs (Abstract Syntax Trees), but both approaches have presented some pretty interesting problems. Not to mention it’s really cool to be building a tool that can refactor my own code!

Q: What is one tool in your current stack that you could not live without?

A: Either having a CI/CD pipeline or using a typed language. We made the switch to both of these when we launched DevCycle, and it has made deploying code so much less painful. Plus, type safety is game changing!

Q: Which programming language are you most familiar with, and which do you prefer?

A: I use Typescript day to day, so it’s what I’m most comfortable with.

Q: If you could give any engineering related advice to your younger self, what would it be?

A: Keep maintainability and scalability in mind. Think about the person who will be working on your code next. And write tests — they’re there to help you, and they make it easier to develop quickly and confidently, even if they seem like a chore at first.

Q: Where do you go to stay up-to-date on all things engineering?

A: For the most part, it's just browsing blog articles. I learn a lot from my peers as well, and Reddit can have some interesting resources (although I take Reddit with a grain of salt).

Q: What's the largest roadblock or challenge you've ever had to navigate in tech?

A: Working with a large legacy code base that’s lacking test coverage. When developers can’t make changes confidently and have to rely heavily on manual testing, it greatly slows down the development process and sours the developer experience. This is something that we dealt with in the Taplytics codebase prior to launching DevCycle. By including test coverage early and using feature flags to release new features, we’ve minimized risk and made the release process painless.

Q: What’s your least favourite thing about being an engineer? 

A: Having to be at a computer all day. I like a lot of aspects of development, but I’m an active person and enjoy being outside so being desk-ridden is the biggest downside.

Q: What’s your favourite part about your job/being an engineer?

A: Without a question, it’s problem solving. Problem solving is central to a lot of my hobbies — I love being faced with an open-ended problem and working with the tools at my disposal to find a solution. Similar to balancing a math equation or figuring out the beta to a bouldering problem, there’s a very satisfying feeling that comes with designing a clean, well-tested piece of software.

Q: What’s your coffee order, and where’s the best place to get that coffee from?

A: I usually just go with black coffee from home!

Q: What's your favourite music type or band, and where do you listen to your music?

A: I’m probably the odd one out on this, but I don’t listen while I’m working. Around the house I mostly use Spotify, and Capital Cities seems to be my go-to right now.

About DevCycle

DevCycle is the leading feature management platform trusted by companies of all sizes to improve their software development process and ship features faster with confidence. DevCycle offers feature flags, A/B testing, and integrations with popular development tools like GitHub, Jira, and Slack. Sign up for your free DevCycle account today.

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Written By

Madison Maher