Development - Learning - Facilitation
I love to code, but have always been more interested in helping others to learn and succeed with it, so have found myself doing a mix of development, education, and community work over the years.
Right now I am Developer Advocate at mobile app development platform Dropsource, having started at the company as Developer Educator in 2016. In my time at Dropsource I've designed and implemented an education strategy and managed our community. Having consistently evangelised for more meaningful user contribution channels, I've recently started to build the infrastructure for a range of new pathways to help community members succeed within our ecosystem and have impact on product direction.
- responding to user support requests on our forum,
- producing guidance on
- or sharing our internal learnings around
From authoring the content in our help center (which includes a variety of written material and videos), to developing our next open source documentation iteration (Jekyll / GitHub Pages), leading live learning experiences, and contributing onboarding, copy, and UX input within the product, I try to represent and support our users via whatever channels work best for them. I believe that maintaining a productive dialogue that puts developers and their projects at center stage - and sees our product as a tool in their process - creates a win-win situation that highlights opportunities for everyone involved.
I worked as a contract tech writer with the Mozilla Foundation over a couple of years, authoring API documentation and tutorials on the Open Badges project, then assisting on storytelling initiatives within the Hive Learning Network. Much of the content I created incorporated a mix of conceptual and practical material, preparing me nicely for a similar learning challenge at Dropsource (the software uses visual development). I learned a huge amount about open practice during my time at Mozilla, and developed my understanding of how participatory learning projects function.
Some of the work I did at Mozilla:
- Open Badges:
- Hive Learning Networks:
I worked as a freelance developer and technical writer for several years - my tech career has always been as part developer, part something else. Typically I would learn how to implement something myself, then create learning resources to help others acquire that same skill. For example, with the API documentation I authored at Mozilla, I would build test client apps in node.js to test out the endpoints and document them from there. My undergraduate degree was in English, so I enjoyed combining my slightly odd mix of skills.
I authored hundreds of tutorials over the years - here are links to some of them:
- Tutsplus Android and Web tutorials / video courses (my longest writing engagement)
- Smashing Magazine articles on programming
- Front end web development tutorials for Developer Drive
- More web tutorials for Web Designer Depot
- Yet more web development tutorials for Syntaxxx
- HTML/CSS/XML tutorials for web tool DWUser
- Web Design Library tutorials
Combining Learning and Community
Having previously run a public sector arts venue, I transitioned to tech relatively late (when I was almost 30.. 😱). My Masters at Glasgow University (MSc - Distinction plus class prize 😉) equipped me with a foundation in software development. My first tech education work came straight after completing my Masters - as a demonstrator and tutor to students on the course I had just completed, helping people from a wide variety of backgrounds to get through this extremely challenging course.
My time at Mozilla left me with a desire to use tech to empower people, not just through learning, but also by adopting the practices in open source organising - this led me to co-found Hack Aye, through which I led a series of collaborative learning projects (some in partnership with Mozilla, including facilitating a session at MozFest which produced a shared activism resource GitHub repo). This combination of experiences ultimately led to my current career direction, at the intersection of education, community, and advocacy, in the context of technology.