sue smith

Hiya! I'm Sue Smith. I work in developer learning and education tech. I'm based in Glasgow, UK.

Twitter GitHub Glitch Dev.to
postman
Postman
dropsource
Dropsource
hack aye
Hack Aye
mozilla
Mozilla

Consultancy

As of April 2021 I'm doing some part-time contracting / short-term consultancy for 2-3 months with a view to having something full-time lined up for later in summer / autumn.

I still have some bandwidth for consultancy work–if you'd like advice on education strategy / edtech, or help getting started with developer / customer education at your org, give me a wee shout sue@benormal.info.

Postman

I worked as Developer Educator at API development platform Postman 2019-2021:

Highlights from my time at Postman:

How I work

🎉 For a sense of my approach to building learning programs, check out my post about developing the Learn by API framework.

🎙️ I was lucky enough to be interviewed on the CodeNewbie podcast in early 2021 where I talked a wee bit more about my background.

đź’ˇ Some thoughts about learning and engagement based on what I've worked on at Postman.

🏗️ I like to build tech to support learning rather than just creating education content.

Dropsource

I started as Developer Educator at low-code mobile app development platform Dropsource in 2016 and transitioned to Developer Advocate during my ~three years there.

Highlights from Dropsource:

Hack Aye

Inspired by my time working as a contractor at the Mozilla Foundation, in 2015 I co-founded a local organization in Scotland dedicated to helping people learn the tech and collaboration skills in open source. With Hack Aye, I led a series of participatory learning sessions in association with local partners.

Example workshops included using GitHub to collaborate on campaign resources and using Webmaker browser tools to "correct" (vandalise) websites. We connected to Mozilla's network throughout this time, including leading a session at the Mozilla Festival and partnering on project applications.

Mozilla

I worked as a contractor at the Mozilla Foundation between 2014-15 on a variety of open education programs. My first project was authoring API documentation and tutorials for Open Badges infrastructure / tooling, then I collaborated on storytelling and communication for community contributors to the Hive Learning Network.

The experience I had working at Mozilla had a huge impression on me, and still informs the way I communicate and collaborate.

Development and content

For several years I worked as a freelance web / multimedia developer and content creator–I did a ton of technical writing on coding topics. I would learn how to code something, then author content to help others learn it.

Development projects included websites and multimedia applications for a range of clients, including an online graffiti drawing app and web-to-print software, as well as a long-term engagement with a local authority, building games and interactive components targeting child protection / health education issues.

Over the years I authored hundreds of web development articles, including fully functional sample code learners could remix and extend. I worked on product documentation from time to time, including help material for an XML IDE. When Android came along I focused on it for a while, creating tutorials, courses, and videos. My own apps included nonsense sentence generators and a madlibs-inspired grammar learning game.

Highlights from my writing work:

More recently (in 2019), before I started at Postman I did a little contracting with DevRel consultancy and DevRelCon organiser Hoopy on developer relations content.

Masters course

In a desperate attempt to retrain and improve my career prospects, in 2006 I went back to Glasgow uni at almost 30. This intense course equipped me with a foundation in software development–we learned Java to an advanced level and some practical basics on a load of other languages and technologies. It was a huge challenge, but in the end I was awarded a distinction and the class prize.

The Computing Science dept asked me back to tutor and facilitate lab sessions on the course I had just completed–this was a great introduction to helping people learn programming skills.

Pre tech

For 6-7 years I worked at a public sector arts venue (since I was a student–my undergraduate degree was in English). My final role was Arts Manager, negotiating, booking, and marketing a program of arts performances, classes, and events, supervising the daily operation of the licensed community space, budgeting, and carrying out performance measurement.

After leaving the arts centre I spent a couple of years doing a load of short-term jobs (in a bookshop, as an office temp, etc). I was miserable and therefore decided to have a go at learning computers–luckily I live in Scotland where we don't pay tuition fees and this was an option!

You can contact me at sue@benormal.info