I Will Survive: How Deirdré Straughan Built a Career in Tech Without Being An Engineer
This Week's Guest:
Open Source Content Lead, Amazon Web Services
Deirdré Straughan helps technologies grow and thrive through marketing and community. Her product experience spans consumer apps and devices, cloud services and technologies, and kernel features. Her toolkit includes words, websites, blogs, communities, events, video, social, marketing, and more. She has written and edited technical books and blog posts, filmed and produced videos, and organized meetups, conferences, and conference talks. You can learn more about her on beginningwithi.com or on Twitter.
About This Episode:
Today it seems like everyone working in tech came out of the womb wanting to do this work, including having degrees in engineering. But when the internet was new, most people working in tech couldn't have such degrees—they didn't exist.
A whole generation of us Gen Xers and Baby Boomers build multi-decade careers in tech through sheer interest, determination, and in some cases, being in the right place at the right time.
Deirdré Straughan, Open Source Content Lead at Amazon Web Services, and a global telecommunications pioneer, joins us to talk about how she built an accidental career in tech with absolutely no STEM degree. Along the way she gives a crash course in the history of the desktop publishing space, which evolved alongside her career as a technical writer and marketer.
After 25 years in online communications (since 1982) Deirdre's lessons are still true today: do anything you're asked to do in a growth business, be willing to say yes to challenging new assignments, and have a thick, leathery skin to help you survive change.
Whether you're new to tech and wondering how to break in, or whether like Deirdre you're in tech without a STEM degree, or just interested in the history of desktop publishing, there's a lot to glean from this episode.
It's a bit longer, and trending towards an hour. I'm discovering that having the time to talk about the past and the future requires a bit more time with each guest. Let me know what you think!
Show Notes: From Deidre's Blog
- Representing a company in public internet forums
- Recommended Book: "Getting In Touch With Your Inner Bitch"
- Early Experiences in Online Customer Communications
- Basic Principles for Communicating Online
- How to do newsletters right (and a little history of newsletters)
- eMail Encounters: Anecdotes of a Professional Life Online
- Deirdre's history in customer service
- Early usenet: supporting a company on the front lines
- 25 years of online communication - since 1982