I’m Victoria Martinez de la Cruz, but ‘Vicky’ is also fine. First time I heard about the open source concept I was very young, I will say, 12 years old. At that time it was quite common to use IRC (text-based chat system for instant messaging designed for group and one-on-one communication on discussion forums or channels) to chat with friends and to get to know people. It was also in those forums I initially came across the term. I only knew there were communities that worked together to deliver quality software and that such software was free to use, read and modify by anyone willing to do so. I started learning about different open source software, starting of course by understanding Linux and all the different tools that it constitutes.
When I finished high school, I went to college and signed up for my degree in Computer Science. Before graduating, I was looking for internship opportunities to get some real world working experience. That is when I also heard about the Gnome Outreach Program for Women (Gnome OPW), nowadays known as Outreachy. I submitted my application to contribute to the GNOME Vinagre project. I didn’t succeed in that opportunity but I applied again the next year, this time for both GNOME Shell and for OpenStack-a fairly new cloud computing project. That is when I started contributing with code to OpenStack.
Like most beginners, I faced so many challenges but I got a lot of help and worked pretty hard to get to success which felt really good, considering the amount of work and dedication I put in. My first big win which I don’t take for granted was building my confidence enough to pursue my dream career. I got several blockers in my path which I managed to overcome, because I was convinced on what I wanted to achieve.
Today, I am a senior software engineer, team lead and mentor. I am very happy with how things turned out to be in my career and excited for what comes next. I enjoy working on cloud technology, so I totally see myself continuing my work in this area. I am also very passionate about music, so I have been thinking of the possibility of getting myself in that market. Will see what life brings! Something is for sure: I love open source, so I see myself continuously engaged with open source technologies and communities.
To you, excited or curious about open source, make connections. That is key for any career in technology as well as other fields. Surround yourself with people that help you to grow. Also, try to be that person for somebody else. Sharing your knowledge is part of growing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to apply to that job you are very passionate about. Learn to say no and prioritize your own agenda. Keep learning and researching. And don’t forget to enjoy the path!
Published by Nasah Kuma