Amanda’s unexpected role change to Executive Director at The Rails Foundation

Amanda spent over a decade working in PR, communication, events, and community management in tech industry. After the bootcamp, she joined The Rails Foundation as a Executive Director. She shares her thoughts on importance of coding skills in tech-adjacent or tech-supporting roles.
Summary
Hi Amanda, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Amanda Perino, I’m originally from the United States, but I currently live in Amsterdam. I recently graduated from Le Wagon’s Web Development bootcamp in the online, part-time format, taking place from June to December 2022. Shout out to Online Batch #986!

You have more than a decade of experience in PR, communication, events, and community management. What led you to pursue a bootcamp?
I worked in a non-technical role as an events manager for a company in the cloud technology industry. However, creating events for developers without understanding their day-to-day life always felt like a knowledge gap to me. As someone who enjoys studying and learning, the idea of learning how to code came up several times over the years. Finally, I decided to take a bootcamp to learn something new and hopefully gain knowledge that would help me create better experiences for developers through events. So while I hoped that the bootcamp might help me in my work, I wasn’t planning to use it to change careers or roles, as many of my bootcamp classmates intended.

You recently started a new role as Executive Director of The Rails Foundation. Could you tell us a bit more about the role?
Yes, despite what I said earlier, I ended up changing roles after (and because of) my bootcamp. I am only two weeks in so we are just getting started, but first: Ruby on Rails, the open source framework that we learn at Le Wagon, is a really great framework for a multitude of users – from newly starting out junior developers to start up entrepreneurs to larger companies like GitHub and Shopify. The Rails Foundation, where I currently work, was recently launched to support the Ruby on Rails community through improved documentation, events, marketing, and education. The core members supporting the foundation – Cookpad, Doximity, Fleetio, GitHub, Intercom, Procore, Shopify, and 37signals – are all companies built on Rails. They all want to see the Rails community continue to thrive and achieve the same success that they have found. My job is to manage the foundation’s operations and support the community through documentation, events, marketing, and education. While I am not a professional developer – and never will be – I frequently apply what I learned at the bootcamp when communicating with developers from the Rails community.

In your opinion, what makes the Le Wagon community special?
What I loved about it is the shared effort. Everyone who starts a Le Wagon bootcamp already comes with a wealth of professional and personal life experience, but for the most part everyone is new (or fairly new) to coding. So at the start of the bootcamp, an invisible line is drawn in the sand and you all start at the same spot together. From then on, you are all just figuring it out as you go along, and that shared effort really is what makes connections stronger.

Amanda Perino with Daniel Polistchuck, Hiroto Yoshimori, Dirk Mischke, and Alex Morris at Le Wagon Online meet-up in Paris, February 2023

 

What are the benefits of doing the bootcamp online?
For me, the convenience of not having to travel to attend class was key. My job was full-time with a lot of travel, so being able to access classes from home was of utmost importance. Although there is a Le Wagon school here in Amsterdam where I live, I wouldn’t have been able to attend in person due to other life commitments. Fortunately, during my six-month bootcamp, several other students either passed through Amsterdam for travel or work, or lived nearby. As a result, I was able to meet up with several of them in person.Le Wagon also recently hosted an in-person meet-up in Paris, and several other students from my batch and I made it a point to get ourselves to Paris to meet in person, which was really fun.My tip is to make an effort to meet with other Le Wagon students in person. Attend Le Wagon meet-ups and reach out to other students who live nearby. This can definitely broaden your experience.

We like to say that there’s life “before” and life “after” Le Wagon, do you agree? Describe yours before and after.
I’ll do that and add one more- “during”! Before – blissfully unaware of what a SQL query entailed, or that a missing div tag could send you on a two hour debugging goose chase. During – painfully aware that all of my friends were out enjoying a beautiful summer and autumn while I was sat at home two nights a week and all day Saturday working hard. After – happily back to doing what I do best (marketing and events) but still heavily involved with Ruby on Rails and the community.

Victoria Torelli and Rishabh Agnihotri working on bootcamp challenges with Amanda

 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about doing the web development bootcamp?
I recently attended a Le Wagon meet-up in Paris where Boris Paillard, Co-founder and CEO of Le Wagon, spoke about the pervasiveness of technology across all departments – from marketing to HR and customer support. His point was that skills such as data analysis, database queries, and coding, which are taught at Le Wagon, are valuable for any role. I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. However, there are many roles where coding knowledge may not be necessary (such as event planning), but the information gained from a coding bootcamp can be useful if you want to work in a tech-adjacent or tech-supporting position within the tech industry. If your customers or colleagues are developers, then it is logical that understanding their work can aid you in your role.So my advice is that – for the sake of understanding a little bit more how the world works today, and learning something completely new that will stretch your brain in funny ways, anyone curious about coding should definitely just dive right in.

Thank you Amanda!

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