Joining Samsung Internet

lola odelola

Web Developer Advocate


People dancing on Soul Train

This is my first week on the Samsung Internet team as a Developer Advocate and things still feel very surreal but 2020 has been full of (mostly bad) surprises so it’s nice to be celebrating something good and new.

For the last 6 years, I’ve been working in web & software development, in various roles mainly as a Ruby & Ruby on Rails developer for various companies, but most recently as a Core Support Engineer for Heroku. Outside of work my focus has been more community based & creative; I ran a non-profit for 5 years that encouraged Black women to get into the tech industry. I ran workshops, events and a paid internship with partner company, 8th Light. I host a technical podcast, do 1–1 mentoring, give talks and I’m currently finishing up my Masters in Computer Science.

However, what I really enjoy doing is tinkering, exploring and creating. My first degree is in Creative Writing and English Literature and since getting into the tech industry I’ve been distracted and haven’t done much creating in the way I’d like. This is part of what spurred my shift into developer advocacy. I enjoyed my role at Heroku because I got to help people solve their technical problems but it was also structured enough that I could close my laptop at the end of the day without feeling completely spent. That was until this year. This year, I found myself needing the freedom of exploration again and flexibility around what I create, when and who for.

In hindsight, I’ve spent the majority of my years in tech doing some kind of developer advocacy work but when my manager suggested it to me, I was apprehensive. I didn’t want to be restricted in the kinds of technology I could advocate for & explore or be confined to arbitrary metrics of N blog posts a week. Then there was the heavy marketing I’d seen from other Developer Advocates, it became hard to tell what was a genuine contribution to the developer community and what was a push to use a fancy new product.

But I’ve always been an inquisitive person, so I emailed, video called and tweeted with some folk I knew in the space. Most of them thought I had the skillset for the job, some of them put me in touch with others to speak to and I had the overwhelming support to make the shift, if I wanted to. I just had to choose a company who’s work culture and values aligned with my own and who valued creative expression and experimentation.

The Samsung job advert had been in my personal job board for a couple of days, it was there as a “maybe”. I met 90% of the job requirements. I had done some snooping on the team and knew the kind of work they were doing and the content they were putting out, about best web development practices and interesting web APIs they had used or experimented with, was what I wanted to do but still “maybe I should look for something a little more introductory”, I thought. Then I spontaneously quit my job and all of a sudden I didn’t have time for self-doubt, my bills don’t care about all of that. Then I realised I was friends with someone who knew Dan & Ada and was able to get an intro with Dan and find out more about how the team worked.

Things happened really fast after that, so two weeks later here I am. My first week being an adventurer for Samsung Internet. 🎉