Spotlight 53: Let’s meet Technical lead Laura!

  • byLieke Boon
  • 11 March 2016
  • inSpotlight!
  • 0

Spotlight Friday! This week, the introduction will be a bit different, cause I’m leaving it to someone else! :-) A couple of months ago I received an amazing mail from Raphaela. She told me about her colleague Laura and that it would be great if she could have a Spotlight interview. I couldn’t agree more and I’m actually a bit proud that Laura could find the time for the interview! Thank you both!

And Raphaela, I hope you don’t mind that I’m using your wonderful words about Laura to introduce her! :)

“Laura is the lead developer behind MindMeister , a collaborative online mind mapping app (the first of its kind when it launched in 2007) with over 4 M users. She has shaped the product from the start and continues to pour her love and sweat into this tool to ensure it stays one of the most innovative and best maintained tools on the web. 


Laura is a talented coder, a geek, a techie, but she is also much more than that. I’ve never met a more versatile or ambitious woman. Whatever she starts, she doesn’t stop until she has mastered it, be it a yoga position, a language or a marathon. To me, she is a great colleague, a dear friend and a role model who inspires me to trust in myself and work hard to be the best that I can be.”

Name:Laura Bârlădeanu

Job:Technical lead at MeisterLabs, the company behind MindMeister and MeisterTask

Favorite website, app or gadget:It’s very difficult to pick one because I use so many and they would make my life harder if they didn’t exist: Github, RubyMine, MeisterTask, Slack, Bugsnag.

Favorite book:The most recent books that have kept me from going to sleep were Flowers for  Algernon and A Prayer for Owen Meany .

Twitter: @bulinutz

Site: https://www.mindmeister.com and  https://www.meistertask.com

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?

Since I was 13 I liked math, I liked solving puzzles and I liked challenges. I actually loved math so much I considered becoming a math teacher. But I realised that wouldn’t keep me enthusiastic for that long. Tech was also very appealing and after a bit more research I decided to apply for the technical university, specialising in computer science. I’ve never regretted it.

What does your working day look like?

I wake up on coffee and I make it through the day with green tea. Being tech lead and recently getting involved in our growth team means that my days are never quite the same. Mondays are usually filled with meetings, be it weekly status update meetings, Kanban iteration planning, or roadmap discussions. I also participate in most of the technical interviews that we do. In between, I do code reviews for my team, manage releases, and I do actually get to write a bit of code as well. Fridays are the days I get to code the most, partly because we recently converted them into Hacky Fridays and partly because it gets quieter in the office.

On top of that, we have a running team within the company and we try to do 2 runs per week, they happen on Tuesday and Thursday. We also love beer, so we try to find enough pretexts to drink it: game night, Hacky Friday, birthdays, Thanksgiving. And in summer we get to combine these 2 passions of ours: we drive to Vienna’s largest park, the Prater, run the usual 8km loop, and then we enjoy a few beers on some of the terraces there. I also occupy some afternoons with the local Ruby and Javascript meetups.

Spotlight 53: Let’s meet Technical lead Laura! “A picture from the finish line of Wildsau, a dirt run competition in Austria that I did with my awesome colleagues and friends on my birthday.”

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?

I’ve been working only on one project per-se, MindMeister, but the feature that I enjoyed the most until now was tearing down our payment system and building it back up. I have to say it’s also the feature that caused me the most stress. I enjoyed it because it gave me the opportunity to work on the architecture, DB design, learn and understand a lot about the technical sides of credit card and Paypal payments, and implement everything from the ground up. It also gave me a new, broader look over the project.

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?

I can’t say I do. There are many people I admire and respect, but I’ve always formed opinions by myself and followed my own intuition on how to do things.

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?

Because it’s both quiet and chaotic; because it’s non-interpretable; because my brain gets a push of endorphins upon solving a math problem; because I can create from nothing; because it’s not a fussy field.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?

Yes, I have a master’s degree in computer science from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Even though they never taught us Ruby or Javascript in college, I think my years there helped me become the programmer that I am today by setting the foundation. I would mention algorithms, functional programming, logic programming among my favourite subjects and the ones I found most useful.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)

Don’t be afraid to try things out, don’t be afraid to ask questions, forget your usual patterns and think outside the box. Pick up any tutorial book, but don’t limit yourself to that, it should only make you even more curious and enthusiastic. Also, Google is your friend, we’re all just glorified googlers after all :-)

Extra question fromAnna: What’s the primary thing you want to learn next?

How to do the scorpion pose in yoga.

Tags:interview, spotlight , women in tech

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