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Devs Who Inspire Us (Who Happen to be Women)

Tal Koren

8 minutes

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Honestly, we didn’t need International Women’s Day to chat about these devs. We follow their knowledge leadership, tips, and tutorials all year long. In tech, gender is irrelevant; innovation is the name of the game. These strong, brilliant, brave, charismatic, humorous, and intelligent women are laying the stones for the road to the future of technology. Also, we needed a break from the COVID19 chatter.

We picked who we believe to be changing the name of technology. They embody the true meaning of the word “leader” and are our heroes in not only their knowledge and ability to create new tools and projects, but also in their ability to inspire people everywhere in the fields that they have established themselves as experts in.

Meet The Devs

Sarah Drasner

Looking for cool dev-related content? Sarah Drasner is the one we go to! We’ve been following Sarah ever since she started speaking way back in 2015, which resulted in her writing for CSS Tricks, and eventually being a Staff Writer. She even interviewed Una Kravets, who is also on this very list!

Sarah is a key figure in organizations, gives workshops to spread her carefully culled knowledge, takes part in open source communities and library maintenance, but most importantly- has an awesome Twitter profile which we, along with many in the dev community and beyond love to follow, because it’s just that remarkable.

One of Sarah’s most insightful talks in our eyes, is the “SVG can do that?!” talk, where she goes into great detail about how you can style SVG icons, handle typography, utilize physics with animation, while playing around with JavaScript libraries/frameworks like React and Vue.js. Some of the things she does in this talk are still mindblowing to us.

Drasner is an award-winning speaker, Head of Developer Experience at Netlify, Vue.js core team member, former Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, and co-founder of Web Animation Workshops with Val Head, among many other roles. She has ultimately worked 15 years as a web developer, while at times working as a Scientific Illustrator and a Professor in the Greek Islands, as if all of her previous experience and accomplishments weren’t cool enough.

Una Kravets

Una Kravets is a voice of inspiration for techies everywhere; it’s her defining factor in her influence on the dev world. We can’t get enough of Una’s creative content, talks, and podcasts. Her ability to combine tech and design is unparalleled and we’re always looking forward to what she comes out with next.

We remember discovering Una’s blog a few years ago. Her posts still spark a twinkle in our eyes, as she writes about CSS, Web standards, the past and future of the web in general and CSS in particular. A personal favorite of ours is the “On Learning and Comprehension” post, where she writes about learning, focusing on tasks, and basically getting things done; something all of us can relate to, developers or not.

The last time we saw Una, was at YGLF 2019. It was right after lunch when we sat down to see her give her amazing talk on CSS Houdini – a tool that lets developers tell the browser how to read and parse CSS. We were blown away to infinity by the mere possibility of a thing like that – and are still heavily inspired when we watch this talk today.

Una hosts a biweekly podcast called toolsday that covers cool tech tips and tricks as well as her web series: Designing in the Browser. Una is also the creator of Dev Doodles, an Instagram page that describes dev terms or concepts and mnemonics to remember them by in small doodle pictures.

Tamar Twena Stern

We first encountered Tamar approximately two years ago when we went to a JavaScript Israel meetup. It is one of the longest-standing meetup groups in our area and is run by fellow developers who give insightful lectures. Tamar was at the conference, giving a talk about the JIT Compiler used by Node.js, and the Chrome’s V8 Engine used to actually run Node.js. It didn’t take long until we were absolutely immersed by her descriptive insights about the way the engine utilizes optimization by using the Turbofan Compiler, and why using the ‘delete’ operator causes deoptimization.

A lecture of hers that really captured us was “A Journey into Node.js Internals”, filmed at one of the JavaScript Conference events. It includes a wide overview of some of the Node.js internals, be it the event loop’s different phases and how it enables non-blocking IO, the JavaScript “single-threaded” nature, the JIT compiler and Chrome’s V8 Engine, or the memory leak detection.

Tamar Twena Stern has a special capability to reach others through her talks. With over a decade of experience in server-side to mobile, web technologies to security, as well as big data, Tamar has established herself as a tech guru, especially when it comes to Node.js server architecture and performance.

Lea Verou

We are long-time fans of Lea Verou, even before Rookout was founded. We remember reading her blog posts more than a decade ago; some of them even include references from “The Matrix” in them, which we absolutely cannot resist. It’s inspiring to see how much creativity, enthusiasm and ambition a person can have, especially when used as a way of contributing to a community (in this case, the dev community).

Lea has authored the book ‘CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems’. She works at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, where she researches how to make web programming easier (did we mention she’s our hero?). Lea has given over 100 invited talks at different web development or web design conferences and is a strong advocate of open source (which is something close to our hearts), having started several popular open source projects and web applications, such as Prism, Awesomplete, and Mavo (her research at MIT), among others.

One of her many given talks is the “More CSS Secrets: Another 10 things you may not know about CSS” at W3Conf 2013, which to this day continues to boggle developers’ minds, as they discover CSS tidbits unknown to them before; especially things related to animation and CSS Gradients. Also, as fans of peculiar tools (some of our engineers really love CSS, Vim & Regex; don’t ask), we noticed that making those tools more approachable to developers by demystifying them is of great service to the community. Lea does just this, both by being an advocate of CSS and by giving a brilliant presentation on what Regular Expressions are and why they aren’t as frightening as they seem.

Sarah Novotny

We’ve been following Sarah Novotny’s path for quite a while now. Being huge fans of microservices, it’s only natural for Sarah to be one of our favorite developers and tech leaders to follow. We especially like her insights about why open source is more important now than ever, since we’ve also noticed that our clients need the ability to freely choose which combination of services will best meet their needs over time. Being a big fan of open source, Sarah also joined the Kubernetes Podcast for an episode focused around the evolution of Kubernetes, governance models, and how open source communities can learn from it.

Sarah Novotny is a leader who manages to influence all areas of the dev world. She wears many hats as the leader of the Kubernetes Community Program for Google, the co-founder of Blue Gecko, and as a technical evangelist for NGINX, to name a few. Sarah is a leader for all: in her free time, she serves as the Open Source community champion in various communities and runs large scale technology infrastructures. She also speaks and writes regularly about technology infrastructure and her true passion: geek lifestyle (our two favorite words!). Her unique capabilities and experience have given her the platform to create and inspire, influencing devs worldwide.

Michelle Noorali

We’re huge rock fans, and this is one of the reasons Michelle Noorali’s “Highway to Helm” (a pun at AC/DC) talk made us turn up our speakers even more. We first encountered her giving this very talk almost 3 years ago, where she introduced everyone to Helm, a tool that helps you manage Kubernetes applications, be it installations, upgrades, and much more. Since then, she has been one of the most prominent voices spearheading the Helm project, and currently sits on the Kubernetes Steering Committee. We absolutely can’t get enough of her.

Michelle Noorali is not only leading the way in the dev community as a dev herself, but also as an advocate and creator. Her day job is being a Software Engineer at Microsoft, though she often spends the rest of her free time advocating for strong distributed systems and working with Draftcreate, CNAB, and Service Mesh Interface to bring new technology to life. Michelle is passionate about end user experiences and the impact of open source software. Her love of what she does has enabled her to become the force that she currently is in the dev world.

Looking Forward

We were excited about these awesome techy devs because they’re inspiring the tech world to always go one more step forward, reach a bit further, and think a bit bigger and brighter. We are honored to be a part of and witness to the ingenuity, talent, and growth that these fantastic devs engender. And that’s it. Happy dev binging 🙂

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