Introducing Leilah Squires: the newest Developer Advocate at Bitrise

Leilah recently joined our team as a Developer Advocate. Read about her journey to DevRel in this introduction!

Hello, Bitrisers! I am your newest Developer Advocate at Bitrise. What is a Developer Advocate you ask? Great question! Let’s find out together :-) 

But first, a little bit about me

For the past 10 years I have been working at a real estate tech company, Compass. I know – 10 years at the same place in tech, I must be crazy! And you are right, I am crazy for figuring out an organic way to learn and grow. *Hair Flip*

To paint a picture, I did not go to university for computer science. The most coding experience I had was creating a sick MySpace page (showing my age here), and most of my work experience dealing with customer service. 

When I joined Compass, I saw an opportunity to learn about all the different roles that fall into tech companies. I was offered a safe space to try and fail and try again. Here, I accumulated insight into what I did not enjoy doing. Ultimately, I began working with our Product & Engineering team as QA for Mobile. I was able to learn on the job by fixing small bugs and I was hooked. I continued learning and joined mobile as an iOS dev for my final 3 years at Compass. 

Something was missing, Developer Advocate is the answer

In my past roles at Compass, I worked face to face with our customers, created content about our platform, worked hand in hand with P&E to provide feedback from our customers – and in turn, sharing P&E’s response with them. I wanted a role that allowed me to do all that, all while fostering my new skills in mobile app development. I reflected on what was lacking in my day-to-day work life with my mentor. A month or so later he messaged me excitedly, sharing a role he thought would be perfect for me – Developer Advocate. 

Literally, the job posting was a list of all I was looking for in a new role. Being a Developer Advocate meant I would be able to work with our customer community, speak at conferences, create cool content to help mobile devs in need, travel, and still be able to code. Despite not having direct experience as a Dev Advocate, my personal strengths and diverse work history made it a perfect fit. 

Increasing diversity in tech

You may think my professional journey sounds very unique and not many could have done it. However, I found a huge community of Black and Brown people here in the States, entering tech later in life, the same exact way. I call it getting into tech through the backdoor. 

Since I did not grow up thinking tech was an option, I never pursued it. So, not having the degree or the connections acted as a huge bouncer at the front door of a poppin club, and left me on the outside, dubbed not cool enough to be let in. 

However, using my distinct work and life experiences, I was able to sneak around the blockers and find myself in the VIP section, sipping champagne with the rest of you fine Bitrise folks. To me, that is what diversity is all about. Hiring people who might not have direct experience with the work, but do have a collection of strengths and skills that can be applied to that job. My personal goal as I gain more influence in tech is to help ease this sort of growth process for others like myself.

So, what’s the next move?

Going forward you are going to be seeing my name pop up attached to some really cool content around using Bitrise to ease app releases, mobile specific metrics set ups, cultivating Mobile DevOps culture, and much, much more. I am very excited to work with all of you and can’t wait to expand the Bitrise community. 

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