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  • Writer's pictureThiago Assuncao de Faria

Talita Gregory Nunes Freire: From Literature Dreams to Spotify's Tech Stage

Meet Talita Gregory Nunes Freire, a Fullstack Software Engineer at Spotify who once dreamed of a career in literature or journalism. Talita's journey into tech is far from the romanticized lie that you must code since you were in diapers to be successful! She didn't even own a computer until she went to university. A transformative trip to Australia opened her eyes to the world of technology, and she hasn't looked back since.

Anouk Wolters smiling in front of a rocky wall with cactus behind her.
The unique, smiley, upbeat and owner of a royalty-like name: Talita Gregory Nunes Freire!

In this edition of the Lovelace Series, Talita shares her unique path into the tech industry, from her initial fears and challenges to her ultimate triumphs. She talks about the importance of mentorship, the evolving landscape of diversity in tech, and how she's learning to balance the ever-changing demands of a tech career.


Talita's story is a testament to the power of curiosity, resilience, and the willingness to step out of one's comfort zone. Whether you're a tech novice or a seasoned pro, her insights offer valuable lessons for everyone.

 

Q) Can you share a bit about your background and your current role?


To be honest, my “plans” for life didn’t initially involve tech at all… I was super hippie and wanted to be a Literature Teacher at a fancy university or a Journalist… something along those lines. In my life, I have never really aspired to be a person who worked with technology - I always thought it was for the “smart” ones - and I didn’t have anyone to look up to. In fact, when I told my parents that I would like to study technology, they thought I went crazy 😅

And now, I work as a Fullstack Software Engineer at Spotify - something that child Talita definitely wouldn’t believe.

Q) How did you first become interested in technology, and what led you to your current role?


As I mentioned before, I was not “techy” at all. I barely used the computer at home until I joined university - I was super scared of breaking it. When I was 18 years old, my parents gifted me an English course in Australia for 3 months.


In fact, that was one of the most critical moments of my life! I learned to be independent in so many ways - the path was definitely bumpy, but I 👏 got 👏 it 👏 - and I met so many people in tech that inspired me to give it a shot! When I arrived back in Brazil, I signed up for all the technology university courses around me, determined that I would learn this smarty people thing. And I’m not going to lie, my first day at the university was quite intimidating!

I was one of the 3 girls in the entire 40-people course, the only one that had never coded. Everyone else apparently had experience since birth or something 😂

I only fell in love with programming and tech after my first class on algorithms, where I spent the entire day on the computer writing a super simple RPG-like game. I didn’t feel the time pass at all! I had fun, and I felt challenged! From that moment, I was sure that that was what I really wanted to do.


Q) What main challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

Definitely, my biggest challenge was, by far, getting my first job.

My university was located in a small city in Brazil, and even though my grades were the highest within my course - especially within the coding subjects - I couldn’t get a proper job/internship at the local companies. Colleagues of mine could, but with me, there was something off that not even my resume would go through.


Even though that was an important step to get hands-on experience, I didn’t let this stop me. To fill up this gap, I started offering website development and guidance for stores across the city and got experience via volunteering online for non-profit organizations across the planet.


After that, I got enough recommendations and projects to get my first internship. That was a pivoting moment in my career as I no longer had to find all the answers myself and struggle for hours with minor mistakes, but I had a team to support me and ask questions.


Q) Who or what has been the most significant influence or support in your tech journey?


A couple of names come to mind! But I will hold my fingers so it doesn’t become an endless list.


Besides my family, who never stopped supporting me and helping with whatever I needed at any moment, Natalie Kyriacou and Regis Nepomuceno were the first ones who supported me in countless ways and gave me an opportunity. Also, Cirpo Cinelli, Marco Crivellaro, Marian Bazalik, and Samantha Betts… basically the DX team that supports, inspires, and pushes me constantly to go one step further.


Anouk with a beautiful hilly scenery on a trip to Mexico.
Talita mentions her Australia trip as a life-changing experience and this is her first picture on that journey! The question: is this before or after a jump shot attempt?

Q) How have you seen diversity and inclusion evolve in the tech industry throughout your career?


Diversity in Tech is debatable, and it really depends on country, culture, and company. Within my experience in the Netherlands, I must say that I saw more diversity and inclusion when compared to my experience in Brazil.


That said, diversity in tech is more within the privilege range than an everyday thing. If you are located where they invest in education and opportunity, you can see more diversity than a place that doesn’t invest in any or only one of those aspects.

Q) How do you manage the work-life balance in the tech industry?


✨ I do not ✨ but I’m starting to. Work-life balance is challenging in tech because it is not just about extra hours but about technology itself. You spend hours thinking that you might not be good enough because a new thing popped up yesterday and you don’t know about it - am I really a developer? 🤔 So you put yourself into a position of studying.

You don’t have to become a genius about it, but you have to know about it, right? No! You 👏 don’t 👏 have 👏 to 👏 learn 👏 everything 👏

The first step is ✨accept that it is not humanly impossible to learn every single thing✨ and it's okay.


The second is to find & focus on what you want and should learn about. It honestly doesn’t make sense for you to study a technology you have 0 interest in and will definitely not use in your work or daily… you most likely might forget it 🥲


The third is to define a time for it so you can have some room to add new things that you would like to explore 🎉


And that is how I’m managing to ✨balance things out✨


Q) What skills are most important in today's tech world?


Learning and adapting quickly in such a fast-evolving world is really important. Also, creative thinking to solve complex problems is crucial. Lastly, effective communication with people with technical and non-technical backgrounds is vital.

Q) Can you share a project or accomplishment you consider the most significant in your career?


Definitely, “My Green World” and “Inclusão Eficiente” were two projects that I consider a pivoting moment in my Developer trajectory.

Besides the broad social value that those projects bring to the world itself, in my trajectory, they helped build the base of my knowledge of Software Development overall, not just limited to writing code.

Q) What are your future goals, and where do you see the tech industry heading in the next few years?


I currently don’t have a fixed goal established. I have just achieved what I have been working towards for a couple of years, so I’m trying to enjoy the calm waters for now 😅


Concerning the technology itself, I think it is impossible not to mention the advancement of AI this past year! I’m looking forward to what it will bring next.

Another thing that I keep my eye on is ✨Quantum Computing✨ and Security. I looking forward to the advancement of this “new” computing era and what it will bring to us.

Q) What advice would you give other women considering a tech career?

Give it a shot!

You might be surprised with what you will discover about tech and yourself 😉 If you would like to know more about how daily work looks like before trying to learn the subject, don’t hesitate to drop a message on someone’s inbox! That might really help you to get a perspective and an idea of what should be your first step 💡


Q) Let's continue the flow... who would you like to read on the Lovelace Series?


Oh, I have a couple, if you don’t mind 💅, but in no particular order: Sammantha Betts, Naomi Baynor, and Julie Luuh.



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