Software Development
Career development / Social media / Software / Women in tech

How I Got Here: Content, conferences and tech Twitter propelled Netflix senior software engineer Laurie Barth

The RealLIST Engineers honoree, who joined Netflix this month, talks about finding community with minoritized technologists, in D.C. and online.

Laurie Barth joined Netflix as a senior software engineer in April 2021. (Courtesy photo)

This is How I Got Here, a series where we chart the career journeys of technologists. Want to tell your story? Get in touch.

Details including the dates and nature of Barth's content work have been updated. (5:50 p.m., 4/13/21)
For Laurie Barth, building a community both online and locally in D.C. has come right alongside career growth as a software engineer.

Along with writing code, she shares her work through blogs and at frequent conference speaking engagements. Social media has proved important for forging deeper connections with women in tech along the way.

She recently started a role as a senior software engineer with Netflix. In the role, the Technical.ly DC’s RealLIST Engineers 2019 honoree will be working on internal dev tooling with the prominent streaming and production company.

Originally from Connecticut, Barth spent some time in Columbia, Maryland, before settling down in Arlington, Virginia.

“I worked in the federal government for a little while and then I went into the private sector in more of the consulting side of the house,” Barth said. “I worked with a variety of different large and small companies, but I was always changing projects in and out because you know, consulting life.”

This gave her a lot of exposure to different industries, but her tech career was propelled when she began speaking at conferences and technical blogging, which she began in 2017. She acquired a majority of her audience, which includes more than 23,000 Twitter followers, through blogging on her personal site. She also creates video content through egghead.io.

“I joined tech Twitter and just opened myself up to this much larger ecosystem,” she said, referring to the segment of Twitter users that interact around tech topics. This is where she met more people in the D.C. area who weren’t in her same role or company, but still passionate about the same niche areas of software engineering. In October 2019, she began a software engineering job with Gatsby, a startup that makes a platform helping users to build the front-end portions of websites.

Barth discussed her experience as a “minoritized” individual, which she describes as being a member of a race, religious creed, nation of origin, sexuality or gender that, as a result of social constructs, have less power or representation compared to other members or groups in tech.

“I had previously worked in companies where I was the only woman, and Twitter introduced me to [and] allowed me to make connections with a large number of women in tech that I now consider friends,” she said. “Additionally, it gave me opportunities to meet and learn from numerous minoritized individuals who have identities outside of or in addition to ‘woman in tech.'”

She thinks back to the connections she made on tech Twitter as a point of empowerment from the community.

“Having those contacts and people that you can trust and talk to, who are themselves incredibly connected, is invaluable,” she said. “Most of the relationships that I’ve made on Twitter have moved off of the platform,” to places like Discord DMs or texts.

Along with speaking at conferences, Barth has also joined groups both locally and around the world to find community. She contributes to the open source community, and is a member of orgs like Women Who Code DC and DCFemTech. She encourages others to find an organization or community that speaks to them.

“If you think it’s something you may enjoy doing, do it,” she said. “Don’t do it just to check a box just because someone tells you to.”

Companies: Netflix
Series: How I Got Here

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