As they say, time flies when you’re having fun.
I can proudly say that I’ve had a lot of fun since I published my career pivot to community-building blog post in July 2021.
📸 From Berlin, Munich, and Athens community meet-ups
To celebrate my two years at Gitpod, I wanted to write this post reflecting on my proudest achievements and personal highlights.
⏪ Let’s quickly rewind
Before joining Gitpod, I worked for 2.5 years as an engineer at two large enterprises , focusing on software engineering, DevOps, and SRE . This was after graduating from university with a degree in Biomedical Sciences . Quite random, huh?
During those years, one thing remained consistent: my active involvement in local and online tech communities. I had spent most of my free time teaching coding courses , creating tech content , and attending hackathons  and other tech events across the UK 
When I reflect on that pivotal time period, it almost feels like the job I ended up doing today was written in the stars. It’s pretty much my core to follow my heart and see the “impossibility” of a career in tech without a Computer Science degree as a challenge I needed to complete.
🎒 Remote work
My far-out dream of working remotely from a laptop while seeing the world was once just that – a dream. I still remember describing exactly what I’m doing now to fellow undergraduates, family, and friends whenever the topic of “What will you do after University?” came up. Everyone looked back with blank stares.
It took 2.5 years, and a pandemic in the middle for the idea to start picking up, but better late than never, right? 😜
I don’t think I could ever go back to the traditional or conventional work structure . Remote work and adopting an asynchronous culture have changed my life for the better!
During the time of writing this, I’ve worked from 11 countries over the last 12 months and shipped projects I’m super proud of  Let’s get into that…
✨ The highlights
1. Building our community
Every week I review our community highlights and feel immense pride in the community we’re continuing to nurture at Gitpod.
Speaking to other community builders, we share the same sentiment: building communities is hard. Although setting up a platform, initiatives, and processes for members to follow is part of community building, there’s so much more.
A quote I like to reference at every chance I get is:
For me, it’s about creating a space for members to collaborate, learn and empower to achieve greater things together.
Nurturing a space for community is for deepening relationships, and creating trust between Gitpod (as a product and company) and our community (users and customers.) I’m proud that our team continues to show up for our community with the true Gitpod energy and enthusiasm that I believe is the thing that makes our community stand out.
📖 Read our blog post, “What we learned growing a community from 500 to 5000”.
With the nature of my role, I feel quite fortunate to have had countless opportunities to get out and meet our community in person. Some highlights:
- Establishing our Discord community with it being the go-to inspiration for other communities 😄 (I love getting this feedback!)
- Meeting a couple of our Community Heroes for the first time at KubeCon
- Kicking off our first community meet-up in Paris with Community Hero, JP 
- Leading all our community events where we spread the word on CDEs across 7 countries in 6 months, bringing together 212 people in person. 🌎
- The special moments of meeting community members who traveled all the way from different countries and cities to attend their closest Gitpod meet-up. A member flew from Italy to come to our Munich meet-up 🇮🇹 ✈️ 🇩🇪
- When I took a step back in our biggest meet-up yet and saw a room of 60+ people where organic conversations were happening about the future of software development in CDEs
- Seeing attendees tweet about the event and sending them a fan box, knowing they will be rocking their new kumquat socks in their city. Magical.
- Getting my first promotion  😊
- Collaborating with our Heroes Palani and Henit who built the Gitpod Community Raycast extension and William who was our #1 contributor last year and generally a joy to have in our community
- Hosting community hours to bring our product and community together, but also just to connect with other humans 🧡
- Working with brilliant community engineers in my team has been the cherry on top. A huge shoutout to AXON and GHOST who have grown our Discord, enhanced the experience with bots and automation and of course, inspired me to be better at my role. ✨
2. Running our big conferences and events
DevX Conf ⚡️
The first conference I led in the organization was DevX Conf 2022. Even though it was a virtual conference, and the second iteration, I completely underestimated the amount of work that was needed to pull that off.
It was an extra proud project for me because the team I worked with had just joined the company a month before we went live on Day 1. It was intense, stressful but collaborative and fun to see all the hard work come together.
By the time we wrapped up, I was ready to do it all over again  😄
A month later, we brought Gitpod to KubeCon for the first time last year. Valencia will always be a special one because it was the first major conference many folks attended since the pandemic.
It was a great opportunity to connect with people I’d been talking to in the online CNCF communities for a year as I embarked on my own cloud-native journey 
We’ve now attended three KubeCons, with our latest one being at Amsterdam, the biggest KubeCon to date where our logo was tough to miss. 😉
CDE Universe 🪐
Last month, we organized our first-ever in-person conference in San Francisco.
CDE Universe was another big career highlight for me as I took the microphone (not a Britney Spears one , sadly) and MC’ed the two-day conference which was one thing on my career list that I always wanted to do 
Attendees complimented the positive community vibes and quality speakers we had to push forward the CDE message, it felt so good to be a core part of that.
3. Having too much fun creating content
Before content creation became a thing, I was sharing my thoughts into pixels in the form of a blog post like the one you’re reading now.
I later found other ways to spread messages to inform and educate others from videos, podcasting, and even writing course material for coding courses.
4. Contributing to building our culture
For a big portion of my life, I felt the need to dial down my personality in order to fit in and be accepted. I used my online spaces like my blog and the days’ Twitter used to be good (circa 2011~) as an outlet to be myself.
I shared this tweet a few days after I joined Gitpod. From my first day, I felt like I was in a safe space to be exactly who I was. When I feel welcomed, safe, and accepted like this, I’m in my zone and I produce my best work. Looking back over the past 2 years, I can see very clear evidence of this.
I believe that psychological safety is still a huge part of our culture, and is one that I actively try to protect at all costs amidst the waves of uncertainty and changes that we’re all going through right now in tech.
I’m a strong believer that everything we do from the Slack messages we send to the Notion docs we write and ask comments for directly impacts culture.
Showing up to work every day for the last two years to nurture the Gitpod culture, even in tiny amounts, is something that I’m very proud of contributing to.
🌙 What’s to come
Sometimes it just takes one person to give you a chance, and for me, it was Gitpod.
Prior to joining, I had no formal experience in Community or DevRel. My imposter syndrome weighed on me, and I was just waiting on being found out. Everyone at Gitpod not only gave me the space to make mistakes and learn but also to grow into my role.
By no means do I know it all in two years, I’ll continue to stay a student of the game but today, I’m going to take a deep breath and celebrate how far we’ve come since the early days.
To end this post, thank you to Gitpod who have trusted me to represent our community and beyond. Also a big thank you to friends, family, and the thousands of silent supporters I feel from the wider tech community who have been rooting me on for years.
I’m excited to continue leading our community, making mistakes and growing from them, advocating for dev tools I obsess about (Hi, I’m Pauline! Have you heard of Gitpod? 😇), and contributing to the CDE space hopefully for the years to come. 🧡