A New Way to Return to Work: Spotlight on Lee Nolan

 Lee Ann Nolan

Return Path position: Software Engineer in Email Fraud Protection (EFP)—an online service that gives Return Path customers the ability to protect their subscribers from phishing and other email threats. By using EFP to protect their subscribers, Return Path customers protect and enhance their reputation and their brand.

Career past life (What did you do?): Before taking time off to raise my sons, I was a software developer working on device drivers and other low-level software for network and video adapters. Most of the code I developed was distributed as part of the Windows operating system.

How long were you out of the workforce? 15 years. In addition to taking care of my family, I also took a number of classes in web development.

Return Path role (What do you do each day?): I participate in the Agile development process including daily stand-up, planning, grooming, and retrospective meetings. I’ve become very familiar with Jira, Git, Gerrit, Jenkins, and other tools used regularly by software developers here at Return Path.

At the beginning of the program, I worked on adding brand attribution to the Phish Detection tool used by the EFP Sales team. After that, I added features to APIs used by the UI and data aggregation tools. I also fixed some visual display problems and made sure that selection criteria were correctly propagated to different pages in the UI.

Lately, I’ve learned Go and how to add features to the new data stream parser on the back end. In the process, I’m learning a bit about Kafka, AWS Redshift, and Kinesis.

Crossover (What skills from your past life do you use in your new position?): My knowledge of Windows operating systems was helpful in becoming familiar with Linux and Docker. Also, the web development courses I took before arriving at Return Path helped immensely.

What does the Return to Work program mean to you? The Return to Work program has been a great experience for me. In addition to the opportunity to restart my career as a software developer, it’s been great to have the support of all the other Returnees in the program.

What do you hope to get out of it? I hoped to gain some current, relevant experience, and my expectations have been met. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about all the working parts of a big-data, web application.

What advice would you give to future Returnees? Ask a lot of questions, get the mentoring you need, and be prepared to spend extra time learning new programming languages and technologies.

Where did you hear about this program? I heard about the program from the Seattle chapter of Girl Develop It.

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