Ep. 14 Duretti Hirpa - Secrets from a Self Taught Software Developer


Duretti Hirpa is a writer and senior software engineer based in San Francisco, California. She’s a ten-year veteran of the technology industry. Duretti has a humanities background and often thinks about the intersection between people and technology. She is a self taught software developer and continually excels at prestigious companies including Fastly, Slack, and most recently MailChimp.

Over the years, Duretti has held various roles including web developer UI designer, front end engineer, and back end engineer. She likes treats, the feeling of finding the perfect animated gif, and the vocal stylings of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

Episode Summary

Duretti Hirpa is a bit of a self-described anomaly in the tech world. She’s an extrovert who loves pop culture. She also happens to be a successful self taught software developer. Duretti taught herself to build websites in high school by the ‘view source’ button and has never stopped learning new skills.

Duretti graduated from the University of Washington with an English degree. She wanted to go to law school, but reconsidered after working with a group of disgruntled lawyers. Instead she decided to go into tech, where she had a chance to apply her gritty do-it-yourself mentality. Duretti has since landed jobs at hot tech companies including Fastly, Slack, and most recently MailChimp.

Duretti’s career has been fueled by her curiosity and her “willingness to at least try something she’s not familiar with.”

For other tech roles and descriptions click here.

In this episode we’ll also cover: 

  1. What its like working at a Creative Agency
  2. How you can find a mentor organically
  3. Why engineers can’t rule the world forever
  4. How a DIY mindset can land you a tech job faster than a college degree

Key Milestones

Key Quotes

How to become a self taught software developer?

“I taught myself to make websites in highschool by using the view source button.”

“I always thought it was really cool that I could type something and turn it into something I could interact with.”

“Working at a creative agency, you sort of churn through these projects and there’s not incentive to make it nice. They’ll be spun up and spun down very quickly.”

“I’m not a classic autodidact in that way where you can just sit and read a book and get it. I need someone to use their mouth and talk to me and walk through the problem.”

“Mentorship is really interesting because for it to be successful it has to be an organic relationship. You have to like and trust the person you are approaching.”

“Generally my willingness to at least try something I’m not familiar with has been very helpful.”

“I don’t pattern-match at all. People don’t know what to do with me when they meet me. I’m like ‘I like beyonce, let’s do this’.”

“We mentor and sponsor people that remind them of themselves and I don’t remind anyone of themselves.”

“I get so much done because I can relate to other people and I’m not proud about asking for help.”

“Writing software is a team sport.”