By Bob Rhubart
As a teenager, when Loiane Groner selected computer science as a course of university study, she wasn’t thinking about computer programming or coding. “I thought that I was going to learn how to fix computers,” she explains.
“In Brazil you have to choose your major before you go to college,” Groner says. “I chose computer science because I liked computers. That was the only reason.”
Groner was 10 years old when she got her first computer. But with no access to the internet, she used the computer to play games and to install trial versions of software that came on discs in magazines. Then she took a course in Windows and DOS. “Software was kind of like magic,” she says.
That started to change in college. Her first class was an introduction to algorithms. Her professor explained algorithms using the preparation of potatoes as an analog. “I remember this as if it were today,” Groner says. “He explained the whole process—get the potatoes from the refrigerator, wash them, don’t peel them, boil them, and all that.”
At first, Groner had some issues understanding the programming logic. “But I’m a little bit stubborn,” she says. “Whenever I try to do something and I’m not able to do it, I will try until I’m able to do it. So I studied a lot after school.”
Her introduction to Java came through a study group organized with the help of one of her professors. For six months, Groner and the others in the study group focused on Java basics.
The Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador program recognizes modern expert developers who blog; write articles; and present on topics such as containers, microservices, SQL, NoSQL, open source technologies, machine learning, and chatbots. Learn more and follow the Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassadors.
At that time, Groner lived in Vitoria, a small town in Brazil, where she became part of the local Java community. “I thought that was really cool, and it was also my first contact with a community beyond my college colleagues.”
While still at university, Groner got her first job in 2006 and stayed for two years, an experience she describes as her first contact with the real world of programming. “I didn’t know about version control. I didn’t know how to do a SQL query or even a SELECT from the database.”
Her first assignment at that job was to develop a simple Java application. “It read XML files from the FTP, parsed the XML, and saved the data to the database.”
After two years with IBM, Groner joined Citibank in 2011 as a senior developer analyst. In 2015, she became a vice president business analyst, still active in development. Now in her seventh year with Citibank, Groner moved to Florida early in 2018.
Throughout her career, Groner has been actively involved in sharing her expertise, earning her status as an Oracle Groundbreaker Ambassador through a variety of activities.
Groner also regularly speaks at a wide variety of industry events, including QCon, DevFest, Oracle Code São Paolo, and Oracle Code One.
So although Groner didn’t know what to expect when she showed up for that first computer science class, she has packed an incredible level of experience into a decade of coding, which should give you a very good idea of what to expect from her.
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Photography by Jock Fistick/Studio at Getty Images for Oracle Magazine