At Adcombi, we like to acknowledge that our people are the company. From the CEO and advisory board to the software developers, analysts, and customer sales representatives, it is our people who enable us to deliver what we deliver, to be Adcombi. Their personalities, talents, and dedication make our company, and in this series, we highlight those people and how they contribute in their own unique way.
In this blog, we’re proud to introduce Diosa Taylor, software engineer at Adcombi, who brings diverse experience and artistic vision to her work on our code.
Diosa is a software developer living in Amsterdam. At 31, she’s travelled the world, and moved to the Netherlands following being raised in Dubai and the UK. But
, she hasn’t always been interested in software design. Instead, Diosa began her education in Art and Design at Leeds College of Art.
“I’ve always liked art, I consider myself quite a creative person. I dabbled in writing and photography up to a professional level, so that inherent creativity is there. But after pursuing it for a while, I realised I’m not really cut out for it, working in art was really starting to take the joy out of it for me, and I wanted to go back to doing it recreationally”.
Diosa changed focus and studied mathematics, graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Cardiff University.
“Maths and art were the two things I enjoyed the most at school and while studying art I started to get that ‘grass is always greener’ feeling. I missed using the other side of my brain, thinking more logically and analytically.
, Maybe I felt like I was being pulled in two different directions with my interests.”.
“Of course, now, with software design, I can finally do a bit of both – programming requires a level of creativity, sometimes even design when it comes to front end, but you also have to be analytical, so it’s a good middle-of-the-road for me”.
After graduating, Diosa took some time out to travel the world, eventually ending up living in the Netherlands.
“My parents met in Hong Kong, so I really wanted to get to know that part of the world. I went to China, learned some Chinese, and taught English for over a year and a half; it was a great experience. I liked it so much I decided to keep traveling and saved up to go to South America. I spent four months backpacking there, which was kind of the kick-off for ending up in Amsterdam.”
“I was traveling around South America, looking for what to do with my life next. I didn’t really have a career per se, and wasn’t tied down in any way – that's both liberating and stressful – and I was shopping around for what to do next. I met a lot of Dutch people on the road and they put Amsterdam on the map for me in a lot of ways. They insisted it was somewhere you could move to as a non-Dutch speaker and have career options beyond teaching ESL or waiting tables – so I went for it”.
“When I moved to the Netherlands, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I had this dual background in maths and art and wasn’t really sure where to go with either – so I signed onto an agency to help me find a career path”.
That agency saw potential for Diosa to bring her backgrounds together into front-end design, and, intrigued, she signed up for training. She started her first role with OnMarc as a Ruby on Rails developer – staying with them until 2018 when she switched to Adcombi.
In the interim, she’s followed up with further education, pursuing coding bootcamps, earning a Scrum Master certification, and diversifying her experience there.
“I didn’t choose my career, it kind of chose me, and I’m really lucky in that regard”.
Diosa lives in Amsterdam with her boyfriend, but she’s lived in Dubai, Cardiff, Ningbo (China), and spent time traveling. That love of adventure remains even though she’s been in one place for 6+ years, and Diosa spends much of her free time bouldering and rock climbing.
“We have a boulder gym next to the office, I like everything about climbing. I’ve noticed that a lot of people from STEM-based fields tend to like bouldering, maybe because to some degree, the routes are like giant puzzles you have to solve. It requires a bit of creativity whilst being physically and mentally challenging, and there’s a really nice sense of community”.
Diosa also likes to relax with thrillers and psychological thrillers, citing Alfred Hitchcock as a favorite. When she wants to relax, books like Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”, and “Everything is Fucked” are currently on her reading list.
“I was surprised how much a lot of it resonates with me, it makes you think a lot”.
“As a developer, I try to embrace the uncomfortable, something that’s quite difficult to avoid in my role anyway. The software development landscape is constantly changing and evolving so there’s always something to learn and the feeling that you’ll fall behind if you don’t.. At the same time, the way you do anything is the way you do everything – and I do see parallels in my life between climbing and coding. I constantly put myself in uncomfortable situations when I’m climbing, and I have a lot of broken bones and torn tendons to show for it. I’m afraid of falling and I’m afraid of failing, but at some point you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable or you’ll never move forward, and that applies professionally as well. ”.
Diosa onboarded with Adcombi in 2018, taking on a role as a software developer, where’s she’s been ever since.
“We didn’t have that much hierarchy to begin with, but last year the company had another re-structure where things were flattened out even more, so we don’t have junior or senior roles anymore. We’re all just developers, which is nice. No one has to feel bogged down with titles and arbitrary progression. In this line of work, your code speaks for itself. ”.
In 2021, Diosa also started working as Scrum Master at Adcombi, taking the exam and offering her insights in the team as Scrum Master, supporting the Product Owner.
“As a developer, there are always a million things to do. In such a small team where we have no real specialisations, we all do everything. Front-end, back-end, dev-ops, etc. We all get to do a bit of everything and challenge ourselves in a multitude of areas. This definitely keeps it interesting and at times humbling too. But I’m lucky to have talented people around me to learn from and develop with and everyone brings something unique to the team.”
“Let’s be honest, outside of the industry, no one is a huge fan of digital advertising. If we can do our part to make it less of a pain, and more personalised on a location-basis, those ads will be less intrusive and more relevant, and that’s a plus in my book”.
“I think Adcombi fills an interesting niche, and the fact that we run as a sort of plug-in for any DSP makes it interesting for almost any company looking to automate their programmatic campaign set up. That also means we have to constantly update our tech to keep up with the DSPs and ever-changing industry standards. One thing is for sure though, online advertising isn’t going anywhere and I’m glad I get to be a part of an industry that shows no signs of slowing down.”.
If you’d like to learn more about Diosa, see her LinkedIn here.