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Meet Leafwell’s Front-End Developer, Maria Nogueira

Maria Noguiera Leafwell employee

We sat down with Maria Nogueira, one of Leafwell’s front-end developers, to learn more about developers’ role in shaping the cannabis industry.

In this exclusive look behind the Leafwell curtain, Nogueira walks us through a day in the life of cannabis’s tech world, explains how she finds value and meaning in Leafwell’s mission and provides valuable advice for women aspiring to work as developers.

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What Is a Front-End Developer?

Front-end developers work on designing various aspects of a company’s user interface. That could encompass applications or software, but what I work on for Leafwell, specifically, is the website.

What Does a Typical Day Look Like for You?

We have a lot of requests we need to handle. We work on implementing new features and ensuring that our website is live, kicking, and attracting people to learn with us and join the Leafwell community.

But front-end development involves a lot of technical work that requires us to keep up with the newest technology to ensure that we are fast, always getting better, and compliant with all of the new legacies that Google and Apple are trying to put in the markets. So there’s a lot of research as well.

It’s not only coding. I wish it were because it’s fun when you are coding and doing what you love. But it’s also about a lot of research as well.

So, I start my days reading the dev news. It’s something that I know is very geeky — I should be learning about politics and stuff. But instead, I’m learning about what’s coming up with artificial intelligence and so on.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Working in the Cannabis Industry?

I think that the funniest part of working in the cannabis industry is that here, in Portugal, that’s not very common. So, I have had a lot of success saying that I work on a project that is related to cannabis and is trying to promote its use.

And when I develop new features or add new pages, I always read the content we publish. I’m not the one writing the content, of course, but I have access to it.

What you can learn about this industry and what cannabis can do fascinates me the most. The funniest part is that it makes me cool.

How Did You End up Working for Leafwell?

Although I have always been very open to the subject of cannabis and always found it very interesting, I was not specifically looking to work on a cannabis project. I was looking for something that made more sense to me.

I used to work for a lot of telcos (telecommunications companies), which is fine, but you don’t get to see yourself making a difference in the world. And I know this is something everybody says — everybody wants to make a difference in the world — but yeah! Everybody wants to make a difference in the world.

And I always thought, ‘OK, so I am a developer. I do code. But does that mean I will always be a code monkey?’ So, I started looking and sending some resumes.

Then João contacted me and said, ‘Oh, I think I have something interesting for you. We are working with a company that provides a telemedicine service for medical cannabis consultations.’

I thought, ‘That’s so cool. That’s so young. That’s so fresh.’ This was an opportunity to apply my technical skills and help others — not only providing patients with a way to feel better by using cannabis responsibly but also to learn a lot.

The website and the content that we provide actually help people understand the complexity of the cannabis world. And I am contributing to that, even if it’s in a coding way.

Any Advice for Aspiring Developers Out There?

Never give up. Never surrender. Development work can be fun, but keeping an always-learning mentality is essential.

Don’t assume that you know something because you took a course or attended a workshop, and that’s it because it’s not true. My main advice is to keep updating and always keep an open mind.

If you are used to doing certain things one way, you will do it differently in several years. And that’s it. That’s the magic of this type of work.

So, keep always an open mind. It’s going to take a lot of work. It will be different from a routine because every day is new and has new challenges, but it can be very fulfilling.

You have to be OK with saying, ‘I don’t know, and I can learn about it with somebody younger, older, or whatever.’ Do it. Learn, learn, learn.

What’s It Like Being a Woman in Tech?

Being a woman in the tech world could come with challenges. Not here in Leafwell because I feel very respected, and I’ve never felt that my value was misinterpreted or undermined because of my gender. But I have felt that way in the past.

Sometimes, it’s not because they assume that you know less. It’s because you are going to work with a lot of guys, and you are going to be a minority. And you have to get used to it and sometimes be looser and conquer that brotherhood.

Giving a female perspective brings a lot of nice things. So, I don’t have any specific advice because I don’t want to assume that there’s a problem currently. After all, there is not — at least not in my reality, and I know I am very privileged.

But get used to a lot of dude talk.

Final Thoughts?

My favorite thing about Leafwell is the people. I used to work for several companies — this is not my first. And I’ve never seen so much diversity as I do here.

Nobody feels less valued because of where they came from, how they choose to look, or the way that they talk.

I’m from a different continent, so I don’t know 90% of the people who work here, but I talk to them daily. When we speak, it feels like we’ve known each other forever. So, the environment is really, really cool. And it’s something that I value in this company.

Leafwell is the first company I’ve worked for that doesn’t just say things to say things. It does them. You can find many good people here; they’re all so different, and it’s beautiful.

This interview has been lightly edited for concision and readability. Stay tuned for more Behind the Leafwell Curtain interviews, and check out our patient stories series on YouTube to hear medical marijuana patients talk about their journeys with cannabis in their own words.

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