Music Behind the Tech: Laura Santamaria

Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking to unlock creativity.

In this series, called Music Behind the Tech, we’ll help you get to know Rackspace employees, their stories and the relationship between the music they love and their work. We’ve even embedded their playlists at the bottom of each post. Rock on!

Music is a powerful thing — just ask Rackspace software developer Laura Santamaria, who told us the music she listens to can affect the way she approaches coding and documentation.

“Sometimes, if I pick the wrong music for what I’m working on, things can come out a bit strange,” she said.

Laura hasn’t always been a computer programmer. She’s had a variety of roles, including a stint as an educator at a science museum and an editor of science questions for standardized tests. But after learning the programming language Python, Laura found herself hosting a Women Who Code meetup in 2015 at a Rackspace office in Austin. Call it serendipity or something else, but a year later, she was hired on at Rackspace to write technical documentation.

Laura said it was her experience with Python that ultimately led to her current role, and today, she works on a support system for our customer portals and aims to deliver a consistent experience, regardless of the product customers are using.

“I moved over to Rackspace experience design as a software developer for our design system,” Laura said. “Now I help build out the automation pipeline and try to bring in more tools and backend coding where I can.”

But if she’s writing documentation or code, Laura is always listening — and sometimes dancing — to music. And, as she’ll tell you, she has to be cognizant of the music she’s listening to because it can affect her output.

“In some cases, the documentation I’m working on might be very technical, very straightforward and matter of fact,” Laura said. “Or, in another case, the code might be very clean.”

Depending on the situation, Laura will listen to something completely different if need be.

“If it’s a little more nuanced, it’s a little more creative in how I solve some type of problem in the code.,” she said.

Laura’s Liner Notes

We end each of these profiles with some musical questions so you can get to know the Rackers a little bit better — here are Laura’s answers and her specialized playlist.

Over the ear headphones or ear buds? Over the ear headphones

Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Pandora

Beatles or Rolling Stones? That’s a great question… Rolling Stones.

Biggie or Tupac? Pass  

Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong? Miles Davis

Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash? Johnny Cash

Deadmau5 or Danger Mouse? I have no idea what those are.

Song that is stuck in your head? OK Go, The One Moment 

Best concert you’ve ever attended? The best musical I’ve ever attended was the Phantom of the Opera in New York City. It was awesome. 

Stay tuned for our next Music Behind the Tech profile and visit Rackspace to find out more about our experts and the ways they’re helping customers tackle their toughest IT challenges. And whether you like smooth jazz or hard rock, if you’re looking to start your own career at Rackspace, be sure to apply online today.

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