Meet the Grafana Labs team: Nicole Van Der Hoeven, Developer Advocate at k6

Originally posted here.

As Grafana Labs continues to grow, we’d like you to get to know the team members who are working on the cool stuff you’re using. Check out the latest of our Friday team profiles.

Meet Nicole!

Name: Nicole van der Hoeven

photo of Nicole

Current location/time zone

I currently live in Maastricht, in the Netherlands. I moved here with my husband four years ago from Melbourne, Australia.

What do you do at Grafana Labs?

I’m a Developer Advocate at k6, but I’m not actually a developer — I’m a performance tester! I guess there’s no such thing as a Performance Tester Advocate? My job is part engineering, part content creation: I write load testing scripts and code, but I also write blog posts, produce videos, and give presentations. I found out I was joining Grafana Labs a few months ago when k6 was acquired, but I was happy to join the team! I’ve met some fun and motivated people at Grafana Labs that I’m eager to collaborate with.

What open source projects do you contribute to?

I’m a budding developer and still learning the ins and outs of social coding, but some things I’ve contributed to recently are a chaos engineering extension for k6 (created by my colleague, the talented Simon Aronsson), an application called Poké API that I’ve added chaos experiments to, and a Python script for pushing my Kindle highlights to my note-taking app of choice, Obsidian.

What are your GitHub and Twitter handles?

GitHub: nicolevanderhoeven

Twitter: n_vanderhoeven

What do you like to do in your free time?

I play Dungeons & Dragons eight hours a week, take a ridiculous amount of notes on everything, and vlog about my (pre-COVID) travels.

Battle map on a TV lying on a table, from a Dungeons & Dragons game

A battle map in one of my Dungeons & Dragons games.

What’s your favorite new gadget or tech toy?

My new Rødecaster Pro, an audio mixer that has quickly become an essential part of my audio and video production process. It takes up a huge amount of precious real estate on my desk, but it is absolutely worth it!

Bird’s eye view of Nicole’s current desk

My current desk setup, including the Rødecaster Pro peeking out from underneath the laptop in the upper right.

What’s the best part of your job?

I got into Developer Relations and advocacy in general because I realized that, as a performance testing consultant, I was being asked the same questions and solving the same problems. So I started to share my experience online, and I’ve found that significantly more efficient. Why explain something repeatedly to one person at a time, on the spot, when you could post a more considered explanation online and potentially help an unlimited amount of people? A large part of my job is simplifying technical concepts and making it accessible to beginners, and I love being able to help others by creating the content I looked for when I was a beginner, too.

Here’s one of my YouTube videos:

What’s the last thing you binge-watched?

I have binge-watched the entire two campaigns of Critical Role, a livestream of a Dungeons & Dragons game with a bunch of voice actors, which is over 1000 hours of watch time. Totally worth it!

What superpowers do you have?

I speak several languages: Tagalog (my native language), English, Dutch, Spanish, Esperanto, German, and French — in that order and to varying degrees. I am learning and have learned more, but don’t yet feel confident enough to claim to “speak” them! I choose travel destinations based on how interested I am in learning the local language.

Nicole wearing a shirt that says “I speak Esperanto. What’s your superpower?

What’s your Zoom virtual background and why?

I don’t use virtual backgrounds. The thing I like most about video is that it’s the most honest form of expression: writing, podcasting, and photography can all be edited far more easily. I like that my home office gives clues about who I am and what I like, and I would never want to hide that — mess and all!