“I absolutely LOVE what I do. I’ve always wanted a job where I can use both my left brain and my right brain. Coding appeals to both because I can be creative and logical in how I solve problems every day.“
Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.
I start my day with a workout at 6 AM to get energized and focused for the day. I get to the office around 8:40 and catch up on emails, go over code reviews, and plan for the day during the first 30 minutes. Depending on the day, I might have some SCRUM ceremonies, but a majority of my time is spent working on my tasks that have been assigned to me for the current sprint. On days I don’t have meetings, I’ll spend around 8 hours coding. When I go home, I’ll spend some time working on side projects or learning C++.
How do you stay passionate in your career?
I’ve been at this job for about 6 months and have learned something new every single day. So, it’s easy to stay passionate when you’re learning about cool technology and tools. Additionally, I absolutely LOVE what I do. I’ve always wanted a job where I can use both my left brain and my right brain. Coding appeals to both because I can be creative and logical in how I solve problems every day.
Did you have a traditional path into tech (i.e.: CS/IT degree transitioned into tech job)?
I did graduate with a computer science degree, but how I got there wasn’t exactly traditional. I started college studying Economics and pre-med because I wanted to go to med school. Around sophomore year, I ran into a family friend who runs a film festival for Carnegie Mellon University. She needed a web developer and told me to apply for the internship. I had not written a single line of code in my whole life, but I applied anyway and she gave me a chance. The first task she gave me was to change a heading on an HTML page and I remember being so terrified of not being able to do it. After intense online research and help from a friend, I did it. It sounds like nothing now, but I was so proud of myself in that moment. As the internship progressed, the tasks got harder and I felt increasingly challenged. Every single time, I’d go home with the list of things I needed to do feeling incredibly worried that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish them. But, every single time, I did them. By the end of the internship, I had built a website from scratch and left with a new sense of confidence that has helped me so much in my career. It was this experienced that showed me that computer science was an option for me. So, I took the pre-requisites and added the computer science major. 2 years later, I graduated and now, I’m a software engineer! 18 year old me would never have thought she’d be doing this now.
Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?
Postcast app, Calendar, and Notes to help me keep track of all my wild ideas.
It’s common knowledge that women often face obstacles in the tech industry based on their gender. Have you ever had to deal with this type of experience and if so how did you handle it?
Once, a classmate told me “you probably got the job because you’re a girl” as if it would be SO crazy that I got it because I’m good at what I do. In college, I definitely experienced some sexism, but now, I’m grateful I work in an environment in which I don’t have to deal with that. Imposter syndrome still affects me sometimes, but over time, I’ve come to know my value and learned from female role modes.
What’s your favorite thing about being a woman in tech?
I love the community we’ve built! Like this one! I love that I can reach out to other women in tech if I ever need help or am doubting myself.
How have you given back to the WIT community?
I’ve mentored a few people which has always been a rewarding experience. I’ve also been volunteering with RedChairPGH for the past few years. It started when I was in college so it’s been amazing to see how much the RedChairPGH community has grown since then.
What is a piece of advice you would give to others wanting to or currently pursuing a career in tech?
Be fearless! You will face plenty of challenges, but always know that you’ll get through it and that it’s always okay to ask for help.
Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past year.
I graduated this year so that was a pretty big milestone! A lot of those computer science classes were incredibly challenging and getting that degree felt so good because I know how hard I worked.