“When people in school were worrying about their clothes, hair and the opposite sex, I was worried about coding, the Internet and social media.”
Years in Industry?
I made my first website when I was 12, so I’ve been in tech since 2007. Professionally, I started building websites in 2012, so I’ve been working in tech for 3 years.
Who or what inspired your career in tech?
My family was very poor, so I never had Internet when I was a child. But, when I started middle school, we were able to afford it and I became fascinated by this virtual world living in my computer. I wanted to know how everything worked. I later found out that code was the answer. I’ve been coding ever since.
What’s been your best hack ever?
My biggest ‘hack’ has been not caring about the trends of my peers and not getting caught up trying to be popular. When people in school were worrying about their clothes, hair and the opposite sex, I was worried about coding, the Internet and social media. This saved me loads of time and let me do the things that were important to me.
What has been your greatest career challenge and how have you handled it?
I knew I wanted to be a website designer and code beautiful interfaces and pages, but after taking a few graphic design classes, I realized that I wasn’t a good designer. I learned quickly that I was more attracted to code, particularly back-end code. So, I stuck with what came naturally to me. Now I can build applications and features that amaze people.
What is your biggest career success to date?
My biggest success so far, besides graduating high school early, winning a scholarship for my blog, getting a degree and a job before graduation, would be growing my network. I am an introvert, so being around people drains my energy. Despite that, I’ve learned how to have conversations with CEOs and start-ups on the other side of the country. Great opportunities have come my way by having these conversations.
Who are your role models?
My mom, who is a hard working, single mother of 4 kids and who has done everything she in her power to raise us well. She taught me that in order to get what I want, I need to work for it. No one is going to hold my hand and walk me across life.
If you could go back in time, what’s one tip you’d give your teenage self?
Stop giving up on those projects because you can’t figure out how to make the features work. Stop wasting time on WeeWorld and FarmVille.
What do you do when you’re not kicking butt at work?
I like to read, explore, travel, learn more code, hang with my family, volunteer, make YouTube videos and relax.
Flats, heels or kicks?
Kicks, for sure. It’s hard to walk for hours or to bike without them. I was never a girl who would wear heels, but I do have 2 pair– one for when I need to wear business dress and the other for the rare occasion that I need to dress up.
Best career advice book? The Google Resume by Gayle Laakmann McDowell, which I read once a year to keep my mind on track, and Start byJon Acuff. He teaches us how to be awesome in our careers and in our life.
Who are the women in tech that you most admire and why?
I’m in love with Marissa Mayer. You can’t beat being Google’s first female engineer! And I admire Cassidy Williams, a software engineer and developer evangelist at Clarifai. She’s a rising star these days and I love it that she’s around my age.