How did you learn about PDXWIT and what keeps you coming back?
I learned about PDXWIT about a year before a decided to make the leap and go back to school with the aim of becoming a software developer. My best friend was enrolled in a coding bootcamp at the time and invited me to a Summer Soiree. The event was a little too busy for my usual introvert taste, but I was able to find quiet spots to connect with new folks one-on-one. It was a truly welcoming environment and once I started a coding bootcamp, PDXWIT events were my go-to safe space when I felt isolated or a sense of burnout. Or let’s be honest, hungry (5 months of coding bootcamp full time == no job for 5 months == no food in my fridge).
Can you give us some background on your career in tech? Did you intend this career path?
I’ve spent my working life as a Janell-of-all-trades, but have worked on and off in tech for nearly 10 years now. Previously in marketing, operations, and business development; I never imagined I would become a software developer. I suppose I should thank myspace and its themes for giving me some early contact with html/css that probably helped me feel more comfortable when I went back to school. Shout out to my flashing, rainbow dots background!
What was your catalyst for jumping in and making the commitment to go to a boot camp? Was it a culmination of reasons or a big moment that pushed you to enroll?
I watched my best friend's fiance go through a code school three years ago where he thrived and succeeded. Two years ago, I watched my best friend do the same. Last year, I was sitting at my desk as an admin, underpaid and bored, nosing through the drawers. I found a note left by the last admin with the orientation date to the same boot camp I was considering. I looked her up on Linkedin and she was working as a software developer! I knew I had to find a new career to better provide for myself and Mustard (my amazing pup!). I put in my notice and two weeks later was my first day in code school.
Now that you have been out of boot camp, what do you do outside of your day to day work to keep growing your knowledge?
I love to read! Most people say that learning is in doing (which is probably true) but I find reading about code to be deeply satisfying. Bonus if the book has pictures! I also play tutorials in the background while I'm doing chores around the house and listen to technical podcasts. Meeting up in person and talking code with friends in incredibly useful as well.
I like to ask one broader question that digs a little deeper into who you are, so choose only one of the following and write a bit---or frame your own question and answer it for me!
My favorite place is anywhere with my dog, preferably the woods. Every weekend I hike the Columbia River Gorge or Mt Hood Wilderness areas with my dog, Mustard, and I bring a trash bag with the aim of picking up every piece of human left detritus I find along my journey. I wish more people would respect our natural areas and not turn forest hikes into a garbage dump.