1. What were you doing before you became a Software Engineer?

My career prior to Ada was in sports marketing. My last “real” job was marketing and promotions assistant at the Orange Bowl Committee in Miami. However, immediately before Ada I was working random jobs (i.e. tutoring, retail, and a fill in front desk job) to pay the bills while I followed the trail that learning to code would inevitably lead me to. Working in the sports industry was cool and I got to do and see a lot of interesting things, but it seemed something was missing. After leaving the Orange Bowl Committee, I created a side project for myself which included learning the basics of HMTL and CSS and creating a personal branding website. What I discovered was I really enjoyed the entire creative process and coding was a really interesting part of that process that I’d never really been exposed to. I remember getting lost in it for hours and before I knew it a new passion was formed.

2. Where are you currently working and what do you do?

Currently I’m getting to combine my passion for technology, art, and culture working at Artsy as a web engineer. Artsy is an online platform that enables individuals to discover and collect art. We are on a mission to make all the world’s art accessible to anyone with an internet connection. As a web engineer on the collector experience team, I get to contribute directly to the beautiful and intuitive site you see when you visit artsy.net.

3. What’s your favorite part of your job?

Ah! I have a few favorites!

1) Use things I’ve worked on.
I had a defining moment this spring when I was attending an art fair and found a feature that I built to be really helpful. I realized that I find it especially satisfying to be able to work on a product that I use.

2) Working with inspiring people
The people that I work with are really inspiring. I particularly enjoy the fact that engineers at Artsy aren’t just engineers. They are makers, artists, entrepreneurs, etc. It’s awesome to be able to work with and learn from such talented, helpful, and compassion people.

3) Learning about art and artists
I can’t express how often I find myself discovering a new artist or work while testing something I’ve implemented.

4. Describe a typical day in your role. 

I generally start my work day at 10-10:30. After settling in (a.k.a. getting coffee), I pick some music. Having adequate tunes is a must. Then I might review where I left of the day before. This could include reviewing a pending pull request, asking a designer or project manager questions about a specific requirements, or submitting my updates to our standup bot. After that I generally see where I am in terms of scope and timeline for the current project I’m working on and create a plan of attack for what I’ll get done for that day. I’m queen of checklists…love ‘em. There is something so satisfying about be able to cross things off plus it makes remembering what you did the day before a lot easier. The rest of my day is spent coding, reviewing other’s pull requests, meetings here and there, getting help when I need it and sometimes getting distracted looking at the beautiful artwork on our site. Lately, I’ve been making an effort to peak at pull requests that aren’t submitted to me. It’s been a good way for me to learn different ways of implementing things as well as what others are working on.

5. Any advice you have for others looking to enter the tech industry as a programmer.

Initially it’s going to be hard because programming is hard. Don’t be discouraged! Allow curiosity and discovery to take over in moments of doubt. Trust that your aha moment will come! Find the aspect of it you are passionate about and let that drive you. For example, I get really excited when I can think of an idea and make it happen via code.

Also track your progress, even the seemingly small things. As you are growing, you are constantly moving the marker forward and this can seem like an eternally unobtainable voyage with no progress, but you are progressing. Sometimes remembering your starting point or how much you’ve learned in a few months can shine light on that.