1. What were you doing before you became a Software Engineer?
Before doing the whole software engineer thing I lived in Ohio and worked at Procter & Gamble for 5 years. I was a product designer/researcher and did lots of consumer, design, and quality work for the Always brand. You know, pads and pantiliners. I know a lot of random facts about periods. That stuff just flows right outta me. 😉 While the work was definitely different and lent itself to unique discussions, I didn’t feel creatively challenged. Once admitted to ADA, I made the scariest and best decision of my life to quit my job and move to Seattle.

2. Where are you currently working and what do you do?
I’m currently a UI (User Interface) Engineer at Meetup. Meetup is a website that enables people to do what they love with others in their local area. I started teaching myself to code when I was a kid but got more into it as an adult. Attending Meetups got me to seriously consider a career in tech. I moved to NYC to work at Meetup after finishing ADA.

I work on a product called Meetup Pro, which gives bigger organizations the tools to build community through Meetup. My work involves building the user interface, the consumer facing part of the website that people use and see every day. Check out www.meetup.com/pro to see something I’ve built.

3. What’s your favorite part of your job?
Coding is not only a way tell the computer what to do, but a creative outlet for me. I really enjoy the process of getting a problem or feature, figuring out how to architect it, and writing the code. I also love that my job requires me to be constantly learning. It’s impossible to know everything in software engineering. Since technology advances and languages change constantly, you’re forced to learn to do the job. It’s challenging but gratifying to learn something new and apply it.

4. Describe a typical day in your role. 

Here’s what a daily schedule would look like:
– Arrive at Meetup HQ 10-10:30am.
– Grab some cereal from the kitchen and eat breakfast.
– Look through any pending code reviews or tasks that are in progress. Finish up coding tasks or follow up on emails/slack messages.
– Standup at 11 am. This is a team meeting that happens three times a week. Everyone on the team gives a status update on what they’re currently working on and if there is anything blocking them from completing their work.
– Code while listening to some good music.
– Walk to SoHo with coworkers to grab some lunch.
– Code some more, either on my own or with a coworker.
– Do a design review of the feature I just completed.
– Go home at around 6:30-7pm.

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

Pick a language and stick with it. There are lots of resources out there to help you learn how to code. It can be overwhelming and a little daunting. If you’re just getting started, pick one thing and focus on it. Once you’ve got the basics down, learning other concepts and languages comes easier. One of the hardest parts is just getting started.

There is no ‘typical’ programmer. There are people from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences that get into this field. You don’t have to be a nerd, math enthusiast, or any other programmer stereotype to excel at coding. Nobody knows everything. You have something to contribute.