What is your current professional role and how did you get here?
I’m an iOS developer at a small-ish firm based out of Richmond, Virginia.
This is the fourth “pivot” of my career. I started off doing C++ for slot machines, then C# for client applications, then C# for the web, and now Swift/Objective-C.
To get here, it was a combination of tremendous luck, knowing lots of people, and having confidence in my own ability to learn. When I took my job, I had dabbled quite a lot in both Objective-C and Swift, but I had never had a job doing either. A friend was looking to hire another developer, and though I wasn’t terribly comfortable putting my name out there, I did.
What was the first app you worked on and what did it do?
A tremendously crummy app called “Fast Text”. It allowed you to set up a series of canned text messages, and favorite recipients, so you could very quickly send text messages to family or friends.
What went well? What could have gone better?
I shipped! When I started writing the app, I didn’t know if I would ever be able to finish it. But I was persistent, and fought through my problems, and eventually made it into the store.
The app was not visually appealing–it was all vanilla UIKit. Furthermore, though I charged $0.99 for it, I didn’t make very much money at all, but I did eventually break even. (I spent money on an app to help make the icon, and the Apple developer account.)
At App Camp, we emphasize that it’s important to have interests outside of tech and to take breaks from looking at screens. What are some of your interests outside of tech? What do you do when you need to take a break from work?
I love to spend time with my family, and go to college football games. I’m also obsessed with cars, and probably spend entirely too much time washing ours. 😉
Why do you support the goals of App Camp?
Because it makes me sick how few women and minorities there are in my line of work. Having a team made of diverse backgrounds makes for diverse opinions, which makes for a well-thought product. Everyone benefits by a more diverse team.
So many women and girls I know would probably be excellent developers, if they were given the opportunity to do so, without being beaten down by a system that is built to discourage them.
Furthermore, I know quite a few women who work with/for App Camp, and every one of them is an amazing human.
What do you recommend to those who want to support more diversity in tech?
Believe the experiences of those that are unlike you. Trust their opinions. Escalate their voices. Learn from your mistakes. Always try to get better. Help out where you can, in whatever way(s) you can.
How can technology be a force for good?
By connecting people. It amazes me every day that the whole of human knowledge is in my pocket. Nearly every family member of mine is a video call away. Technology can connect families across vast geographical devices, and those with like interests across the globe.
Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.