So, how long have you been coding?
I hadn’t been seriously programming until a few weeks before I took my programming class, which started in the beginning of last August. Before that, I grew up programming my Neopets world with HTML, and a little bit of CSS where I made really cool layouts for my pets. After that I got into making layouts for MySpace and later Tumblr. Then I started dabbling in Python until I took the bootcamp.
Wow. You’ve done a lot of coding. What are all the programming languages do you know and are learning?
That’s really cool that you want to learn Ruby too. What are your favorite things about programming?
To me it’s a puzzle. I love it when you finally figure out a problem and you’re like “AHA!” It’s an amazing feeling and really rewarding. Plus, you get to make a bunch of really cool things.
You work on a lot of projects while in the coding bootcamp. What software projects are you working on?
One of the things I’m working on is a gift exchange. I have an online group chat with people from all over the world, but we can’t meet. We like doing Secret Santa so I wanted to make something easy to use with better UX (User Experience) than the ones that are out there.
Another project I’ve taken a break from, but plan on getting back to is my final project for the code camp. It is an online version of Morals, a board game about hunting for mushrooms.
I’m also going to be joining a team in working on a project to develop a site that is the Netflix for books. You’ll be able to state your interests such as previous books that you liked and it will give you recommendations on other books.
How was your team founded?
We met at Startup Weekend.
All of your projects are really exciting. Let’s talk about how programming has helped you.
It’s given me another way to express my creativity. I think everyone has those “Oh my God, this would be such a good idea!” moments and it’s cool to be like “Oh wait! I can do that because I know how to program!”
I totally understand those “Aha!” moments. Has programming also helped your critical thinking and decision-making skills?
Yeah, I think it has. It’s helped me with strategizing my day-to-day problems. Figuring out how to solve programming puzzles has helped me step back and be like “Okay, what are the steps I need to take to solve this problem?” even with things that aren’t necessarily programming. It’s helped me become a better problem solver.
That’s so cool. These are reasons everyone should learn how to code. Has programming also helped you set your goals?
Yeah. The biggest one I can think of is my career goals. I have set goals for 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years in the future. I think before I was like, “Yeah, I’ll just do it.” But now I think it’s helped me kind of be like “Okay, I need to think of steps.” It’s helped put down a foundation of how I’m going to get there as opposed to waiting for things to happen.
It sounds like you’ve learned other skills from coding. Do you also think knowing software is an important skill to have to get job now, or when you go to college, or get an internship?
I think learning programming is really important today because I feel like technology is the biggest growing industry. It is growing so fast and I think technology is the future. Even if it’s not what you want to do with your life, I think it’s a really important skill. For example, if you want to be a teacher, programming will help you do that because you can make a website or app to teach people online.
You’re really passionate about it. That’s awesome. In the future, will you use coding in your job?
Definitely. I want to work in a Dev Shop. I’m still scared to sign up for any jobs or anything because of my age. But I want to eventually get the courage to join a Dev Team. I’m building steps by joining the team I created at Startup Weekend. We’re called Book Dragon.
This is an easy question, but I’ll ask it anyway: Will you pursue a career in software/programming?
Yes, I will.
Since you want to go into software, how are you preparing for a career in this field?
I’m going to be working on Book Dragon. I don’t think it’s going to be serious. It’ll be more like a fun project. I don’t think we’re going to make any money off it. I might also want to start my own Dev Team because I inherited my mom’s entrepreneurship.
Those are awesome dreams. What do you want the Dev Team to be like?
I’d like the Dev Team to be have more experienced people and have a lot of internships or a lot of junior developers. I want it to be collaborative and have everyone improve each other’s skills. I want it to be very fun and to have a culture of helping everyone.
Thank you very much for talking to me Chelsea! You are a great example of girls getting into coding! Keep up the good work!
Margaux Hutchins is an engineering intern at WorkingIt.com and CERM Academy. You can share your story with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.