Since I can remember, I've been passionate about making an impact on the world. Through that lens I discovered neuroscience research. I've loved the journey, even with its downs. Working in research gave me 6 years of best-in-class problem solving, critical thinking and resilience when working towards a goal.
What became apparent, however, was that I needed to see the impact of my work and to work in a team setting, so I decided to leave research to pursue web development. In research, you would work alone for weeks before seeing the result of a single experiment. However with web development, I can be a part of a design sprint, work a few hours and make significant progress on an application or idea. That is life changing! I have not looked back since.
Now here I am, honing my skills and searching for problems to solve that resonate with me personally and will leave my mark on the world. I'll never stop learning, building and growing.
Why did you leave research?
What I figured out as a graduate student was that working in science was so much more than just running experiments and getting data. To be successful in research you need to know as much as possible in your field and you need be exceptional at writing grants to fund your research.
I could not imagine dedicating so much of my being into something so narrow, there was so much more I wanted to learn and explore about the world. Also, because of how narrow research is I had a lot of trouble seeing the impact my work was having on the world at large. It is very important to me to always be learning and to have an impact, and research could not fulfill that for me.
Why front-end development? If your focus is to build, why not focus on back-end?
While building/creating is incredibly important to me, I find it equally important that there be a visual representation of the problem, work and result. In my experience, front-end development is much more visual work and better suited towards what I find satisfying.
Further, I find communication a necessary ingredient for a happy and successful life. By building and creating content on the web, I can easily communicate my intent, thoughts and solution to a broad audience quickly.
Your path to programming is a little non-traditional. What makes you think you'll succeed?
My greatest strength, and arguably weakness, is that I am and need to be constantly learning. If I feel I have mastered something or there is no further room for growth, I quickly become bored with it.
While I am at the beginning of my adventure in programming, I have so far found that there is nearly unlimited room for improving ones code, growing as a problem solver and there is always something new to learn. I can confidently say that If I dedicate the rest of my waking life to programming, I won't become close to knowing it all and I find that invigorating.
Further, I find solving problems and puzzles greatly satisfying. I've so far treated coding as solving a bunch of mini-problems/puzzles and find that I'm always motivated to push forward and work on the next one. And unlike a scientific experiment, there are so many different ways to solve a coding problem and I find that creative aspect to be incredibly rewarding.
What does working as a team mean to you?
It means working cohesively and collaboratively as a group to solve a problem. I find myself working best in collaboration, to have other great minds I can talk to when I'm stuck and draw inspiration from or to share my process and solution with which often leads to learning something new along the way.
Aside from solving problems, I really enjoy the 'team' and friendly dynamic that manifests when a group of people work together. While I certainly want to learn and build, developing relationships and interacting with others is also very important to me. I find that a lot personal and emotional growth comes from developing these close bonds in a team environment.