January 09, 2016
I’m currently enrolled in the 30th cohort of MakerSquare, in Austin, Texas. MakerSquare is a three-month full-time career accelerator for software engineering, with locations in LA, San Francisco, and Austin. I’ll be using this space to catalogue my progress through the weeks of the program. I figure it’s best to start with some context — so I’ll begin with a brief post on my background that led me to this unique education experience.
I graduated from American University, in Washington, DC, with a B.A. in Public Communication, and minors in Graphic Design and Chinese. (I spent my final semester in an immersion program in Beijing — check out my travel blog!) During that time, I interned, worked part-time, and eventually returned and came on-board full-time at The Arc of the United States. I sought out The Arc specifically, because the mission to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in myriad ways is close to my heart. I have a sibling with Angelman Syndrome. Growing up with her was incredibly formative and special, and I wanted to use my skills to support The Arc’s mission.
At The Arc, I was incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute and work in various different areas, including public relations, marketing, brand implementation and support, collateral design and production, social strategy, maintenance of several websites, design and development of several event websites, and email marketing.
Seriously — I was so lucky to have the opportunity to touch so many different areas of the organization.
After several years, I had gravitated toward the online/digital side, and wanted to work with other people doing work in that area — particularly on the more technical side — so that I could collaborate with and learn from them. I arrived at Social Driver, as a Technical Project Manager — I could make use of all of my skills to bridge the gap between the production team (design and development) and the client. I learned so many valuable things in this position — so many that it would be better served with a separate post — but ultimately I found that I felt I needed a greater degree of technical expertise to do the job the way I wanted to.
So I needed a change, and ultimately I arrived at two different realizations: After nearly eight years in DC, I want to be closer to home, and I want to develop a more solid technical foundation. (It’s so funny to read the new year reflection I wrote for last year. It took all of 2015, but I made a decision and have made a serious life change).