Meet Angela, The Model Programmer

“You always assume coding is for nerdy kids in t-shirts, but just try it out. The first step is usually the hardest.”

Meet Angela, a Computer Science student at Brown University who has also graced the runways of New York Fashion Week.

Why did you want to learn about computer programming?

During my senior year of high school, I wanted seek out more opportunities where I would be exposed to the different areas within technology. Tech is such a broad term that I wanted to hone in on its different aspects.

I remember dreading going to the CodeNow workshop because it was one of those cold autumn days where I just didn’t want to leave the house. But once I got to the workshop, everyone was so enthusiastic and welcoming that I managed to get out of my funk and actively participate.

I was really glad that I went because I also got to chat with someone who has actual industry experience. The trainer who taught my group discussed, with my group, what it was like going to school at Stanford and working in startups. We talked about career paths, as well as the type of work that he was doing at the time.

What has been your biggest “a-ha!” moment?

With computer science, there is never just one particular “a-ha” moment. You get a lot of “a-ha” moments that combine into one. For instance, when you debug a code or figure out how to put an algorithm into the code, that’s an “a-ha”. The big moments happen when you connect all the parts. With coding, you think like a robot so special moments are made up of everything that you do. When you debug something that has been a problem for a week, that’s an “a-ha moment”. But these special moments can also be little things, such as changing a color, that have the potential of adding up.

“CodeNow has opened countless doors for me. Not only did it introduce me to the Bloomberg Technology Scholarship, it has also helped me solidify my career path. I became more sure of my ambitions in technology through CodeNow and even learned to combine my love for both CS and fashion!”

How has your attitude towards technology changed through the years?

At the CodeNow workshop, I got to learn coding through games. That was a great way to start because learning the logic behind coding is mind blowing. You never think about these things until you have to start from scratch. During my first year at Brown, we did the rock-paper-scissors exercise, which was something I had already done at the workshop so that also gave me a lot of confidence.

I have also learned that when you run into bugs or even when you run into any obstacle, you just have to keep the end goal in mind. Studying computer science is difficult, but very few people have this opportunity. And as a woman in CS, I want to motivate other girls to reach their full potential. Most people shut the door to CS before they even know what it is.

What have you been up to since CodeNow?

Since the workshop, I successfully applied to Brown, where I am currently a computer science major and Bloomberg Technology Scholarship recipient. I wouldn’t have applied for the scholarship if it wasn’t for CodeNow, and it has changed my life. I also got a chance to intern at Bloomberg Philanthropies for the summer, where my team’s focus was on charitable giving and how we can improve that through tech.

This is not related to computer programming, but this year, I also walked at New York Fashion Week. I did some modeling work in high school, but stopped because I wanted to focus on getting into Brown. I figured that since I achieved my goal of getting into Brown, I should give modeling another try.

What would you tell someone who is interested in learning computer programming?

Try it out! The first step is usually the hardest. There’s such a stigma with computer programming sometimes. You always assume it’s for nerdy kids in t-shirts, but just try it out. If you reject the idea of starting, you close the door before even getting there. Be adventurous and try new things with coding. Try different languages and try different platforms. Do it all.


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