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Participant story: Lisa

“I want to find like-minded people who are passionate about achieving equity in education so that everyone gets a chance to learn about programming and see themselves in the tech industry.”

Smiling woman with brown eyes, a red top, and straight, long, black hair smiling at the camera

1) Tell us a little about your life.
I grew up in South Korea and when I was 15 years old, I participated in a student exchange program to study in the U.S. for one year. I decided to stay with my host family until I finished high school, and through this experience I learned to be independent, open-minded, and resilient. After receiving a bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington in Seattle, I used my love for math and numbers to work as an analyst at a consulting firm and at a large academic institution.

Now that I have been in the workforce for about 6 years, I realize the importance of having more flexibility so I can see my family more than once a year. The pandemic has made me evaluate important things in life and my goal at the moment is to do what I have been wanting to do, which is to pursue a software engineering career, and challenge myself — so here I am starting a life-changing journey at Techtonica!

2) What made you decide to pursue a software engineering career and apply for Techtonica?
I decided to apply for Techtonica because I wanted to be in a supportive environment as I pursued my career switch. In my spare time for about six months, I was learning Python — which was often recommended for financial analyst positions — to advance my career.

Although I enjoyed learning on my own, I soon realized I could enhance my learning experience with a bit more guidance and structure to avoid being lost in a sea of information. I have also experienced the importance of having mentors and supportive colleagues throughout my career, and it gives me confidence seeing that Techtonica offers such a supportive environment.

3) What are you most excited to learn while at Techtonica?
Since I am just starting my journey to become a programmer, I am excited to learn about programming in general. I can’t wait to find out what kind of projects or applications I can work on with the knowledge and experience I will gain.

I am also looking forward to challenges and opportunities to reflect on my progress as I learn and collaborate. Learning from others is something I really enjoy because it gives me more perspective on things and it is an amazing feeling to be able to share with each other what we know.

4) What do you want to contribute to or change about the tech industry?
I would like to contribute to improving and promoting diversity in the tech industry, which starts with encouraging people at a young age. I found out about computer science when I was in college, and felt discouraged because I had assumed it was a bit too late to catch up. I feel many people have the same misconceptions for different reasons and want to help them understand that the tech industry could be a good place for them.

It is wonderful that some high schools offer computer science classes these days, but I want more young students to know and learn about it because we live in a world where technology plays such a big role. I want to find like-minded people who are passionate about achieving equity in education so that everyone gets a chance to learn about programming and see themselves in the tech industry.

5) What’s your dream project?
My dream project is to build something that will allow people to make wholesale purchases together based on their location and needs. As I started living on a fixed income, I realized budgeting is extremely important and one of the ways to save money was by buying wholesale products for a lower price per unit. However, I sometimes ended up spending too much money upfront and not having enough room to store products in my apartment. In addition, I ran into problems like not being able to use the products by the expiration date, and I am sure there are people out there who also run into these problems when buying in bulk. I think it would be helpful to have a platform where people can coordinate wholesale purchases because everyone will pay less for products and don’t have to buy too much. This is just an idea I have and I am not sure how this will be executed, but it will help people financially and help reduce waste.



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Free tech training and job placement for local women and non-binary adults in need.