Isis Anchalee, Software Engineer || Mind Makers || Uber || Women Who Code

Isis Anchalee

Software Engineer || Mind Makers || Uber || Women Who Code

“I first taught myself how to code when I was 8 years old by right clicking ‘view source’ and reverse engineering other people’s websites to build my own Neopets guild websites in HTML/CSS. For many years I didn’t realize that coding could lead to a real career. I didn’t even know what a startup was until I moved to Berkeley. I was a biology major until making the decision to drop out of school to teach myself to code, after being inspired by a friend of mine who also was self taught. After studying coding full-time on my own for a year in JavaScript, I ended up attending AppAcademy to learn Ruby on Rails which shortly after lead to landing a software engineering position at OneLogin, an enterprise identity management company. While I was there I pioneered their style guide, built core end-user experience features and refactored a lot of code. After moving on from OneLogin I decided to attend the iOS bootcamp Codepath, and ended up landing a role as a software engineer at Uber on the Driver Experience team.”

“At Codepath, in a class surrounded by mostly senior engineers, my project Echo ended up placing #1 in the public demo day. It’s s a dance journal for iOS. It empowered dancers to track their growth, and to get personalized, real-time feedback from respected teachers in the community. Dancers could upload videos of their dances, and request a teacher to give them feedback. It then enters “feedback mode” where the teacher can press down a button to pause the video, and start recording live audio/location pulse tap gestures over the current frame of the video to then send back to the user.”

Last year, Isis started the popular #iLookLikeAnEngineer campaign. “I was featured in a recruiting campaign by my previous employer OneLogin. Shortly after the ads went up, my ad started generating a lot of unwanted attention. Strangers on the internet were dissecting my credibility as a ‘Platform Engineer’ with judgements based solely on my physical appearance and gender. I responded by authoring the Medium post “You May Have Seen My Face on BART” which lead to the creation of the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer. Since its creation, #iLookLikeAnEngineer has been shared 250k+ times with support from people like Melinda Gates, Scott Kelly(in SPACE), Chelsea Clinton, Elizabeth Holmes, Ellen Pao, and many more.

Isis is also an advisor for Mind Makers and Women Who Code. Mind Makers is an educational initiative to take traditionally non-technical people, pair them with engineering mentors to build a large scale robotic interactive head art installation reenacting the body’s sensory system using robotic sensors. “I’m building the exhibit mobile app and the brain-mechanism in the exhibit that will stream in analog data, collected from stimulation from other parts of the exhibit to create beautiful, artistic data visualizations using d3.js. In the end it will be a beautiful art exhibit and kids will see who built it and then in a perfect world they will grow up believing anyone can do anything — nipping subconscious biases at the bud and empowering a bunch of people with technical knowledge they never thought they were capable of having.”