In the Spotlight 30: Allison
It’s Spotlight Friday! This time we’re going to meet Allison. She has studied both Math and Computer Science and hopes to go back to college to study Physics in the future. She’s as passionate about teaching as she is about learning. Through Gr8Ladies and MoreThanAPipeline.org, Allison strives to bring conscientious Computer Science education to non-technically-minded adults (helping them to become new technologists).
What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I was always into Math, but in traditional Mathematics, I never quite found the type of Math problems I had always dreamed about exploring as a kid. The Algorithmic problems of Computer Science turned out to be what I was looking for. I think of Computer Science as “Theoretical Applied Mathematics.”
What does your working day look like?
I work independently these days, so I’m a bit of a transient– I run an errand and then I find a quiet nook nearby to settle in for an hour or 3 of highly focused work. Then I get up and on to my next appointment and afterward seek out a new work area near there.
What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
My work developing a curriculum, “Zero to Grails”, to bring absolute beginners up to speed developing their first Grails app. I love teaching and bringing understanding to people who have always looked at tech, from the outside, in a certain way and then they realize it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
I love teaching and bringing understanding to people who have always looked at tech, from the outside, in a certain way and then they realize it doesn’t have to be like that at all.
Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
I don’t try to emulate 100% of any one person. I’ll see leadership qualities I want to emulate in someone otherwise entirely different from me. I’ll see a creative spark I admire in someone I totally don’t “get” otherwise. I’m inspired to be an amalgamation of the good qualities I see all around me.
Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
It is like having a never-ending stream of the puzzles and problems I always had difficulty finding as a kid.
Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
I have a Masters in Science in Computer Science. I learned the most from my Algorithms class and my Artificial Intelligence classes.
What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
It’s worth it.
Gr8Ladies is an organization for the support of women in the Groovy/Grails community. Gr8Ladies seeks to battle the gender disparity in tech by educating and supporting women in tech.Their events aren’t just for women, tho–as important to their mission as bringing women to the events is, it’s just as important for women to see how supportive of diversity the men in the Groovy/Grails community have been.
The numbers of women presenting at tech conferences is woefully small, so at a Gr8Ladies event in June, attendees learned from experienced presenters tips and advice for presenting at tech conferences.
Gr8Ladies takes a hands-on approach to bringing more women into the field of programming by hosting free workshops to teach Groovy/Grails in an encouraging environment where women can expect not to be the only female attendee.
Gr8Ladies was founded in Minneapolis, MN and will work with people around the world who want to found their own chapter.
You can follow them on twitter @Gr8Ladies