TL;DR I've been a software engineer for over 20 years. Seventeen years into my career I moved into management, and it's where I still find myself today. I like communities. I cofounded the Women Who Code NYC network and co-organize BoulderJS.
Let's rewind ⏪
I started my career at Webitects, a small design firm in Chicago. I loved the work we got to do, so much so that I stuck around for 11 years — yes, you read that right. I had a hand in building the Art Institute of Chicago's first ecommerce site, websites for charter schools, an annual online survey tool for CPS principals, Metropolitan Planning Council, and local restaurants (my original work is long gone). In the early days, we worked with Classic ASP and sometimes PHP, eventually migrating to ASP.NET.
The designs at Webitects were always user-centric. User testing was common there even back in the early 2000s. I was a fullstack developer, but I most loved handcrafting the user interfaces from beautiful design mockups.
On to the next one…
During my last few years at Webitects, I moved to Boulder and then San Francisco. I found myself at Blurb, an online publishing company best known for their high quality photo books. Finally, I had the opportunity to focus entirely on frontend development, but I also got to dabble in Ruby on Rails.
My first big project at Blurb was building an online ebook editing tool. It was 2011 and we were using EmberJS (actually, we started with Sproutcore). I focused heavily on ensuring the user experience was smooth, working not only on building reusable components, but also built a lightweight HTML editor from scratch.
New York, New York
My next big project was taking ownership of our new website, designed by a third-party agency. The years were the highlight of my career as a UI-focused engineer. I'd been advocating for responsive design (after reading Ethan Marcotte's book) and web performance (after reading Lara Hogan's Designing for Performance), and this was my opportunity to rearchitect the full frontend of our marketing website.
I cofounded my own community (with Elizabeth Ferrao), Women Who Code NYC, growing that to over 4000 members and up to 5 monthly events around the city. I am so utterly proud of this. And I am so humbled by the support we received from other event organizers and women in the community; organizations like DonorsChoose.org, Condé Nast, Etsy, LinkedIn, and Fog Creek; and the wonderful women that stepped up to help us organize events — Brenda Deverell Cortez, Barbara Livar, Erin Zobitz, Cindy Juarez. We had events with Rebecca Miller-Webster, Alex Qin, Lara Hogan, Neha Batra, Camille Fournier, Joel Spolksy, Nathalie Molina Niño — looking back, I'm amazed.
Did I mention that I had a baby in NYC, too?
And back to Boulder ⏩
Back in Boulder, I got in involved with the BoulderJS meetup group. It turns out, organizing a meetup in Boulder is more challenging than in NYC. I landed my first Engineering Manager role at Cognizant Accelerator, formerly Quick Left. An opportunity opened up at Fastly, and voilà, it's where I am today. I ❤️ Fastly.