Hello, World.

Anyone learning a new programming language starts by writing the simplest possible code: a program that prints the phrase, “Hello, world,” to the screen.  When we see those words blink back at us, we know we've got a basic foundation in place.  We can then focus on building something original.

Hello, world.  

Ok, my foundation is in place.  Now, what is it for?

Why this blog? 

I am creating a forum for stories that inspire and guide people interested in pursuing a career in engineering.  It’s a place for me to connect with others who may catch glimpses of themselves in my professional experience. 

This is where I add my voice to the growing ranks of women and men who are nudging the tech community in the direction of inclusivity, and toward the superior innovation that I believe will accompany it.  It’s where I share my missteps so that others can avoid them, or at least have a good laugh. 

Why me?

I'm a computer scientist with nearly 20 years in the field and a Ph.D.  I'm a woman who's learned to successfully navigate the tech world, but who's built up callouses and many ideas about tech and gender along the way. 

I'm a coach to strangers on how to initiate or navigate a career in data engineering or data science.  I'm a teacher of machine learning who's watched my students grow and fly, and who's had statistical principles explained to me—incorrectly—by a guy in the back row during class.

I've worked for fabulous managers and terrible ones, on dream teams and dysfunctional teams, and I've developed my own leadership philosophy from lessons learned from all of them. 

I'm a mother of three married to a man with a similar education and career in tech.  I look forward to a day when we can meet new acquaintances without the Ph.D. being the most surprising thing about me, and the ability to grocery shop with three kids being the most surprising thing about him.

Why now?

Early this year, my husband and I welcomed our third son.  In the spring, at the end of my maternity leave, I resigned from my job to spend the summer with the baby and reflect on what I wanted next from my professional life.

My identity is deeply wrapped up in my work, and I had never before been without a job.  The resulting discomfort simmered all summer.  It bubbled up during sunny walks pushing the stroller and demanded my attention in the nursery's midnight silence.  Who am I?  What do I want?  What am I good at?  With no office obligations and only a baby for conversation, I spent a lot of time with my own thoughts.

Reflecting on the experiences that led me to this point, I realized that this blog has been writing itself in my head for years.  I love to create, I love to reflect, and I love to write.  Now that autumn is here any my focus is turning back to the tech world, it's time to put the words on the page.