What was it that led you to a career in Computer Engineering?
Both my parents are engineers. So growing up, I was taught to question how things work and then to seek solutions to minimize effort and maximize results. I took my first programming course in college and fell in love with the numerous possibilities and applications Computer Engineering had. I enjoy the challenge and that sweet sense of achievement when one finally works through a problem. Pursuing a career in Computer Engineering was the best way to continue that interest.
Growing up, I played a lot of video games and really enjoyed strategy games and logic puzzles. My sister and both my parents hold jobs in tech, so I always had an interest in the field. I decided to pursue Computer Science and fell in love with it. I could make a career out of solving logic puzzles and I would never run out puzzles to solve as even previously solved problems could evolve or have even better solutions to discover.
What is it about Belly that caught your interest and made you want to join our awesome Engineering Team?
Prior to working at Belly, I was in a very different industry and at some point, decided that I wanted to try my hand at something new. I wanted to work on a product that I could relate to and that I could be a direct consumer of One of my friends had picked up a BellyCard and used it at a store and I was curious to know about the technology behind it. My interest was piqued.
In addition, I had worked with some people on the team before, namely Ashton, Fred, Harrison, and Trey. They have always been a pleasure to work with and I looked forward to working with them again. It is my motto to learn as long as you live; Belly provided the perfect environment to learn from the very best. Darby is one of the individuals I have learned (and still am learning) a lot from. He remains as cool as a cucumber even in times of distress and always looks out for us. I had a lot of opportunities to grow professionally and technically because of him.
Honestly, it feels like we are a family here. We are not afraid to give honest feedback and we do not hesitate to recognize and celebrate each other’s achievements. We learn to teach and we teach to learn. We always have each other’s backs. The thing about being a relatively small company means that we have the room to be flexible and adapt to situations as they change. It also means that everyone is an owner of something, a piece of a puzzle that ultimately forms a product that we continuously iterate and improve upon. It matters a lot how our merchants and members feel about the product. They ultimately inspire us to ship a better product each iteration.
I worked for a very large corporation before I came to Belly. It taught me a lot about best practices, foundations of development and how a business operates. I appreciate learning all of that, but I have always had a fascination with startups. I was working long hours, had survived multiple divestitures and layoffs, liked moving quickly on problems and enjoyed trying to solve the unsolvable. I just couldn’t get that from a large corporation, so I decided to look for a startup. I was out in Silicon Valley at the time and knew I wanted to come back to the midwest at some point, so why not now?
I’d heard great things about what Belly was doing, so I decided to attempt their coding challenge on my own time before applying. It was if Jeremy Haney knew I was going to apply before I did because the same day I started the coding challenge, he sent me an email telling me to apply. Throughout the interview process, he wouldn’t hound me like other tech recruiters do, but instead he would ask me “how’d your work day go?“ or “what belly could do to tailor the interview process to my current situation;” which consisted of working 13+ hour days, doing the code challenge until the wee hours of the morning and interviewing at the crack of dawn. He managed to make the interview process way more personal, which can sometimes be pretty rare in tech. If this was any indication of what the rest of the team was like, I knew I wanted to be a part of this company.
I jumped head first into the codebase in my first couple of days with the company. I probably wouldn’t have survived without the help of Jon White and Chris Ingebrigtsen, a former Belly employee. I ’ve learned a lot and continue to learn from everyone on the engineering team. Belly has taught me to be a stronger engineer and how to handle many different technical and business situations.
Chelsea and Yumin:
At the end of the day, when we finally have a minute to breathe and look at the work we’ve accomplished, it’s nice to know that we fucking did it! We made a product that millions of people see and although sometimes they hate us for our updates, we still built it and will continue to improve it.
What is Codefident?
We came up for the idea of Codefident because we wanted to find a way to empower people who had an interest in tech, but weren’t necessarily sure how to get started. Codefident is a safe space for anyone to pursue their goals in technology and meet others in the community struggling and thriving with similar ideas. A lot of people don’t know what resources are out there and don’t know where to start. We figured that the best way for the attendees to learn about tech is to learn from each other and some great people in the industry.
Many people seem to act like tech is some sort of magic that is impossible for everyone to do. We feel like, if you can write an essay, you can write a line of code. If you are able to learn a language, such as Spanish, you could definitely learn a programming language. Once you learn the basics, many of those skills are transferrable to other programming languages.
Codefident is not necessarily teaching people how to code or build computers, but giving them the resources and community to figure out how to learn and grow. We want to make sure that people know they aren’t alone. The tech community is constantly working to help everyone succeed. The tech community will only get stronger if it helps all of its members succeed.
This was also a great opportunity for us to work with some of the awesome ladies of Belly to put on a great event. Liz Barton and Lauren Licata kicked ass with reaching out to connections, strategizing logistics and overall, making it a fun event to work on. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have the title “Engineer” to care about tech.
What other events/groups are you involved with?
Chelsea is a mentor at MobileMakers, a member of NSCoders, and ** CocoaHeads. She is also known as Momo (“Mobile-Mom”) here. Yumin loves attending tech meetups and workshops such as Chicago Women Developers, Geekfest, and our very own **SOA Working Group started by Darby. They have both represented Belly as panelists at 100 Women in S.T.E.M. Student Expo organized by the Aparecio Foundation,and hosted a crafts and hardware workshop at the annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference. They are hosting their first ChickTech workshop early November of this year!