While working on a project to calculate worldwide inventory at then-employer Intel, Allyson Short found herself drawn to the back-end aspect. As she designed the functionality and UX/UI of the tool, she saw the potential of technology in both solving problems and automating tasks.
To satisfy her curiosity, Short enrolled in Thinkful’s Full Stack Flex program, where she has built an app to track trades between service providers, a digital neighborhood produce swap to avoid food waste, and a Google Maps API-powered app to find the best Airbnb for you.
She mentions that on top of her growing programming skillset, what makes her a great co-worker is her listening skills. “Listening and really understanding the problem can help you come up with more robust and collaborative solutions. It also ensures the person feels heard which can reduce conflicts and improve buy-in as you work through solutions,” says Short.
This podcast enthusiast is looking for a mid-size company where she can grow with the current team and make a demonstrable impact in the company’s projects. See why this junior programmer has blockchain and Python on her mind and why she could be a good fit for your team.
What program are you graduating from?
What is your previous education?
I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in both Finance and Accounting
Why the interest in the technology field?
Technology feels like the ocean to me. I look out at the landscape, and it seems endless. The directions you can take, the opportunities to learn new things, the pieces that overlap on each other, and its ever-changing nature. It’s very exciting!
My interest was really sparked when I worked at Intel on a large financial cost/inventory system. Our team was tasked with creating the next-generation system that would be responsible for tracking and calculating all of Intel’s worldwide $3B inventory and monthly COGS.
It was a joint Finance/IT project and I was one of the finance leads in charge of designing the calculations, functionality, and UX/UI. It was extremely satisfying to take something all the way through the SDLC stages and see the end result in the hands of users and on the balance sheet/income statement.
What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
I’ve created several interesting apps during my time at Thinkful, and this is by far my favorite part of the course because not only do we bring our ideas to life but the process really solidifies what we’ve learned. My most recent app is Trade Tally, which is a MERN stack app designed to help service providers track their trades with other service providers. So after a trade is made, it’s simply recorded by one of the partners and then either party can see their trade balance.
I’ve also made Crop Swap, a fully-responsive RESTful API app using Node & MongoDB, designed to connect neighbors so they can swap excess fruits and veggies. I came up with this app after having a bumper crop of cucumbers and eating cucumber salad for two weeks.
The other app I created is TES, which helps you find Airbnbs in neighborhoods that have cool things you want to walk to. I always stay in Airbnbs when I’m visiting a city and often want to be near coffee shops and restaurants. With TES, you enter the things you want to be near in the city, select an area you like, and you can simply click a button and you’ll see the Airbnbs in the area. I was able to learn about Google Maps API with this project as well as Yelp.
What tech tools are essential to you as a developer?
Of course, your text editor is key. I’ve been playing around with both Atom and VS Code, and have just settled on VS Code because of all the debugging and IntelliSense syntax highlighting support, integrated terminal, and customizable workplace settings.
Next up is Git/GitHub. Being fluent on version control tools is key to ensuring your code is safe, you can collaborate with others, and you can track changes with each feature set you develop in case you need to reinstate a prior piece of code.
How do you stay informed and on-top of emerging trends?
What are your best technical or creative skills?
It’s hard to pick between technical and creative, so I’m just going to go with my strongest skill, which I think is my ability to listen. We often talk about communication skills in business and the focus is mostly on what and how we say things. However, listening and really understanding the problem can help you come up with more robust and collaborative solutions.
When I’m talking through a problem with someone I often repeat back to them what I’ve heard in my own words. This is important not only for making sure we have the same understanding of the problem, but it also ensures the person feels heard, which can reduce conflicts and improve buy-in as you work through solutions.
What’s next on your list to learn?
This is a really hard question because there are so many things I’d like to learn right now. Currently on my list is Python because its applications seem endless, ranging from AI and machine learning to web development to basic automation tasks. Blockchain is super interesting to me because of my finance background, and of course getting familiar with AWS offerings since cloud-based is an integral part of every business model. I’d also like to round out my React knowledge by learning React Native.
The list could go on; however, I’m planning to deepen my existing MERN stack knowledge over the coming months as I’m job hunting.
Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
Each one has its pluses and minuses, so ultimately I’m open to all of them. However, if I have to pick, I’d say mid-sized. Most mid-sized companies have enough structure in place to support a newer developer as they learn and grow their skills. Also, the size is small enough that you can still make a real impact on the projects you’re working on.