Home People This Earth Scientist Pivots to a Career of IoT and Coding

This Earth Scientist Pivots to a Career of IoT and Coding

by Jasmyne Moody

University of Michigan graduate Anna Sedlar had her first encounter with the importance of data when studying natural earth ecosystems in school. “Learning how to collect and analyze data was instrumental in understanding the level of precision and detail required in any technical or analytical field,” says Sedlar.

Sedlar studied and worked abroad in Thailand, Colombia, and the Czech Republic — an experience which taught her the importance of digital connectivity in areas where little to no access to the Internet can have a massive impact. Currently enrolled in DigitalCrafts’ Full-Stack Immersive Web Development Program, this earth scientist has turned her craving for new information and experiences into a passion for data. Snatch her up before it’s too late!

What program are you currently enrolled in?

I am just finishing DigitalCrafts’ 16-week Full-Stack Immersive Web Development course in the Atlanta Tech Village.

What is your previous education?

I studied Earth Sciences at the University of Michigan. I value my undergraduate education deeply because it offered me multiple opportunities to design, implement, and execute several research projects. I’ve researched growth factors of the Sugar Maple, species densities in alpine ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains, and sustainable algal biofuels as a carbon-based-energy alternative. I was also lucky to spend a year studying abroad, exploring the Czech Republic and Thailand thanks to a national scholarship program. I maintained a blog where I wrote about sustainability in these countries.

What was your work experience before aspiring to become a web developer?

After graduating I continued to work in an ecological biodiversity lab researching sustainable algal biofuels. Afterwards I spent a year travelling in South America while based in Medellín, Colombia to teach English and volunteer teach yoga bilingually. I also worked at a permaculture farm in the Andes providing the local towns educational opportunities to learn why sustainable agriculture is vital to the health of the ecosystem and the community.

After so much time abroad, the importance of connectivity and the power of the internet to bring people together became increasingly apparent to me and I was enthralled with learning how it all worked.

When I returned to the States, I worked at the Math Department of the University of Michigan organizing a new Center for Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics to connect students and faculty between the Engineering, Math, and Bioinformatics departments.

Deciding to pursue web development brought me to Atlanta. My career path, although not traditional or linear, has shown me the importance of the web’s connectivity. It inspired me to understand how it works in order to contribute to its capability of bringing people and ideas together regardless of physical location.

What technology and tools are essential to you as a developer?

Python Tutor has been invaluable in visualizing and comprehending exactly how a computer executes each line of a program’s code. Stack Overflow is also incredibly helpful to clarify and gain a deeper understanding or a different perspective on a problem. And of course, I’m never without old-school pen and paper. Writing down and referencing notes later adds an element of physical/mental connection of learning that I don’t get from typing on a keyboard.

How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?

I rely heavily on communities I’m involved in, particularly Women Who Code Atlanta where some of the most intelligent, hard-working, and passionate people I’ve met in Atlanta invest their time. The work they do to develop and engage new developers and ensure the tech community is increasingly accessible to everyone inspires me deeply and encourages me to use my time and skills to do the same.  

After DigitalCrafts, what’s next on your list to learn?

I’m enrolled in an Advanced Python course following Digital Crafts. I’m excited to delve even deeper to Python, build some more complex applications using it and get a more holistic understanding of server-side programming. I am continuing to learn React even more and complement it with Angular practice. Although we didn’t cover it in our course, for our final project, my group decided to use Angular to build a group video translation application. It’s great to continue widening our scope of knowledge of how modern-day apps are being built and work with a new framework.

It’s been a fantastic chance to compare the two and understand the advantages and disadvantages of using either. I feel more prepared to speak to the strengths of React after working with Angular and vice versa. I’m also fascinated with Node.JS and the ability to use javascript on the back-end with access to so many fantastic modules. Finally, I’m eager to spend more time with some really interesting API’s including Google Maps, Leaflet, and D3!

Are you interested in working for a startup, agency, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?

Rather than limit my job search based on a company’s size, I’m focused on finding an opportunity in an organization that values continual learning, mentorship, and empathy. I’d love to find a place that emphasizes building a strong, supportive work community.

Interested in looking at Anna’s credentials? Check out her website, GitHub, and LinkedIn.


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