This DigitalCrafts’ Graduate Utilizes Teaching and Design Skills To Excel As a Programmer

With a background in Chinese Literature and graphic design, Huiqi Zhou’s unique experience doesn’t seem to fit one of a developer at first glance. But the closer you look, you can see that Zhou’s experience as a teacher plus her side hustle as a freelance designer will help her fill a developer role perfectly.

“Although literature sounds like a field that is totally unrelated to developing, I’ve observed that there are many skills important in both fields, such as problem solving, organization, and critical thinking,” says Zhou. And we couldn’t agree more — those are essential skills in the programming world.

Armed with new skills learned in DigitalCrafts’ Full Stack Immersive program, Zhou wants to dive into data visualization and machine learning and join a team where she can keep learning. Is that you? Scoop up this bilingual programmer before it’s too late.

Why did you decided to pursue programming?

I have been a graphic designer since I was in college in Beijing, China, where I designed flyers, pamphlets, posters, cards and even a textbook! But I wanted my design to be more interactive — actually that was the reason I got into coding in the first place. Since starting the program at DigitalCrafts, though, I’ve been exposed to databases, algorithms, and backend architecture and have realized how much I enjoy those aspects of software development.

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

Before enrolling at DigitalCrafts, I was finishing up a Master’s degree in Chinese literature at Indiana University. I taught Chinese language at the university level for 5 years and also worked as an interpreter for a year and a half. All the while, I have been doing freelance graphic design and artistic work for 9 years – that’s always been a passion of mine.

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

I think it all goes back to the basics. Mastery of programming fundamentals such as loops, recursions and data structures is paramount. Debugging skills are also crucial: sometimes you know how the program works and think it should work, but yet it doesn’t. At these times, robust debugging skills are indispensable. In terms of tools, I think Google Chrome’s developer tool is one of the handier ones in my tool set. Stack Overflow always gets me out of a bind when I’m stuck. It’s almost like people from all over the world are helping me debug!

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

I read a lot of blogs from Medium and other platforms. They always have the newest updates and trends listed and explained in detail. Attending events and meet-ups in the coding community is also a fun way to get to know other developers and learn cool stuff. I remember one time I went to a JavaScript community meet-up and learned about TweenMax, which quickly became my go-to for making animations.

What’s next on your list to learn?

I want to delve more into data analysis, data visualization, and machine learning. I feel like data is becoming ever more a part of our lives and I want to know more about how to harness its seemingly limitless possibilities. I also want to get into mobile app development because I use my phone all the time, so why not make some cool apps for it? Last but not least, I’d like to learn to code in Java as well because it’s widely used in the development community.

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

I would like to work in a company that has a great atmosphere and gives me daily opportunities to learn, grow and contribute regardless of its size. I would like to take on all kinds of different tasks and challenges and never stop learning!

Interested in checking out Huiqi’s credentials? Check out her website, Github, and LinkedIn.