Home People Mallory Brewer | Multilinguist in Code and Conversation

Mallory Brewer | Multilinguist in Code and Conversation

by Kristyn Back

Mallory Brewer is ready to take her tech skills and slide into a career in web development. A lover of languages, she can converse in four tongues and code within two, JavaScript and Ruby. An improviser, Brewer is also quick on her feet (literally, y’all, she’s training at the Village Theatre), so pick up this emerging web warrior to jump into your business scene.

What program are you graduating from?
I graduated at the end of last year from General Assembly’s 12-week web development immersive course. We focused mostly on MEAN stack and did some Rails too.

What were you doing before this program?
Before GA, I worked in operations at a couple different companies. My work was very different then – I was mostly working alone to meet internal needs. At the end of 2013, I decided to learn to program with Ruby/Rails. I liked languages; I’d studied French, Spanish and Portuguese in school, actually, and I definitely liked computers. I have to say programming is every bit as mind-blowing and challenging as I’d hoped.

I’m not surprised I eventually got into tech. I’ve always been riveted by computers and treated by my family as the go-to technical person. As a kid, I guess I fancied myself a tiny sysadmin because I set and forgot a BIOS password (whoops) on my grandma’s computer at age 10. And in my teens, I confidently assured my friend I could separate critical system files from the devious trojans on her computer (TD;LR: I shut the system down).

What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
While I was at GA, I worked on a handful of projects, including a recipe-storing application called RecipeBox (Rails) and a habit-making app with a group called Remode (Node/ExpressJS). Since then, I’ve worked on a few other things. I paired with a senior developer (also my partner) to write a color-mixing algorithm that I thought up one day. It recursively combines colors to make a new one. We’re working together too to create a 2D platformer game. Also, I’m refactoring the RecipeBox app as well as a text-based adventure game I wrote in Ruby. I’ve got loads more projects to come, so check out my Github and stay tuned.

mallory-brewerWhat tech/tools are essential to you?
Right now, my tech stack is Ruby/Rails, PostgreSQL, and Heroku. I generally use a CSS preprocessor like SASS for front-end. In the future, I’d like to pick Javascript back up, as well as, another functional language.

I’d say my project and product management tools are most critical. Right now, I’m in the habit of writing a paper to-do list, mapping it onto my planner, and creating Trello boards for my projects. I’m using Sublime Text right now, with the intention of moving to Vim. I just enabled Vintage mode, so I’ve got a lot of the same key mappings – super happy about that!

Oh yeah, I don’t know what I would do without Google, though sometimes it blocks me because I’m querying things like “null?” too fast. StackOverflow is great too.

How do you stay informed & on-top of emerging trends?
I make sure to check out the Ruby Weekly newsletter as well as episodes of Ruby Rogues and Developer Tea. I also have a pretty well-developed Twitter feed which I love.

What are your best technical or creative skills?
I’m pretty good at asking questions at this point, which I think is helpful in thinking critically and computationally. I’m also an improviser in training, through Village Theatre’s class program, so I think on my feet.

Creatively speaking, sketching out mockups and thinking about UX/UI design is easy for me. Despite being a backend developer, I’m also an artist. Speaking of which, I’ve got a portfolio full of pixel art that I’ll show anyone willing to look.

What’s next on your list to learn?
It seems like everyone wants to learn the next and hottest Javascript framework, and that’s cool. I mean, I would like to learn more about React, but I’m secretly thrilled by the command line, bash, and devops, and I can’t wait to dig deeper into them. My Linux pocket guide is one of my most prized possessions, for reasons having nothing to do with Linus Torvalds.

Are you interested in working for a startup, mid-sized company, or a corporate giant?
I’m pretty open at this point. I’d love to work with a team that values learning and humbleness for sure.

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