Home People Tech Talent: This Former Food Scientist Wants to Concoct Your Next Coding Project

Tech Talent: This Former Food Scientist Wants to Concoct Your Next Coding Project

by Muriel Vega

Sara Muntean started her career as a food scientist, studying the engineering and chemistry behind food items and thinking up new ways to create safe food resources for everyone. But she found that she wasn’t using her problem-solving skills enough — so she tried to find a way to bring critical thinking back into her daily life.

That’s how she set her sights on the tech industry and enrolled in DigitalCrafts‘ Full-Stack Immersive program. “There’s always some new technology to learn, and knowing that I will be able to continually grow and implement new software techniques throughout my entire career is the most thrilling part of becoming a part of this industry,” says Muntean.

This junior programmer has a React Native project in the works and is looking for a dev team that thrives on collaboration and loves pun jokes. Check out what she’s cooking up below.

What is your previous education?

A Georgia girl through and through, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science from the University of Georgia in 2016.

Why the interest in the technology field?

In my former life as a food scientist, I spent a lot of time in physically demanding roles. The technical, creative problem-solving I experienced in my college courses wasn’t reflective of how things actually were in the industry. The technology field scratches that itch — I have to figure out answers to complex problems on a daily basis, and it offers a level of fulfillment that you can only achieve through critical thinking.

Beyond that, I love the culture of learning that the tech community has cultivated.

What tech projects have you worked on?

I’ve worked on several interesting projects during my time at DigitalCrafts, including Tonely, a front-end web application that runs draft tweets through IBM Watson’s tone analyzer to ensure companies achieve a consistent tone in all tweets, no matter who writes them, and Color Addiction, a full-stack JavaScript game in which you try to test your color-blending skills.

But by far my favorite and most rewarding project I’ve worked on was Framed Intentions, a virtual vision board app built with React and Redux. Not only did I get to architect our data structures and build interesting interactivity on our site, but I also got exposed to the joy that is debugging another person’s JavaScript library. While there’s a lot more room to grow with this project (we were on a tight timeline — four days to create a full-stack React application that was also deployed on AWS), the amount that we accomplished in such a short amount of time is something I’m really proud of.

What tech/tools are essential to you as a developer?

I’m a planner at heart, and I can’t complete a project without using Trello. Even on personal side projects where I’m the only developer, I use Trello to break down big problems into tiny, manageable pieces. I love to structure projects and cards so that any given feature is only one Google search away from working — it makes the project fun and addicting to work on.

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

Each morning I wake up to an email from Medium, where I can get a baseline for what new technologies people are buzzing about. It’s normally just enough information to pique my curiosity, but this is where the scientist in me comes out in full force and I start researching like crazy.

What are your best technical or creative skills?

While I love playing a role in all forms of development, I feel like front-end is my home. Starting with vanilla JavaScript DOM manipulation, to jQuery, and finally to React and Redux, every front-end technology I’ve learned has furthered my passion for developing interactive, user-centered designs. I have a real knack for implementing cool features on a project, and thrive when I can exercise my creativity through a dynamically-designed application.

What’s next on your list to learn?

I’m about to embark into the world of mobile development with a React Native project, with an app that’s designed to help make you sound cool at parties. In addition, I’d love to learn GraphQL. I saw Jennifer Bland speak about GraphQL at Atlanta’s DevFest 2018, and it seems like a really innovative solution to making complex queries.

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

What concerns me is less the size of the company I’d be working for and more the dynamic of the team I’d be working on. I’m primarily concerned with growing in a team that prioritizes learning, is accepting of people from all walks of life, and appreciates my punny, funny jokes.

Interested in looking at Sara’s credentials? Here you go! PortfolioGitHub, and LinkedIn.

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