April 9

Jennifer Creighton – English Grad Turned Software Architect, Speaker #47

Self-Taught, Software Engineering, Speaker



Jenn Creighton is a frontend software architect and conference speaker. She lives in New York with her two cats and maintains a Home for Abandoned Succulents, Mismanaged Plants and Otherwise Ailing Flora. You can find her online @gurlcode.

Click Here –> For more information about tech careers

Episode Summary

“Doing a major in English is very technically heavy, and so I think a lot of that transfers into engineering. You pay attention to composition a lot. You are working in specific languages, and so you’re getting used to what they look like, how they’re composed and what are the best practices with them.”

—Jennifer Creighton

In this episode we’ll cover:

  1. Why Jenn chose not to get a formal degree in software engineering
  2. How is it that so many English majors become front end engineers?
  3. The differences between a junior engineer, senior engineer, and a software architect?

Key Milestones

[1:52] – Jennifer got a degree in English. She fell into the role of a content manager for several companies including The National Academy of Sciences. To manage websites, Jenn had to relearn HTML and CSS. This led her to become more and more technical.
[3:45] – Jenn built a website when she was 14 years old and learned HTML and CSS.

[6:20] – How did Jenn accidentally use Javascript when she was 14 and didn’t know it?
[8:20] – Jenn describes lucking into her first technical role at Ralph Lauren. For a while, she was convinced she needed a formal degree in computer science but then chose the self-taught route.

[13:40]- As she decided to leave Ralph Lauren, Jenn spent her nights and weekends preparing for legitimate technical interview. She had a few subpar interviews that served as early learning experiences.
[16:05] – Jenn recalls finding her first mentor at Lover.ly, a startup she worked at.

[20:02] – The differences between a junior engineer, senior engineer, and software architect. How did Jenn’s expertise with React get her promoted quickly at ClassPass?
[24:20] – Why do so many English majors get into front end software engineering?

[28:20] – Jenn’s first speaking engagement was at the conference, Women Who Code 2018. But it was attending Write, Speak, Code that really put her in that position. In 2018, Jenn spoke at 10 conferences!
[31:10] – How has speaking at conferences taken Jenn’s confidence and career to a whole new level? Why does Jenn monitor her pulse?

Additional Resources

Selected Links from the episode:

https://www.writespeakcode.com/ – Conference that promotes the visibility and leadership of technologists with marginalized genders





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