We're back with another DEV story and this time we talked to Angelina (@vngl ) a software engineer at Amazon and the Creator of the Angelina Tran YouTube channel - a space where women (in tech) can find content that is relatable, informative, and insightful.
We find it important to share such stories because software engineering is a growing field with many opportunities for women, but many of them are lacking in direction. Often, they simply don't know where to begin. Some careers have a linear path of a degree -> certifications -> job, but others do not.
We hope that by reading Angelina's story you deepen your understanding of the many routes into the software engineering industry, get an insight into her role, and come away with some useful resources. Let us take a look at what Angelina had to say.
How did you get started in software engineering? When did you first become interested in software development?
My story is a little unconventional (though what is considered unconventional in tech nowadays). I had attended university with the intention of attaining a degree in Biology and going to medical school after. Unfortunately, my aspirations to help others outweighed my interest in Biology, and I was feeling incredibly lost and suffocated as my final year of university neared.
During my last year of school, my friend referred me to an on-campus IT job. Having never done any type of coding before, I immediately fell in love with the job, especially with the critical thinking & design it entailed. Shortly after, I visited my college counselor to see if I could switch my major to Computer Science!
Since I was already 4 years into my Biology degree, I was not able to, so I did the next best thing: Get a Computer Science minor. Haven't touched my Biology degree since and am so grateful to that friend who changed my life without even knowing it!
What is your favourite programming language and why?
My favourite programming language is Java! I was taught object-oriented programming through Java, so it has a special place in my heart, since I love object-oriented design. I think it writes like poetry, and when you've orchestrated your poem to read and flow a certain way, it carries a monumental impact, just as code does.
Besides that, I think it's extremely powerful, pervasive in the tech industry, awesome because it's platform independent, and useful to know since most engineers will know it.
What skills do you think are necessary to be a software engineer?
I think to be a successful software engineer, you need to have a tenacity to learn, effective communication skills, patience, creativity, and passion for the craft.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I'm proud of the fact that despite not having a traditional software engineering degree, and having faced a handful of men who've told me that I could not go far in this field, I'm currently working at a top 5 engineer firm! I'm proud of myself for proving them wrong, and for hopefully growing into a role model for other girls/women to do the same.
What advice do you have for women looking to get into programming?
DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. Do not let other men define your capabilities or your potential. Do not let the imposter syndrome win. Do not let your failures overshadow your progress. Do not feel nervous about asking for help- there are many more people in this industry who want to see you succeed, than want to see you fail.
Make friends because they will be your allies, your cohort, your family in this rat race. Don't worry if your life does not revolve around tech; be proud of the fact that you have a variety of interests that span other topics! That only adds diversity to the value that you bring to the table, and that is incredibly important for an industry trying to revolutionize the future! You've got this, and don't you doubt it.
There are many free resources out there that new software engineers can check out. Angelina created a video about preparing for software engineering interviews and included all the resources she knows that will get you from step 0 to the finish line.
My favorite YouTube engineering channels
You can follow Angelina at: