Who are you? Where are you from? What's your backstory?
I am Veni. I was born in India but we lived all around the world (Saudi Arabia, India, Canada, USA) when we were kids. We settled in the U.S when I was in high school and we’ve been here ever since. My husband, my beautiful one-year-old daughter and I live in Virginia USA for now.
I studied Computer Science in my undergrad and I’ve been in the tech industry for about 15 years. I’ve either built web applications or done database management work.
I currently work part-time, as a Senior Software Engineer, for the Web Informatics and Mapping group at the US Geological Survey. I build web applications for researchers and scientists within the Department of Interiors.
The rest of the time I am working on my business, Diversify Tech. I also run a newsletter and blog for women developers called Code with Veni.
What made you get into programming?
My dad, an engineering graduate who now works in Information Technology, was my inspiration. He came from a low-income family in India and got through college on a scholarship and ended up in tech.
Being in tech opened up a lot of doors for him and our family. My brother and I live a very different life compared to our family back home. Being in tech is what got him a job in the US. He inspired both me and my brother to pursue careers in technology.
Due to his influence, I tried out a Computer Science class in High School. I got hooked. I love to create new things and be able to bring my ideas to life.
What does your process for learning to code look like?
Everyone has a different process that fits them but I like to learn by doing. I like to dive in, make mistakes, and figure things out.
The advantage to this is that I only learn what I need to so it cuts down on time to build a product.
The disadvantage is that I’m not an expert in any one tech stack. I’m ok with that as long I’m building products that people want.
What does your process for building apps look like?
It has evolved a lot over the years. My current process is to start small. Sometimes, I don’t even code and use existing software to hack things together.
I recently bootstrapped a website using Airtable as a backend and used typeform wherever I needed forms. The old developer me would have been super embarrassed by this. But it works and I haven’t heard any complaints.
After building something small, I learn what I should focus on and build that out more.
Are you currently learning anything new?
Yes. I’m learning GatsbyJS which is a static site generator for React. In the process I’m also learning React. I used to use the Angular framework.
What's your tech stack?
When I first started in my career, it was Java, JSP and jQuery. Now for my day job, I use Python and Angular.
It varies a lot for my side projects,. Sometimes I use Firebase & Angular. I’m trying out React for my new project. I may use Vue for another project. I like to try out a few things to see what I like best.
Advice for those learning to code?
My advice is to learn smart, be patient and embrace change.
I see a lot of folks going through bootcamps, and a multitude of tutorials and certifications. It is great to gain so much knowledge but there is no real end to learning. I encourage you to apply what you learn sooner. Offer to create a friend’s website, volunteer to build a website for a non-profit, work on an open source project or come up with a project that would be useful to you. After all, the reason to learn to code is to create products/solutions and solve problems.
Be patient. When you first start coding you will encounter a lot of errors and bugs. It might take a minute or hours to figure out what went wrong. That’s ok. Everyone goes through it. Once you do figure it out, you will feel immense pride and satisfaction. As you gain more and more experience debugging will become easier.
Change is part of tech. You might have to learn a new programming language, or a new framework. Know that this is common. Be conscious that you will need to learn and adapt to the changing environment.
I started using Netlify for hosting recently and it’s awesome. You can install SSL with one click and deploy within minutes. And it’s free.