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Bringing Creativity Back to Programming

Sydney Stern Miller, Apr, 27 2021 | 5 min read

  
talent Tuesday text, photo of Erin McConnell, title text: Bringing Creativity Back to Programming

Erin has always been ahead of the pack, literally. Excelling from a young age, Erin has graduated at the top of her class and earned scholarships for undergrad, special programs like Tech Talent South's Graduate Accelerator Program, and her graduate degree. What makes Erin special, though, is how she transmutes the stereotype associated with Math and Data Science majors with the creativity that comes from someone who also performs in plays and theater shows and craves human connection. We think of her as a super-shero who has the unique ability to activate the left and right brain hemispheres. You can't put her in a box, and you certainly can't hold her back.

 


 

What were you doing before TTS?

Before (during, and after) TTS, I was enrolled in the University of Connecticut, getting my undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematical Sciences and Statistics. I had not been very interested in coding before TTS, even though I had taken a coding class during one of my previous semesters. Once I became interested in data science and analytics, the interest in coding came with it, and TTS was the perfect next step for me in my coding journey.

 

What course(s) did you take with TTS?

I took the part-time coding immersion class along with the data science course. As a full-time student while I was enrolled in TTS, taking a full-time class on top of a full class load would have been much too stressful, so I stuck with the part-time courses. Even though these classes were part-time, they packed enough information in that I felt like I was learning as much as I would during a full-time level.

 

How did taking this course remotely impact how you connected with your cohort and instructors?

It's such a different experience learning remotely. Often, I feel as though I am unable to connect with members of my class or my instructors because of the barrier to that face-to-face interaction. While this indeed was a factor in my connections to my cohort and instructors, I still felt like I was a part of a class and not just sitting at home looking at a computer screen. The instructors did an excellent job of including breakout rooms during the lectures, which allowed me to strengthen my connections with my classmates even though we were not all in the same space.

 

How has what you learned at TTS impacted your life?

Because of TTS, I am now confident in what I want my future career to be, and I know I have the means to get there. I am currently planning on attending Wake Forest University for graduate school after I graduate from UConn to study business analytics, which will expand on the coding basics I have learned at TTS.

 

What has been the biggest challenge in your tech journey?

The biggest challenge in my tech journey was realizing that I am capable of understanding how to code. When I first coded, it was during my time at UConn, and I did not enjoy the course I was taking, nor how the instruction was conducted, so I immediately decided that coding was not for me. Learning how to code with TTS allowed me to see coding in a better light, and I showed myself that I could do this, it was not just for people smarter than me, and I actually enjoyed it.

 

What have you learned about yourself over the past year?

I've learned that I really miss human interaction. The coronavirus has completely disrupted everything in everyone's lives, most notably my senior year of college. While this has been incredibly difficult to wrap my head around, I know that whenever we go "back to normal", I will never take the little things in life for granted again, like seeing people's entire faces and not just their eyes.

 

What are your personal and career goals for the future? 

I have recently come up with some personal and career goals for myself. The next step for me is Graduate School at Wake Forest University, so I will be living in Winston Salem, North Carolina, for about a year. After that, I hope to get a remote job working as a data analyst. The reason I want it to be remote is that I want to live in Sun Valley, Idaho, a skiing location where my family and I have traveled to since I was 3 years old. There, I want to be able to work remotely, ski on the weekends, and live out west for the first time in my life.

 

When you're not coding, what do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time, I love to dance, play the piano, read, work out, go to the beach, and hang out with my friends and family.

 

What is your favorite quote, mantra, or piece of advice?

"A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink." A friend and colleague of mine sent this quote by Gina Carey to me one time at the end of one particularly stressful academic year with the note "and wink you did". That was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever sent me, and I still think of that moment and this quote to this day.

 

 

What is something that makes you unique?

I lived in Bermuda from the time I was 2 to the time I was 13. While there, I skipped a grade (second grade to third grade). After that, I was always the youngest in my classes, as everyone my age was the grade below me. I have grown up with individuals who are older than me my entire life but was still successful in all of my endeavors throughout school and life. I was the salutatorian of my high school class, got into my dream college with a scholarship, and will be continuing onto graduate school with a scholarship, all a year before I actually should be doing so.




Connect with Erin on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

 


 

Are you interested in hiring folks like Erin? We've got you covered.

 

Are you a recent or soon-to-be College Graduate who's still trying to figure out your next move?  

If you're looking to start a career that provides you with growth, flexibility, and a nice paycheck, then look no further than Tech Talent South's Graduate Accelerator Program!

GAP is a highly competitive program that underwrites recent graduates of top-tier liberal arts colleges for our foundational courses. We do the easy part of giving them the technical chops needed to be exceptional leaders in technical fields; then, we pipeline them into corporate programs.

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