Changing Paths

1 04 2015

Three years ago, I decided to point my life’s path in a different direction. I had been in college for two years studying Biochemistry, but I wanted something more. Something dynamic. When making big decisions in life, I like to think of my most unrealistic, idealistic scenario first, then start moving forward before I have time to think of how things could go wrong.

My ideal at the time was to find myself in a career where I could, above all, work independently and be creative. I wanted to be able to go from an idea to a finished product that spoke for itself rather than work that waited to be judged by somebody else’s standards. This was my original draw to Computer Science. I thought I can either be taught to repeat a process to make an employer’s life easier or I can learn the tools to explore and create whatever my heart desires.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many different types of jobs out there and many different reasons to choose one career path over another. Coding is unique though. The idea that a specific tool can be learned that allows someone to work in any industry and complete a rewarding process, start to finish, was immensely appealing. Not only because of the flexibility that it would allow, but also because of the concept of creating.

Albert Camus once said “creating is living doubly.” I agree that there is nothing more rewarding than to take a blank slate and turn it into the contents of a mind. To make something out of nothing. This concept, along with the use of mathematical reasoning and flexibility (and financial security) that programming offers, led me to commit to four more years of study to complete my Computer Science degree.


If you’re interested in pursuing Computer Science and you (like me just a few years ago) don’t have a firm grasp on what it is or what you can do with it, check out this video by and consider attending the NWrWIC conference next month to get inspired and see what’s going on in industry.


– Hailey Hanson

Luck of the Networker

15 03 2015

There have been many times in my life where I’ve thought that I’m very lucky. I’ve had so many opportunities granted to me that could have easily been missed if just one small thing had happened differently. I’ve even been told by friends and colleagues that I seem to have better luck than other people and have been asked a few times what “my secret” is.

As much as I’d like to share the true secret to good luck, I certainly don’t know it. What I do know, though, is that there is a way to seriously increase the odds of having opportunities fall into your lap.

If I could attribute my luck thus far to anything, I’d attribute it to other people. Not because I’ve just been fortunate enough to have people want to help me out or give me things, but because I ask. I talk to people and I’m not afraid to ask them for help or opportunities. While there is no doubt I’ve had to work very hard to get where I’m at, I think I might feel like it was all for naught if I hadn’t been able to ask other people for assistance along the way.

For example I work in a coffee shop part time to pay for my school. Recently a man walked in to get coffee wearing an employee badge from a large tech company. I took his order, then asked him “So,, what do you do at [your company]?” and he happened to be looking for summer interns at that time. Before I knew it, I had an interview.

OK, maybe that interaction did involve some dumb luck, but the point is that when asked for help, I find that most people want to give it! There was a time when I felt awkward asking for help in school and with finding jobs because I thought it meant I was trying to take advantage of people. Over time, though, I began finding ways to help others and to repay favors to those who had previously helped me. This made me understand how good it felt to help others find success and made me realize that those who have helped me in the past likely did so because they felt good about what they were doing, too.

So to give away “my secret”, I’d say that the only way to feel lucky in finding opportunities is to ask for them and plan to help somebody else feel just as lucky.

-Hailey Hanson