Vanessa Hurst: Developers for Good

by Frances Advincula

Mentorship has been such a buzzword recently. We’ve all heard the long list of the benefits of having one — guidance as  you navigate uncharted territory in your first few years as a professional, inspiration to take your career to a new level, and we could go on for forever.

I know that I myself dream of having a long list of women in tech mentors, but unfortunately, for whatever reason, not all of us can have that privilege. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get a glimpse or even a small peek into the minds of the rockstars that we aspire to be someday!

Vanessa Hurts Developers for GoodThus, we hope to bring you these little “peeks” into the minds of a few leading ladies on a regular basis. For this week’s Femgineer spotlight, ladies and gentlemen, meet Vanessa Hurst!

Hurst specializes in database technologies and previously worked for Paperless Post where she led data and analytics.  A true New Yorker and do-gooder, she has a couple of projects that aim to help and improve society. Read on to find out more, and be sure to follow her adventures at @DBNess!

1. Tell us about your newest project, CodeMontage?

CodeMontage improves your software engineering skills while improving the world. CodeMontage was born out of the belief that computing is the most efficient way to improve the human experience, and that software developers become the best through lots of practice building real applications. I know from teaching beginners that there’s a frustrating gap between learning to code and being able to build robust applications, and I know from hiring and mentoring developers that experience can’t be replaced with canned tutorials. So, if it takes a lot of work to become a great developer, how can we make sure that work matters? That it moves society forward, as well as developers? That’s what CodeMontage is about – improving yourself and the world.

2. You’re one of the founders of  Girl Develop It. Being around young girls in tech/starting in tech, what’s the biggest piece of advice you have for them?

Girl Develop It is all about creating a welcoming environment for people, especially women, to get familiar with software development. For beginners, I’d say: show up, listen, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everyone is a beginner in something, and even the most experienced of developers needs to ask questions to keep up with technology. Also, the tech community wants and needs your voice!

3. What’s your favorite book/blog on programming?

I keep up with a variety of blogs through Twitter and HackerNews. My latest favorite has been Tech Leadership News, curated by the awesome Kate Matsudaira, VP of Engineering at Decide.

Frances just graduated with a degree in Computer Science with specialization in Software Engineering. She works as a Software Developer for Accenture Software. She also contributes toThe Levo LeagueWomen 2.0, and STEMinist.  A proud geek girl, she’s sure she is the only one who can’t play video games. Follow her random musings at @FranAdvincula.

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  1. kate matsudaira 19 November, 2012 at 11:14 am

    It is great to see interviews like this one with Vanessa. And thanks so much for the shout out! :)
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Frances Advincula 8 December, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks, Kate! We love to feature rockstar women in tech, and if you’re up for it, maybe we can do a spotlight on you?

    Have a great weekend!

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