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January 14, 2018 Interview: Game Developer @she_who_codes

What first sparked your interest in programming/tech?

My husband was working as an artist at a game company, and one night (when the iPhone App Store first launched) we were talking about iPhone game ideas. At the time, his company wanted to go a different direction so he mentioned that if I learned to code we could make these ideas together. I was deep in my unfulfilling career in the Banking Industry at the time, so the thought of making games with my husband was incredibly exciting. That night I started doing research.

What is your specialty?

Since 2009, I've been making mobile Apps and Games both natively on iOS and using Cocos2d-x for cross-platform games. Over the past few years, I've switched to C# and Unity3D for console/PC games.

What was your first application?

The very first thing I published was a comic book on iOS that my husband and I created called, Chibi Chaingun. This is actually the distant relative to our current game, Kova. I built it using Obj-C in Xcode and published it in the summer of 2009.

Out of all of your projects, which are you the most proud of? Why?

Each time I create a new game, it is my best accomplishment. Programming is like many professions, in that you never stop learning and you get more out of it the more you do it. Every time I write a new game, my code is better and the skills I have are sharpened even more.

What are your professional goals?

The entertainment industry is one of the biggest, even in bad economic conditions. That's because people need to have a way to escape and relax. My husband and I own and run a small indie game studio and I hope to grow that studio and continue making bigger, better games that people can enjoy and escape with.

What challenges have you faced, as a woman in tech?

Last year we went public with our working title, Kova, and the majority of the responses were overwhelmingly positive, but it's amazing how quickly a few negative comments can overshadow that. The sad thing is that those few negative comments were from men belittling my skills as a programmer just because I am a woman. This is just one example, but I don't let it get to me, instead it fuels me. I know that I am a good programmer, and the best way to prove that is to make a damn good game. Coursera

What advice can you give to women and men that are looking to get into the field?

The two biggest pieces of advice are the same for any person wanting to get into programming.

The first: Don't bother unless you have the passion and dedication the field requires. It takes a lot of time and patience to learn to code.

The second: Before you can decide what language to learn, you need to decide what your goal is and what you want to make. Don't just learn to code because, instead figure out what your passion is and go after that. There are so many fields, the only way to know which one is for you is to know what you want to make.

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