Kaitlyn Carter, Software Engineer
What made you decide to work in tech?
My mom was super controlling when it came to going on the internet. She used to set this AOL feature where it limited the time the child account was allowed to use the internet each day. My two other siblings and I had to share one hour of internet per day and it was horrible. My childhood consisted of modding the Sims, customizing my Myspace page, and figuring out how my older brother always bypassed the internet timer and parental controls. I played around with these things, but always viewed them as tricks, not something that could be the beginning of a career path. During my freshman year of college, I took over an organizational site for UMBC and everything started clicking from there.
What is your experience being a POC in Tech?
I was accepted into the CODE2040 Fellows Program and from day one, I was nurtured and given a network of people who want to see me succeed and who could empathize with how I initially felt as a newbie. It’s sad that I feel spoiled from having the ability to vent my insecurities to people, but unlike some, I never feel trapped or unheard. I think I will always have my insecurities about how people view me and my ability, but whether it be my family or my CODE2040 family, they will always remind me that I belong.
What was your perception about the tech industry before entering it? What is your perception now?
I used to think that in order to get into the tech industry you had to come from a top school or have a certain degree, but I met so many amazingly talented people last summer and the only criterion they all had in common was their ambition level.
What advice would you give to a young person who wanted to enter tech?
Growing up, my mom struggled financially, so all I could think about was making a ton of money the fastest way possible. My older brother always tells me, follow your ambitions and focus on that skill set–the money will come. Patience and consistency is something I still struggle with, but everything is slowly (but surely) falling into place.
I am a firm believer of giving more than you take, and this quote has always stuck with me:
“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”
I recently connected with Jihan Thompson and Jenny Lambert, the co-founders of Swivel (www.swivelbeauty.com), an online platform making it easier for women of color to find and book talented hairstylists. My brother Daniel and I are helping to redesign their original site and add a few other exciting features. Swivel’s building a solid foundation in NYC and will soon be changing the hair care game in cities across the U.S. Be on the lookout!