A Day in the Life… Valerie Turlington

Volunteer Feature: Valerie Turlington

Who are you?

I am a software engineer, currently working at the Google office in Irvine. I got my bachelor’s in Computer Science from UNC Pembroke, in North Carolina.

Where are you from?

I grew up in North Carolina. I lived there until a couple of years ago, when I moved to Southern California. The sunshine over here is much better 😀

What volunteer activities have you enjoyed doing with ChickTech-OC?

I’ve most enjoyed helping teach workshops; we’ve taught girls of varying ages how to do the kinds of things required for certain STEM careers. Specifically, I’ve taught MIT App Inventor for making Android apps, and Java for general programming. I’ve also helped out with running our table at the United State of Women summit in LA, and participated in a fundraising event.

What made you want to volunteer with us?

I wanted to give something back to others, and I saw ChickTech as an opportunity to help add diversity to my chosen industry. I’ve always been aware of the disparity between men and women in software engineering, and I would love to see that change, with more women involved.

What is your 8 to 5 schedule like at your job?

It’s a very relaxed schedule. I work on whatever my current task is at my desk, and there are snacks/drinks available at every full-time job I’ve worked (a total of 4 jobs). Some days include gym classes at my current job, and I occasionally take long walks to recharge and help me think over some of my more difficult problems.

Do you miss your old jobs?

I usually do, but I don’t let that stop me from going forward. I think I’ve been fortunate to have a series of jobs that I’ve liked. I take a piece of them with me wherever I go; sometimes that means staying in touch with the wonderful people I met, or taking the skills I learned and advancing them even further.

What made you go into technology?

When I first started, I wanted to make video games! And I wasn’t very good at art, so programming seemed like the best way to go. Nowadays, I only make games in my free time occasionally, but I fell in love with all kinds of programming and I really enjoy my work.

What do you hope to do in the near future?

In the near future, I want to settle more fully into my role at Google =] I’m still a pretty fresh hire, so I’m in the process of getting my feet under me. I’m excited to establish myself in a place with such wonderful opportunities.

What advice you can give to girls who want to go into technology?

Don’t be afraid of difficulty. Even when you get settled into a full-time job, it’s the nature of technology to present new and interesting challenges. On most days, you will struggle, but if you keep at it, you will most often succeed. Don’t be afraid to fail until you do =] Failure is just one more step towards success. Worst-case scenario, you end up moving on to another task. Failure is expected and accepted to happen sometimes within the technology industry. So don’t be afraid!

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