I've always loved building things. Growing up, my mother would let me take a few indulgent days off school every now and then for no real reason at all. I called them 'Eleanor Days' and spent them building things like roller coasters made of straws, motion-detecting robots or pulley systems to bring my school uniform to my bed. It was pure creation and I loved it. I started coding because through these little inventions I discovered that wonderful little rush of adrenaline when you create something that works. I started out with a Computer Science degree back in South Africa, but steadily made the shift towards Product Design. When I discovered hackathons, I started to figure out the sweet-spot of how the two work well together as Product Development. Now I do a bit of both, and really love blurring the lines between the two. To me, designing and building products is all about the magic of turning ideas into things.
TweetDeck at Twitter! I'm a Product Designer during the week and a Hackathon Hacker over weekends. Recently, I've been hacking apps for the Amazon Echo. Conversational UI is an incredibly cool space to explore at the moment (and I'm really enjoying being able to speak to my apartment to control my gadgets). My other side project is a peer mentorship network for all those delightful people you run into at events across the London Tech Scene. I'm all about using tech as a tool to enable us to be better.
SPACE ðŸŒ•ðŸŒ–ðŸŒ—ðŸŒ˜ðŸŒ‘ Specifically, how we might design and build for it. We're not as far away from this sort of thing as we think we are, and off-planet is not as far removed from on-planet as we think it is. It's also clear that the barrier to entry for all this majestic space stuff is lower than ever. There's absolutely nothing stopping you from writing some code right now and sending it on a little computer up to the edge of space.
First and foremost, work hard and be nice to people (this piece of advice is particularly gender-neutral). It's incredibly important to throw yourself out of your comfort zone. Do something different and exciting like a hackathon or an event or giving a talk. Seek some diverse perspectives and discover the world from a new angle. My third chunk of advice would be to absolutely pour yourself into what you're building. You'll learn a lot about yourself along the way. Finally, think hard about what you really enjoy doing and every day put some effort into doing a little more of that. Every one of the micro-decisions you make in your day can contribute to doing more of what truly makes you happy.