Midterm developer profile

For years Vivian Do lived with her parents and two sisters, who were keen to have professions in the IT field due to their dad’s long and successful career in computer engineering. In 2014 Do enrolled in a computer science program at the University of Maryland College Park, a path that eventually led her to become one of the youngest web developers in her class.

From the onset, Do and her two sisters — Christina and Jess — knew their life would be different from the others kids in their Towson, Md. neighborhood.  They explored with computers and other pieces raided from their father’s work. Do’s two sisters eventually chose a different path as they grew up, but she was determined to do something in relation to computers.

“My two sisters went into the health field and I choose a different path,” Do said. “When I was younger, my sisters and I always liked — I guess — the more guys toys like the video games more so than dolls. So I guess early on I knew I like more boy toys.”

During Do’s years in high school, she was mainly attracted to computer language courses and programs. She eventually continued to pursue her interest by taking some classes from some community colleges.

“I took some courses in high school and community college and those are hard, but I kind of like the different of thinking that you need for coding,” Do said.

A high school JavaScript course ultimately solidified her decision to pursue computer science, and later, web development.

“When you are coding there’s a different approach to it and I think that’s what intrigued me about coding,” she said. “You have to actually switch your mindset to be able to do it.”

Prior to starting her computer science program at the University of Maryland, Do noticed her lack of interest in the electrical aspect of computer engineering. This meant, she wouldn’t be able to do same job as her dad.  

“In the beginning I wanted to do more engineer stuff because I like building things, but I realized I didn’t like the electrical sides and that’s how I became more computer science base,” Do hinted.

The transition from computer science to web development begun at the University of Maryland —  searching for student run programs and learning new computer languages by herself. Despite being a full-stack developer Do prefers working the front end. She says programs like HTML, CSS and JavaScript more than harder languages like Python and others.

“[I’m] not a big fan of those because those are more geared towards back-end and engineering languages,” Do said. “HTML, CSS are like markup languages that aid me in my work. JavaScript has logic in it, it has functions, and variables that kind of thing. It has aspects like the back-end developer engineering languages and it’s geared towards web development.”

The other reason she prefers HTML and CSS is because they are little bit more intuitive and easier to learn. The other programming languages, she says, gave her a tough time at the onset, but with persistence they became easy to work with.

“For me the hardest thing was the coding, when I first started learning coding,” she said. “I actually hated it and it took a long time to grasp it, but after a while it became cool. And so even though learning JavaScript can be really tough, you keep going at it and it will eventually click.

“It just takes a little patience. If you like to do it just keep getting at it because there’s a huge demand for it as the field keep growing.”

During her time on campus, Do worked as a web designer for the Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Scientific Computation (AMSC) program at the University of Maryland. She was hired to remake their less interactive website more intuitive and efficient to attract more students.

“They had so many links, but the links weren’t set up right,” she said. “Most of the files did not make sense so they wanted it to look nice and attract new students. I had to redesign it and develop it. I used a content management system called Joomla but to customize it, and used HTML and CSS as well.”

Do just secured a new job at the Booz Allen Hamilton, where she will consult as a front-end developer and designer. She will be working with a team of UI/UX designers and developers, and will be using React, Angular, and other UI libraries to create an amazing user experience. She will also learn how to provide accessibility for all users by developing a web system that is easy to use, saves time and resources, and works across browsers, platforms, and devices while meeting accessibility and security requirements.

For more about Vivian Do’s work, read her bio here


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