Small update: Since interviewing Tiffanie Johnson and writing the Q&A, she has left Forum one and will be joining the Washington Post’s Web Development team on July 12.
One of the first things I noticed about Johnson is that she has a background in math an engineering. While neither of these are required for this career, it definitely helped her when she started learning. The other thing I noticed was how passionate she is about the field. She is driven to more forward, improve, and be an expert in her area. I did not add this the Q&A but she mentioned a specific need to be the best, to create the hardest to break software, and to develop something that has a positive effect on the world. This is why she left the department of defense.
I was encouraged and amused by the knowledge that, outside of this class, I can learn more about web development on YouTube. The fact that she did all of her development learning there is just funny. But she did stress the importance of coding daily and practicing. Where she found the time to do this while working, no idea, but it is good to know that it can be done.
I have never had to bid for work. I have never competed for an assignment, not this way anyway, so I don’t understand the challenges that come with having to do this. There is always something to be written, large or small, but I do want to become a freelancer. I want the flexibility that this type of working affords but it will mean that I will have to compete for stories.
At the end of the day, Johnson’s journey was inspiring in that she took an unconventional path to what I can only describe as the career of her dreams.
*This post has been backdated*