Krystal had tried her hand at everything from film design to architecture – but it wasn’t until she took a programming course on Coursera that she discovered her true professional passion. Now, she’s back in school studying computer science, and has connected with a new community of peers through internships, workshops, and conferences. Here’s her story:
I’ve been studying and working at the intersection of art and science for my entire life – I studied Physics and Mathematics as well as Art, and while I love analytical thinking, I also love building real things. I ended up working as a film technician, and I was pretty unsure about my career path. I considered becoming a lighting designer or a concept designer (designing costumes, environments, and props for film), but that didn’t feel hands-on enough for me.
To explore other options, I started taking some classes in architecture. Programming and robotics were just being introduced into the architecture curriculum, and I quickly became very interested in that aspect. I found myself thinking, “Why don’t I learn Python and make my own robots?” And that thought led me to Coursera.
From there, I just ended up taking course after course. I took Programming for Everybody, An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python, a number of courses in the Data Science Specialization, and more. Programming connected with my love of statistics, analytics, and art – it satisfies my need to use both my left and my right brain.
And eventually, programming began to change my life. Today, I’m back in school, studying computer science. I’m in the middle of a mentorship with a Seattle developer, for which I was chosen as one of two participants from a pool of about 100 applicants. I was offered an opportunity to do a four-day workshop at NASA at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for students in STEM, and I intend to do a summer internship there learning about computer vision. I was able to attend Google I/O and attend DEFCON in Las Vegas.
There is no doubt in my mind that I will be a developer for the rest of my life – and that started with Coursera. In some ways, Coursera was the only feasible way for me to discover that I loved programming. The courses I took on were holistic, well-structured, and instrumental in helping to fill gaps in my knowledge that I might not have recognized just through studying on my own. It can be easy to define yourself just in terms of your current job or work environment, but Coursera helped me see myself outside of that.18