#CodingIcon is a mini-series from Jewelbots highlighting the amazing women building the things we use everyday.[
Our favorite way to describe Suz is, as her twitter bio states, is a "nice cyber human". From her TEDx talk about empowering next gen makers in 2014 to her recent dotConference talk as an accessibility advocate, Suz has always built tech to help others. When she was a kid engineering the blocks to her Barbie's dollhouse and sending her imaginary friends encrypted messages, Suz has always seen her ability to create as magic. She channeled this magic by becoming a software developer.
One of her many notable creations for example is her P.U.R.R. bracelet (Personal Ultimate Reassurance Response). As someone with anxiety, Suz made this bracelet during a hackathon to help tackle her issue. P.U.R.R. measures your heart rate and when it senses an escalation in your BPM, it will text you a cat photo to cheer you up! The best part: she shares her amazing projects for anyone to make and enjoy too!
What's your position at work?
Cloud Developer Advocate at Microsoft. I help improve cloud tools by educating the developer community about Azure and rolling the resulting developer feedback into constructive change within the company. I get to play with a lot of different services and tools. I also get to write a fair amount of open source code on the job, which is what I especially enjoy.
Who are/were your role models?
I have both fictional and IRL role models!
- Ellie Arroway from Carl Sagan's book Contact. She's a radio astronomer. I relate to her character a lot in both personality and the way she sees the world.
- Kate Libby from Hackers. Duh. She's both a programming badass and has great fashion sense.
- Bret Victor. He's very clever and is always trying to do the hard thing. His work is never complete and that's because he's still trying convince the world.
- Jess Frazelle. She's a fabulous programmer, a lovely person, and kicks butt all round in everything.
- Jenn Schiffer. I'll never be as witty as her. She's got a great instinct with issues in our industry and has great commentary to meet it. Her empathy is interwoven in all the code and work she produces.
- David O'Reilly. He's not afraid to put his ideas out there even if they're very confronting. He creates astonishing multidisciplinary art.
- Sara Hendren. Her guerilla accessibility work is particularly inspirational to me.
How old were you when you learned to code?
I was 9 years old! I got a Commodore 64 and it had no GUI in a modern sense, so programming it was necessary to use it. I fell in love with coding right then and there.
How did you learn?
What's your favorite part of being a coder?
I can't pick one thing! Being able to customize the world around me, and to help others with my coding skills. If I see a service or tool that doesn't exist, I have the ability to create it to hopefully improve my life or others' lives. I also love the total absorption of working on a challenging problem. The process of fixing a bug or learning a new thing sucks me in every time and I forget where I am or what time it is. Lastly, I get to share my code for other developers to benefit from which is very humbling.
Suz streaming on Twitch !