Meet Jewelbots Founder! An interview with #CodingIcon Sara Chipps on learning, work, dreams and more

We couldn't be more excited to restart fresh with our #CodingIcon interview series on our blog with the nice and cozy conversation we had with our Founder and CEO Sara Chipps.

Coming from a homeschooling environment herself, Sara felt naturally drawn to the way computers "think" at the age of 18 in a C++ class.

How did her career change in the years after that? What drives her motivation every day and what would she change in her path as a female in technology? Read on to see the answers to these questions and more.

Imagine meeting a nice person who does not know you or your name. How would you describe yourself with one sentence only? Who are you?

I’d say my name is Sara Chipps. I’m a software developer and I care a lot about bringing more women into technology.

Now imagine the person you meet is a young girl – would this one sentence change and how?

I would say I’m excited to meet you and I can’t wait to hear about all the things that are interesting to you.

Where are you headed? Where do you want to be in 30 years’ time?

Good question! I don’t know. I ask myself that all the time. But 30 years from now I hope to be mom, retired and to be able to happily look back at my life and career with contentment.

Every woman has various faces she uses in her daily life. What are your favorite faces of yours?

I really like the person that I am at work. I feel like I like to listen, I like to learn. And I feel like I’m the same person usually in my personal life too.

What has helped you the most in the years back? What characteristic feature of yours has been of greatest help to you in your experience so far?

I think my desire to keep learning and my curiosity has been what’s helped me the most in my life. I think that’s a character trait that I really appreciate. 

Is there a weird or funny fact for you, you are willing to share with us?

I used to do the clown makeup for Macy’s Day Parade – this is a Thanksgiving parade here in New York City and I used to travel and to do the makeup for clowns. It was a very fun tradition on Thanksgiving.

What is your personal mission? What leads you forward and nourishes your motivation?

I think that I want to succeed by truly helping people. I don’t chase money – that’s not what motivates me.

When was the a-ha moment for you in your career path? When did you decide to be a coder and when and how did you start thinking about your own business projects in the same direction?

I knew I wanted to be a coder when I was 18 years old and I was taking a C++ class. I was so surprised by how similarly I think to the way computers think and it really just kind of felt natural to me.

How do you manage your life-and-work balance? Is it an easy task for you?

I think work-life balance is something that is always hard. I look for keys and cues in myself to see when I’m getting stressed out. But in general I don’t think of it as a work-life balance. My work and my life require energy in different ways, and different kinds of energy so what I really watch out for is just if I feel like my energy is drained. Often that could affect both my work and my life so I think that’s important. 

How did your work change in the years? What did your professional development look like?

So I used to be just a developer – everyday writing code and that was great. And now my life and career is so much more and that’s been great. My professional development includes having a lot of mentors to learn from, doing a lot of different things and figuring out what I enjoy.

What is the most difficult part of being a female in technology?

Sometimes it’s I think for anyone that ever feels alone in the room, like there’s no one else like them. Or you know “No one looks like me here and I feel out of place”. I think that is really difficult. And I think that applies to a lot of different people but I think that often happens when you are a female in technology.

What part of your job are you most proud of?

When people that work with me or work for me find joy in working with me – that is something that brings me much joy as well. If they feel like they are better at their job because of me and they find it more rewarding - that brings me much satisfaction as well.

If you could in a single snap completely change your professional role, what would your new career path be?

I loved dancing when I was little so I’d definitely be a professional dancer.

What have you discovered about yourself while working in technology?

I’ve discovered that I can solve a lot of really difficult problems that I never would have thought that I can solve before. It’s really increased my confidence in myself and my abilities and that’s been a really neat part of my work in technology.

How do you like to learn in life? Are you a fan of academic learning (school, university and other types of structured education) or do you prefer learning from work, books, mentors, partners, mistakes or anything else?

I’m an autodidact. I learn in all kinds of places and I’m never tired of learning. I am really hands-on learner so I like doing things and that’s often how I absorb things best but I am generally self-taught with a lot of things and that’s generally my direction.

If you start over again, is there anything you wouldn’t change and do the very same way all over again?

I wouldn’t change anything. I think I do have some things that I regret but I think they have all taught me valuable lessons. And so if I could go back, there are a few times where I let people down that I wouldn’t do all over again. But everything else I would do exactly the same. I really appreciate it where my career has taken me and I love being a part of it.