Hi, I'm Lauren Haynes, from Chicago, Illinois!
What do you work on?
I work for a company called GiveForward, a crowd fundraising platform to help individuals pay for Medical Bills. To date we’ve raised over $80 million for people in need. I'm a Product Manager, which is a mix of Agile project management and business analysis - I have to hear what the different stakeholders want or need from our product and decide what we're building, as well as prioritizing the tasks at hand. Then I have to take all of that and communicate it in a way that makes sense to the software engineers so they build the product we're envisioning.
In the past, I was a IT Manager for a non-profit and a consultant for Fortune 100 companies around Knowledge Management and Collaboration. The coolest thing I’ve ever built was a 10 foot wide by 7 foot tall interactive wall for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia based on artwork for the Louvre.
How did you learn to program?
My high school calculus teacher encouraged me and three of my close female friends to take his AP CS class. We learned C++. I continued with CS as a minor in college, where I took a Principles of User Interfaces and found Human Computer Interaction; it’s basically the intersection of Computing, Psychology, and Sociology. I love looking at how technology changes people, and how they in turn change technology.
What do you do when you're not programming?
I actually don’t program that much in my job, but understanding programming is hugely important for my role in product management, as it helps me scope out what we're building for the website and how we’re going to get it done.
When I’m not on the job, I’ve been taking Lindy Hop/Swing Dancing lessons for about the last year and a half, and go out social dancing when I can. It’s a really nice release. I’m also on the Board of Directors for a non-profit called Break Away that focuses on service learning trips for college students, and life long active citizenship.
What’s your one piece of advice for new programmers?
Programming is super creative - find a problem you’re interested in solving or something you want to create and it will make the challenges worth solving.