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New Crew Member: Isabel Gutierrez-Pils

Published May 11, 2021

Meet our new junior developer, Isabel! 

We first met Isabel through her volunteer work as a fellow organizer of Madison Women in Tech alongside Ten Forwarder Hilary. This winter, she graduated from the programming bootcamp YWeb Career Academy, and we invited her to apply for a recently opened position. 

A long-time employee of the state Department of Natural Resources, Isabel holds a master's degree in conservation biology.  In her first two weeks at Ten Forward, Isabel has paired on (and written!) code in React, Rails and CSS, and even helped with some Spanish translation for an multilingual project. 

We're super excited to have her on the team!

Welcome to the team! Why did you decide to join Ten Forward?

"I was familiar with Ten Forward through Hilary [current Ten Forward co-owner] and Kyla [former Ten Forward software developer].  During the YWeb course, we had several employers talk to us, and I was especially impressed with Ten Forward. After our mock interviews I was asked what company I would like to join. My top choice was Ten Forward because of the focus on work / life balance, inclusivity, and career development. I was very happy when the opportunity to interview came along."

What are you looking forward to learning or doing in your new role?

“I’m looking forward to learning Ruby and Rails and the process of turning user stories into deployable code. ”

Before joining tech, you worked for the DNR and received a masters degree in conservation biology and sustainable development. What sparked your interest in programming?

"As part of an assignment at my previous job, I took a basic HTML and CSS training course. It was the first time I had been exposed to web development or coding. I wanted to learn more. I kept learning on my own as a hobby. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. After attending a few meetups I realized that I really wanted to code full-time and decided to change careers."

Your family emigrated from Mexico when you were a girl, and you grew up bilingual in Spanish and English. How do you think your language experiences have helped you as you learn programming?

"I grew up speaking two languages. We spoke Spanish in the home and English at school. When I started school, I did not know any English, and the teacher did not speak any Spanish. It was an interesting experience. 

Luckily, I thought that the other kids also did not understand the teacher! I thought that was part of the challenge of school. I think my brain became conditioned to look for patterns to try to make sense of what was happening. I also became very attuned to non-verbal cues.  

I do believe that these experiences helped me to learn to code. The process of learning to code is similar to learning a new language in that they both involve logic and syntax and through repetition you begin to understand.  It also helped to know that it is OK to feel confused and overwhelmed, and to just keep going, and trust that eventually I would understand."

Fill in the blanks: "If I could only __ one __ for the rest of my life, it would be __."

"If I could only choose one activity for the rest of my life, it would be gardening."

What's something about you people might find surprising?

"English is my second language."

Favorite board game or video game, TV show or movie, band or musician, emoji.

Board game: Trivial Pursuit

TV Show: 30 Rock, The Office, Better Call Saul

Band or musician: Imagine Dragons

Emoji: 🍩 (Everything is better with donuts)

"Star Trek" or "Star Wars"?


Author details

Hilary Stohs-Krause

Co-Owner and Senior Software Developer