I was going to be an artist.
Everyone knew I’d be an artist when I grew up.
Everywhere I lived during my childhood—the heart of Tennessee, the coast of California, the Texas border—I was known as the girl who could draw.
I loved art, but I wasn’t sure how to translate those skills into making a living. In 2003, I went to the University of North Texas to study graphic design and new media, hoping to turn a degree and the art skills I’d gained from a nationally-recognized art teacher into something that would help me, well…
Not be a starving artist, basically.
But I became a web developer.
Hey, I had those skills!
I made my first website a decade earlier, in 1996, using Netscape Composer. It had an animated starry background, a few pictures of my art, some rainbow horizontal rules, and way too many Mario Kart animated gifs.
I continued to learn by creating many embarrassing websites throughout middle and high school.
That gave me the opportunity to join the smart and supportive people in the College of Arts & Science’s IT Services organization. (A little bit of networking and luck didn’t hurt, either.)
3 years later, I was promoted to full-time Web Architecture Manager.
I dropped out of college. At the time, I didn’t have the maturity and time management skills to juggle my first full-time job and school.
And besides, wasn’t getting a decent paying job the whole point of getting a degree?