About me


Hai. I’m Kari.

I started this blog in 2014 to share my adventures as attempted to teach myself programming in my spare time and become the first internal transfer onto my company’s engineering team.

I think I’ve always had some natural engineering tendencies. I almost got fired from my first job at Amazon after spending a week neglecting emails to write a macro that would automate myself out of a few hours of work. After watching “Clueless”, I taught myself HTML, determined to write a program to help me pick out clothes in the morning. And despite getting a degree in Finance, I moved into increasingly more technical roles, often making up the job description myself.

A few years ago, I was tasked with creating some reporting that was fairly impossible using the things I knew at the time (excel, SQL, VBA). I didn’t know it then, but I would look back on the stress and frustration and 15 hour days as a pivotal time in my career.  It was a sunny Wednesday morning when I used a linux command (`sed`) to format a csv file with millions of lines in a matter of seconds. I immediately signed up for a linux class and developed a love for the command line so deep that it inspired me to give programming a real try. A few months later, I met a woman who had quit her job in Marketing, finished a coding bootcamp class and is now working as an engineer at Twitter. As unlikely as it might have been to do what she did, it was all I needed to hear to go for it.

I started this blog for a few reasons. Because computers are hard and I needed a place to vent. Because engineers are bad at explaining things and I wanted to capture what it was like to be a beginner. Because people have a tendency to share their success stories, skipping over their (numerous) failures and I wanted to share mine. And because I know how little it took me, one woman’s off-handed comment, to go for something I wanted. And if sharing mine helped anyone, I owed it to the universe.

Today I’m a software engineer at Airbnb working in the complex and fascinating world of payments. I still feel like I found the worlds most creative hiring loophole, and suffer from imposter syndrome daily, but it continues to make for great blog entries, so I welcome the pain 🙂

Hopefully you enjoy the self-deprecating humor and please drop me a comment if you wanna talk shop.

xo- Kari


14 thoughts on “About me

  1. At first I was like wow when I saw the video shared by hacker rank about your journey but when I read your post here, I was like WHAT. You moved from finance to engineering !

    To my knowledge it must be like a dream to get into finance domain. The reason being the money, industry contacts thru mergers and acquisitions.

    What is the reason for you to move from finance to software engineering ?

    • Hey there! What I did wasn’t complicated at all. I have a Macbook pro which has an HDMI port as well as a thunderbolt port. So I got 2 converters, 1 VGA => Thunderbolt and 1 VGA => HDMI 1I just plugged them both into the Mac 🙂

  2. I am studying economics in Prague and thinking about switching to CS.
    So I started codeacademy (HTML,CSS), easy stuff.
    Then I came across to PHP, MySQL and I am stuck.

    Thanks to your blog and YT video, you showed me that I am not alone in this despair.
    Keep doing what you doing!

    I wish you best luck! 🙂

    • You are definitely not alone! This stuff is *really* challenging, but totally doable if you keep with it. Getting stuck is all part of the process 🙂 Good luck!

  3. Which coding language should I start learning in order to become a programmer? I’ve done some research about where to start and they all suggest different starting points. Some suggest HTML and CSS while others suggest Ruby or C++/C#. What would you suggest?

    P.S your montage video is such an inspiration, I’m so pumped to learn how to code.

    • Thanks Jonathan! I struggled with the same thing in the beginning. IMO, the hardest part is knowing where to start. For me, the language decision was easy because the job I wanted required Ruby but for someone just getting started, it can be tricky. I think it all depends on what your goals are but really at the end of the day it doesn’t matter much because the concepts you learn transfer to the next language. I agree with dacianabailey in that starting with a front end language (HTML, CSS) is a good way to get your feet wet, it’s typically how most people start.
      I’d do some research on what languages are common for what type of project you want to do and go from there. Ruby and Python are great if you want to jump in and knock out some projects fast. C++ is less “magical” and therefore forces you to learn more “under the hood” coding.
      But ultimately, the best advice I can give is just jump in and get going. 🙂
      Best of luck!

  4. reading some books and solving online lame challenges won’t make you an engineer.
    stop misusing the title, as a real engineer i found this annoying.

    • I couldn’t agree more with you. Reading “some” books and solving “lame” challenges will not make you an engineer. But that is not what I did nor what I’m advocating. Books and tutorials are, however, a great resource to get started and see if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing seriously, which *is* what I did, for years. I’m not sure what you mean by “misusing” the title, my job title is “Software Engineer” but trollers gon’ troll…

  5. Kari,

    Your programming journey is inspiring and impressive! Thanks for sharing it! Found your story through Codecademy and am glad I did as it has given me more fuel to keep on learning and growing in my programming journey. Cheers! 🙂

  6. Hi Kari, thank you for this blog. I’m kind of in between things/not sure of things at the moment and your blog posts and video on transitioning from finance to engineering really gave me the insight and boost I needed to put my next foot forward. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s