Hacking Barriers Spotlight: Rashaa Brown (she/her), UX Design

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“Don’t be intimidated by what you think you don’t know. Once you begin the journey you will learn so much in just the doing that it will be a win/win no matter what path you decide to take in the end.”


What prompted you to explore a career in tech?

I wanted to learn a skill set that would be relevant and in demand in the future.

What is your ideal tech job?

I’m not exactly sure. Ideally something that marries creativity and tech

Tell us a little bit about what a typical day looks like for you.

I’m a mom of 5 but each morning my first big adventure begins with waking, dressing, and driving my 3 youngest to school each morning. I return home to begin my other full time and now remote job with a local non profit organization. At the end of the school day I private Uber my girls home again where there’s usually snack, homework, a lot of mom, ma, mommy guess what? to tell me about their every immediate thought, feeling, and emotion, and me getting back to work until the end of my work day. Once I’m done with my paid work I switch back to my non paid full time gig of dinner, cleaning, directing, disciplining, and bedtime evening routine. Once that adventure ends so begin adventures in Treehouse (ideally). Truth-life’s not ideal.

How do you stay motivated to get your tech degree work done?

I find motivation in my teammates both in the help they provide and waving away the dust left from their progress. I also recognize this as a valuable opportunity I do not want to squander so I’m motivated to learn and push forward even though there are many days I’m stifled by a lack of understanding of the material or just exhausted from life.

Who are your biggest fans and cheerleaders as you pursue this certificate?

My teammates and the WITPgh team. The intention of being set up to succeed with the acknowledgement this experience may look very different for me than most traditional tech degrees allows me to move through it with a less stressful determination.

What’s your favorite study snack?

Trader Joe’s Ghost Pepper potato chips. Not really a fan of spicy food so I don’t snack on these often but I do enjoy whenever I do.

What’s your trick to destress?

Sit in a warm quiet space and daydream.

Are there any apps, software, or tools you cannot live without?

Trusted old timey pen and paper. Google suite. Calm, Pandora, Libby, Apple Podcast apps. 

Do you volunteer or have any charitable work you want us to know about? 

I’m not volunteering my time right now-my time is extremely limited right now but I donate to a few organizations. One that I’m most inspired by is the Edja Foundation/Nyaka which is an amazing organization supporting victors of sexual and gender-based violence in southwest Uganda.

My favorite is being apart of something when I look in the image of self is reflected back out..

What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the Hacking Barriers cohort?

My favorite is being apart of something when I look in the image of self is reflected back out. I’m apart of something that is designed to support and cater to the unique needs and experiences of women of color in tech and provides some great tools and support for overall emotional health and wellbeing as well.

If you had to pick an intersection of tech what would it be? And Why? (Ex: TechXArt, TechXFashion, TechXSocial Good)

TechXCrafting or TechXFood

What is a piece of advice you would give to others who want to apply for a tech Bootcamp or something you wish you could tell your past self?

Don’t hesitate or talk yourself out of the first step of applying. Don’t be intimidated by what you think you don’t know. Once you begin the journey you will learn so much in just the doing that it will be a win/win no matter what path you decide to take in the end.

Tell us about a time you felt extremely accomplished in the past couple years.

To date, my children are my greatest accomplishment. It’s not just their mere existence alone but the stories they may share of every day experiences where they responded with compassion, kindness, generosity, composure, professionalism, love, patience, intelligence, etc. Like all humans, they have their areas of improvement which have no doubt either been mitigated or exacerbated by their parents learning curve. Nonetheless, the sacrificial efforts of being a parent are not immediate so to witness them exhibit positive character is beyond gratifying. It’s the culmination of years of effort into a single moment that makes my heart smile.

Favorite Motivational Song?

Anthony David’s Can’t Look Down

Favorite Quote?

Do it right or don’t do it at all

Where can we find you?

@rashaacohran


Hacking Barriers is a remote learning collaboration to decrease barriers of entry into the tech industry by  WITPGH  in partnership with Team Treehouse + The Center On Interracial Relationships + Neighborhood Allies.  The cohort features an entirely remote learning and support program for BIPOC women that employs a multi-pronged approach to the popular bootcamp method of learning programming and design related technical skills. The program includes local networking and work-life balance resiliency workshops with a structured 6 month online technical bootcamp featuring tracks for Python, Front-End Web Development, Full-Stack Development, User Experience, and PHP.