Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Krane

lizkraneIn the weeks leading up to Website Weekend LA 2016, we’ll be shining the spotlight on some of the volunteers who will be donating their time and talent during the event to help build websites for local nonprofit organizations that are doing good in the community. Today, we meet Liz Krane!

What’s your day job?

I’m still in the midst of a gradual career change after quitting my job in communications/marketing/PR to start getting more into software development. Right now I’m doing freelance web development, and I’m finally starting to feel like a legit programmer!

I also spend a lot of my time volunteering for women-in-tech organizations and meetup groups; I’m the newest co-chapter leader of Girl Develop It LA! And I also run my own group called Learn to Code LA, which I hope to turn into an official nonprofit one day. Right now I’m really immersed in creating curriculum for programming workshops and organizing events for people who are new to programming, especially for women and others who are underrepresented in tech.

How will you be using your experience to help during Website Weekend?

Any way I can! I offered to help as either a project manager, developer, or designer. I just want to help mentor anyone who is newer to web development than I am, even though I still feel like I’m a beginner at all this stuff too. Helping people learn while helping nonprofits improve their websites at the same time is such a brilliant idea, so I wanted to be part of it!

What was your favorite project that you ever worked on?

My favorite project so far was probably my first Android app, which I made a few years ago just for fun. That was when I learned Java for the first time so everything was completely new to me — the language, the platform, the SDK, even the entire paradigm of object-oriented programming! I spent many hours hitting my head against the wall, but I also learned some valuable lessons that still help me today.

The app itself was just a to-do list with a timer that reminds you to take breaks, based on the “pomodoro technique”. Nothing special or unique in any way. But it was useful for me personally because I had some wrist pains at the time, so I had to make sure I didn’t accidentally use the computer too long. My little app helped me a lot! It also had about 1000 active users, which was pretty exciting for my first app! (It’s called ToDo Timer if you want to try it yourself, but it doesn’t work very well on current version of Android so I wouldn’t recommend it, haha!)

Why are you excited about Website Weekend?

My first hackathon last year (National Day of Civic Hacking) was such an amazing experience. I learned so much and I’m still friends with my teammates! So I want to do what I can to make sure anyone at Website Weekend who’s new to hackathons will have an equally amazing experience. It’s also just fun for me to share in that excitement!

What’s your favorite book, movie or tv show?

How could I pick just one?? OK, well one of the most mind-blowing and beautiful works I’ve ever come across is the book “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid” (affectionately known as just “GEB”) by Douglas Hofstadter. It explores math, art, music and science to develop a theory of how human consciousness arose. Some sections are analytical (and still way over my head because math was never my thing), and other sections are short fictional stories written in the style of Lewis Caroll (“Alice in Wonderland”) that illustrate each new concept in surprisingly creative ways. Recursion and self-reference is a huge theme of the book, which I think is something that all programmers become fascinated (or frustrated) with at some point or another!

What’s your favorite color?

Neon orange. But light blue (like #a7d6f4) is a close second. And the combination of the two is strangely wonderful.

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