Erica Kwan: Why I’m Coding for America

I’ve been a programmer for a while and I’ve built some nifty things. I’ve also been ridiculously fortunate. I’ve been able to live in San Francisco for around five years now and work in an industry where I’m in high demand. I’ve met a lot of really wonderful, intelligent people in my field and have grown my skill set immensely.

However, most of the projects I’ve worked on so far haven’t had a large impact on other people (with the exception of my last gig). As I’ve leveled up in my career, I’ve wanted more and more to work on things that help people and to use my skills to benefit other people, not just me. Before deciding to come to Code for America, I promised myself that I would try hard to find a job that was fulfilling.

A lot of my previous work has been infrastructure and internal tooling related. This type of work can lead to a lot of yak shaving. There have been days when I’ve been in the middle of a yak shave and it’s been hard to stay motivated to complete the tasks required at the time. The next time I do some yak shaving (which is inevitable), I get to do it for a good cause.

I’ve always been interested in social justice and social welfare and I strongly believe that good, working government can foster both. Being exposed to all the good work that Code for America has done, has made me excited to work here. I’m looking forward to putting all of my infrastructure-y, backend, and ruby related knowledge towards supporting Fellows as they help make government more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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