Graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a BA in Psychology, Ann Zerega entered the world of sales. However she quickly found herself disillusioned with the profession, and began looking for alternative paths to take. In 1998 she took the family genealogical data and photos that her sister Barb had compiled for a high school history project, and used it to publish a Zerega family website. The sense of satisfaction she had achieved upon its completion was the guide she needed to find her new career.
She immediately began taking night classes at the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension in order to get her certificate in interactive media design. While doing so she worked temp jobs during the day to pay the bills, balancing her financial needs against her long term goals. This was a challenging process that forced her to work harder than she ever had in her life, but she eventually graduated from the program in 2001 and was able to start her new career, securing a position as a web designer and content developer for Seagate Technology’s safety department.
As she progressed in her new profession, Ann became increasingly proficient in a number of programming languages. However she often found that she wasn’t taken seriously as a developer by other engineers in the field due to her early emphasis on design. That sometimes made her question her abilities, but despite that she never gave up. Instead she reached out, finding communities like Women Who Code, where she met like minded people and got the support and inspiration that she needed.