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Member Spotlight: Be yourself and trust in yourself

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Written by Johanna KlayApril 21, 2020

Women Who Code’s Networks are local and digital groups that bring people together to inspire them to excel in their tech careers. WWCode DFW is our Dallas / Fort Worth location and is also one of the biggest WWCode Networks we have with over 4,000 members.

One of the things that our networks excel at is highlighting our incredible members, helping to raise their professional profile while also changing the perception of the tech industry. Each quarter we spotlight on a new member and this quarter we chose Charissa Johnson.

Charissa is a Software Engineer at Bluebeam in Dallas, Texas working with React and .NET on a daily basis. This year she’s already impacted the WWCode DFW community by leading a tech talk on Pair Programming Best Practices.

Her coding journey is unique in that she started off as a Military Medic. As her time in the army came to an end, she decided that she didn’t like the profession enough to continue pursuing it as a civilian. So she started looking at other career paths, and that’s when she found coding.

Charissa sort of “fell into tech” as she started off just coding for fun. Eventually, she decided that she enjoyed it enough as a hobby that it might be a good career path, so she took a leap of faith and joined a Coding Boot Camp. That, paired with self-taught learning,  landed her at her current position working for Bluebeam just a few weeks after graduating.

She’s been a member of multiple chapters of Women Who Code for a few years, including Seattle, but became actively involved in DFW in late 2019.

She joined looking for a group of women in STEM and stayed for a strong network of supportive and encouraging members. It is exciting to watch her come into her own as an engineer and push past imposter syndrome in her day-to-day work life.

When she’s not working as a software engineer, you can find Charissa with her precious dogs. They are by far her main priority, and she even takes them with her when she goes hiking and swimming. She manages to read 1–2 books a month on top of doing yoga, biking, boxing, and even rock climbing!

Her motivation to tackle each day is having a job she loves and co-workers that she enjoys. She loves the opportunity to work on a project she cares about and having the chance to continue to build toward her personal and professional goals.

When asked what advice she had for other engineers she said, “Be yourself and trust in yourself. And keep going, keep trying. As long as it’s something you enjoy and something you want to do, and you put in the effort, you’ll reach the goal you have in mind for yourself.”

Find her on Twitter at: @DevCharissa

See the full interview with Charissa on YouTube.

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