How Being Bad at Coding Lead New Hire Karissa Austin to Tyrannosaurus Tech

My first foray into the tech world happened in my brief stint of attempting to become a developer my freshman year of college. My friends were aspiring computer science majors, and I found their problem sets and tech knowledge to be very interesting. So I enrolled myself in Intro to Java. There was no prior coding experience required, so how hard could it be?

Turns out my friends were computer science geniuses that made it look easy. I ended up spending almost all of my time trying to get my programs to run—most of the time unsuccessfully—at the expense of my other classes. I ended up pass/failing the class to not totally tank my GPA. But mama didn’t raise no quitter, so I took Intro to Python a year later and even self-taught HTML and CSS for an internship while I studied abroad in New Zealand. And although my coding skills improved, I knew coding wasn’t quite for me.

Thus my 19-year-old self had to do some career soul searching. I knew I didn’t want to become a developer, a doctor, a lawyer, a financier, or any of the other high paying jobs my Mexican immigrant mother would prefer I pursue. But I knew that although I couldn’t write in code, I could definitely write in English.

Enter the world of content marketing. My first marketing internship was at Updater, a SaaS startup with a marketing department run by the talented Jenna Wienerman. Working on this all-woman marketing team was probably the best intro to startup marketing that I could have asked for, and it definitely paved the way for my interest in startups and marketing in general.

In some happy serendipity, I heard about Venture for America a week before their final application deadline. Venture for America is a fellowship program that takes recent grads and helps them find work at startups in cities with emerging startup ecosystems, like Atlanta. It was the perfect way to break into the startup world, so I applied, got in, and moved to Atlanta a few months later to start my marketing career.

Since then, I’ve come to truly love the city of Atlanta, started saying “y’all” a lot more than I’d like to admit, and developed a penchant for pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes. I helped build the marketing department from scratch at Search Discovery, a local business intelligence agency where I was marketing team member #1. And now, I’m bringing back my appreciation for coding as a growth marketer for Tyrannosaurus Tech. I knew the company was the right fit when they actually appreciated the fact that the subject line in my application email was a haiku. It’s probably the first and last time that will ever happen, and I am very grateful for that and the opportunity to work with a crew of talented, down to earth individuals.


Also published on Medium.

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