The Beginning

I’ve been a “liberal arts person” my whole life. For most of my academic career, I have identified English and History as my favorite courses. But oddly enough, Physics class turned out to be the most interesting class in high school, and BC calculus was my favorite class in the Winter term of my freshman year in college. I realized that this interest wasn’t isolated for the last couple of years — in my spare time, computer programming has been a hobby of mine since sixth grade. It’s taken me 8 years to realize that I actually love applied math, especially when it results in a cool video game or a groundbreaking website. About two months ago, in the middle of the first academic course I’ve ever taken in computer science (Intro to Java, of course), I realized that I had to pursue this discipline more seriously. I had way too much fun at school last term to not continue with computer science.

Since then, I’ve thrown myself headfirst into the tech world. Over the past two months, I’ve created a Twitter account (@mmcnierney), joined Hacker News, and created a GitHub account. There are probably more — I can barely keep track of it all. Oh yeah, there’s this blog too.

The best part of it all is I’ve had the incredible opportunity to intern at this summer, a start-up based in New York City that wants to be the Pandora for the art world and has some serious potential to shake up the fine art industry. Over the past month, I’ve gone from knowing very little about Ruby on Rails and jQuery, not to mention never having heard of git, Backbone.js, Haml, SASS, or MongoDB, to having a fairly solid working knowledge of the “bleeding edge” of web development. Just as exciting has been all I’ve learned about start-up culture from working in General Assembly, which has turned out to be the greatest work environment imaginable, as well as all the lessons I’ve had in managing tech teams from both the founder and the head of engineering. More on that later.

I’m at the very beginning of what I hope will be a long career in this industry, and I want to record all that I’m observing and learning. I’m going to be documenting the programming challenges I’m working on, because the more I learn about open source the more I want to contribute back to the community that has given me so much for free. But I’m also going to be commenting on start-up culture and the more intangible things I’m learning, while talking about the projects I’m working on and what I’m doing during the school year to stay connected with this incredible tech world that I barely knew existed until very recently. I intend for this blog to have something for everyone, so enjoy! I know I will.