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Luisa de Miranda

While most people would believe that Art History is as far from software engineering as it gets, Luisa de Miranda would say it’s not as big a shift as you think. After pursuing a career in the art industry, Luisa decided it was time for a change and she is now a proud member of the CSE team. She loves working with a diverse set of customers to develop creative solutions to their problems.

As an Art History major, Luisa has always been interested in the psychology and neurology of how people see art. After working at several art galleries and pursuing other options in the art industry, Luisa realized that it wasn’t making her happy and she needed to do something else. Thinking about going back to school for her Ph.D., Luisa began investigating ancient Greek and cognitive psychology, where she learned about some fascinating use-cases for computer modeling and AI. She found there was a parallel in how her brain was stimulated working with art and creating code. Intrigued by the possibilities these technologies represented Luisa enrolled in a coding boot camp and never looked back.

Luisa found coding to be really satisfying because it let her be creative and build impactful solutions to problems. She believes everyone should learn how technology works because it is becoming a common language between people. Coming out of the boot camp with only six months of experience, Luisa decided she needed to find a job with a structured program to help continue her learning. Luisa applied for the LEAP apprenticeship program at Microsoft. Two years later she is a full-stack software engineer with the CSE team. Her team helps support her continued learning while exposing her to many different situations and customers. Luisa enjoys the hands-on experience she gets with her team while also being given the space to think creatively about problem-solving.

One of the things Luisa appreciates about working at Microsoft is the commitment to giving back to the community like their Hack for Goods and donation matching. Her team recently participated in a Hack for Good to create a VR experience for The Colored Girls Museum, a memoir museum in Philadelphia, which honors the stories, experiences, and history of ordinary women of color. The program was initiated with the hope of creating an interactive, multimedia experience of the museum that would capture the curator’s and artists’ voices and bring them directly to the real women and girls of color around the world, whom the museum is designed to engage and honor.

Luisa’s expertise in JavaScript and React allowed her to take a leading role in pushing the project forward after the hack, because she was the only engineer with a JavaScript-based skillset. She learned these skills at the boot camp where they used almost entirely open-source software to learn on. Open-source software can be a door into the tech world for people with non-traditional backgrounds and limited means. The Colored Girls Museum hopes to make the code available and open to contributions on GitHub once out of the prototyping phase. She hopes that by learning important and desirable frameworks and contributing to their project, more women of color will find their way into major technology companies, like she did, where they can be important voices for inclusion.