Spatial Networks looks quite a bit different today than it did at the beginning of 2018.
Not only has our team grown by more than 50%, we’ve made significant headway on some exciting new products that we plan to bring to market next year!
Among all the changes, a few of the folks on staff took the opportunity to challenge themselves with a new role - some even setting off on an entirely new career path! Our Junior Software Engineer Emily Jirles was one of them.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I’m originally from southeast Ohio, a small place in the Appalachian foothills (aka the only part of Ohio that has hills) - more of a village than a town. I went to school at University of Dayton and majored in International Studies - I wanted to be a diplomat or a staffer, some job where I could be an international affairs/politics specialist. I actually spent a year abroad in China through a David L. Boren Scholarship, studying Mandarin and courses on Chinese society (Chinese lit, political economy, religion, etc).
I moved to DC, worked in immigration offices until I got a job at the State Department working in the Office of Global HIV/AIDS Coordinator. I started out as a Public Affairs Officer and eventually transitioned to supporting key front office personnel like the Chief Strategy Officer.
How did you get into this industry?
Originally, I joined Spatial Networks as a Jr. Intelligence Analyst. I wanted to pursue a career as an analyst, researching an issue, writing reports, and providing actionable intelligence for a client - and SNI was willing to train me even though I had little on-the-job experience.
How did you come to decide to move to the engineering team?
Turns out, I didn’t like analysis work as much as I thought I would. But I did find myself being drawn to the technical side of the house - the data and engineering teams. I had thought about pursuing a career in data or engineering before and being surrounded by so many passionate and talented tech people solidified that wish for me. Plus, engineering still had a lot of the parts of analysis that originally attracted me: problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and language learning.
So, I spoke with some folks in management and put a proposal together to take some online courses and attend an online bootcamp with the appropriate technology stack. Several months later, I’m a Jr. Software Engineer!
What does your job entail?
Right now it’s a lot of learning on the job - exploring our code base by looking for bugs to fix, helping out with customers’ technical questions where I can (normally by looking for more bugs), and some feature building like finishing up an update of our data events editor in Fulcrum.
Emily's dog, Nikko
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Having a job where I enjoy what I do everyday. Also I have to walk the dog. (Nikko is a Merit Pit Bull Foundation foster. I also have a cat named Caly.)
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The need to be constantly learning - not just about this particular code base, but languages, frameworks, code libraries, and other developer tools are constantly changing, I love learning so this actually drew me to the field, but it does mean you can’t become complacent.
What do you do outside of work?
I’ve recently gotten into running, which is a first for me in my life. I’ve played sports before, but I wasn’t a track athlete. I’m going to run my first marathon next year. The longest uninterrupted run I’ve been on so far was 6 mi. So only 20.2 more to go!
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m planning to hike the Appalachian Trail with my sister in a couple years. Backpacking is also something that will be a first for me. But I’ve got time to learn how it’s done.
Emily's cat, Caly
What’s your favorite place in the world, and why?
Probably southeast Ohio, where I was born and grew up. My family is there, I have childhood memories there. I like that it’s rural and that there are hills and how it looks in the fall when the leaves change. But I’m also very glad I don’t live there anymore… too small.
Want to join the Spatial Networks team? To learn more about our company and view current openings, visit spatialnetworks.com/company.