Jenessa White was first exposed to coding in high school through an intro to web development course. There, she learned the basics of HTML/CSS and built her first website which “was terrible but at least the font was awesome.” Jenessa loved the course and couldn’t wait to register for the next level, but soon found out that there was no next course.
A few years later, she found programming again mid-way through her junior year in college. “I thought to myself, ‘I should have been a computer science major,’ but at that point it was too late and what I really liked was actually building things more than I liked the theory,” Jenessa explained.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a degree in Kinesiology and Sport Science, Jenessa started work at SportsEngine, a local Minneapolis startup, as a registration consultant, a role that primarily focused on customer service. “They built software so I was still getting a little bit of exposure, but not a significant amount. Since it was an interest of mine, I paid attention and was always like ‘this is broken, this is broken, how can we fix it?’ I was always the really interested person.”
Next, Jenessa worked in customer service at DirecTV, before deciding she wanted to pursue new opportunities. As she was planning to leave her job, her best friend sat her down and said, “You don’t actually want to do customer service work, do you? You want to be a developer, so why don’t you do it?”