How This Ballerina Became a Software Engineer

Kara Luton: Software Engineer


I grew up doing ballet so I wanted to be a professional ballerina for the longest time. I even moved to New York City by myself at 17 to train full-time with the Joffrey Ballet School. While I was there I realized that I loved ballet but that I would be lucky if I could make my career last until my 30s because of how hard ballet is physically.

That’s when I decided to move back home to Nashville, TN and pursue another passion of mine - public relations! I studied PR all throughout college and landed a job as a music publicist after college. I loved what I did but it was extremely stressful and after a few years I knew I needed to switch careers.

I stumbled upon Codecademy and fell in love with coding. That’s when I knew I wanted to pursue software engineering professionally.

The biggest thing I ran into while job searching were people that were biased against me because I attended a bootcamp rather than getting a CS degree. It’s absolutely crazy to me that some people don’t like bootcamp graduates. Bootcamp grads and self-taught devs are some of the hardest working and determined people I have ever met. You’re ridiculous if you don’t want someone like that on your team.

I’m currently working as a software engineer on the UX team at CrowdStrike. The team is amazing and I feel that I’m really being pushed as an engineer which is something I really looked for when I was job searching. It’s actually a really random story of how I got this job.

Jessica tweeted to DM her a short bio about yourself if you were anonymously job searching so I did. She posted my tweet and the director of my current team responded. I went through the job interview process and became part of the team. It’s crazy how one tweet can land you a new job. I’m really thankful for Jessica taking time and posted about me (and many others!) and I hope I can do the same one day for someone else.

WTF moment : I remember sitting down with a coworker from when I worked in the music industry and telling them that I was quitting to pursue being a software engineer. They looked straight at me and said: “But you don’t seem like someone who would code.” I was baffled. What does it mean to not seem like someone who would code?!

Literally, anyone can code if they want to. It doesn’t take a certain type of person to do it.