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By Makula Dunbar

From office receptionist to web application developer, it was Monique Boea’s curiosity of what the tech industry was all about that encouraged her leap. “The $80-90,000+ salaries that were being offered caught my eye,” said Boea, founder of African-American Women in Technology. “I started getting curious and asking ‘What is this web development stuff?’ One of my coworkers said, ‘It’s too hard. Keep answering the phones.’”

Perceiving her coworker’s doubt as a challenge, Boea researched the field discovering that language was the driver behind software programs and the Internet. Self-taught in Photoshop, Boea was able to convince the software team at her office to let her take over the creative end of application development. Soon after she studied and grasped different programming languages, she landing her first job in IT. Read on to learn what AAWIT is all about and how Boea mastered the web development space.

How exactly did you get involved in web application development?

I worked for a while in the creative capacity and started studying a few programming languages. At this time, a popular IT job site was starting and needed someone to build the company Intranet. I had the graphics part down, but used Cold Fusion, a programming language that I had never heard of before. Somehow I convinced myself and the hiring manager that I could not only learn the language, but learn it well enough and fast enough to build it by a certain deadline. I landed my first web development job and made the deadline. I went on to work as a Web Application Developer for several major companies like Cingular Wireless and AIG.

Personally, what is it about this field that excites you the most?

The ability to be creative, solve problems and build applications that I know the world will use. I love everything about it.

Can you elaborate on your role as a developer and how your career has changed over the years?

I started as I stated before creating an Intranet  — which is used within a corporate setting for the employees. As time progressed, I graduated to a junior developer where you work under the leadership of a more experienced developer. During this process, I had to learn other skill sets like SQL (database design and maintenance), languages like Javascript and now JQuery. I am now at the senior level and am currently rebuilding a system that allows medical and research professionals to manage their continuing education credits online.

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