Tara Westover is an educator, teacher and mother.
She is also an avid student of engineering and the intersection of technology and education.
She currently works as an engineer and educator, and is a self-described “computer geek” and a “nest egg of knowledge.”
I caught up with her to learn more about her career path.
What was your earliest introduction to technology?
My earliest introduction was to a video game called “Pixar” that was one of my first electronic games.
I was a little kid and was obsessed with the idea of having my own little platformer.
I wanted to build my own platformer, and I started playing “Papertronica” and “Puzzle Island.”
I would get a little excited about it and play it a lot.
My parents bought me a Commodore 64 and played it for hours, and it was awesome.
I would play it, and then my mom would tell me to stop playing it.
She would say, “We don’t like that.”
And that was that.
I just kind of got on with it.
I think the first time I got really into it was in high school.
We were in a math class and I was watching some video games.
And I saw this game called Pac-Man, and Pac-Land, and Tetris, and they were just crazy, like crazy platformers.
And my teacher was like, “I can’t believe you are playing Pac-Mon.
Why aren’t you playing Pac Man?”
And I was like “What are you talking about?”
So I said, “Oh, I’m a Pac Man player.
So I got in a game, and at the end of the day I was just like, oh, man.
I don’t know how to do anything else.
I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland.
I think it’s a suburb that’s kind of cool.
The kids were like, they don’t even like to play Pac-Mans anymore.
But we didn’t play them because we didn ‘t know what we were doing, so we just played Pac-man.
I started learning programming when I was about 12.
I didn’t have any computer classes, but I was still learning stuff.
And at 16, I had a computer and it looked at everything that I wanted.
I had access to a lot of video games and stuff, but the only way I could play games was with the Commodore 64.
And so I got the Commodore, I got a little computer and started learning what the Commodore was, and playing games, and learning programming.
I kind of moved on to computer graphics, and in fact, I became a graphic designer, and that’s where my interest was.
I kind of fell in love with computer graphics at the same time that I was into programming.
And as you know, programming is very visual, and graphics is very more visual.
I started programming in 1999.
I got my first job working on an app called “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and it had a little game called Power Rangers.
And that’s when I first got my interest in computer graphics.
When did you start learning about computers?
I had no idea at the time, but at the age of 14 I was playing a lot with my friends on Atari 2600.
And one day, I was in a car, and the car had this thing on it that would let you turn the steering wheel around, and you could put your hands in the slots of the steering wheels.
So I started trying to figure out what this was and how to make a computer do it.
And by the time I was 16, it was my passion.
And it was the only thing that I knew how to program.
And now, I work for a company called SparkFun and I’m working with people in the education industry, and we’re helping schools with a computer science curriculum.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career?
The first challenge is finding the right people.
When I was younger, I worked at a company that had a company, and my mentor, a former executive, told me, “Look, you have to get into this industry to get ahead.
You have to learn to speak, and to write code.
And to be a successful programmer you have got to learn all these things.”
I was 17, and after I got out of high school, I started my own company called “Coffee and Games.”
And when I got to college, I joined a company to be an engineering major.
So, I did my engineering degree, I spent my first three years working at a software company.
And when my senior year of high-school was over, I left the company to go to the University of Maryland at College Park.
That was a real tough time.
I was the youngest person in the class.
I’m like, I