A Tech Guru Who Gives Back

Marmoset Tech Team’s Software Engineer, Nichole Mitch Barrett

Marmoset Tech Team’s Software Engineer, Nichole Mitch Barrett

Sometimes the hardest working people are the those operating behind the scenes. They’re the ones always taking on more: from classes to training workshops atop an already 40+ hour work week, always putting in extra time to grow in their personal development. But as they climb, it doesn’t stop with their own growth — they want to bring others up with them.

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This kind of diligence to others is a quality Nichole Mitch Barrett demonstrates on the daily. She’s a champion do-gooder genuinely put in practice for the right reasons and never for shiny, weighty accolades. As a member of Marmoset’s onsite Tech Team, the 30 year old developer has come a long way in advancing her skills as a tech expert. After attending the Art Institute to originally study Graphic Design, it would be a happy accident in her education journey when she discovered a truer passion.

“I realized I had no design skill whatsoever,” says Nichole. “But part of the design curriculum was HTML and I happened to be really good at that.”

With a natural affinity toward coding, in 2009 Nichole began tutoring her classmates on subjects like CSS and HTML. The following year, Nichole started co-running a workshop to help peers build their websites, walking them through the more technical and complicated side of design. This was as much of a signifier to depart from her current program, as much as it was to begin giving back as a tutor.

Apart from naturally grasping programming, the overall draw to helping others was the connection itself. Tracing back Nichole’s exposure to the world of philanthropy, when she was just a kid her stepmom (the associate director of Office Student Education Services at Marquette University) would facilitate a tutoring program for youth. This kind of setting really does instill a sense of community, strengthening a focus immersive in problem solving together.

“In the start of the school year, they would set up all the tutors and assign who’s going to be in which groups,” Nichole recalls. “It was this whole day marathon where they’d serve meals; I had been going to that since I was about 10 years old. I would help with it every year, so I think I’ve always been around this kind of thing, always thinking how those people were cool.”

After completing an internship at Instrument, Nichole began working as a software developer for several years, eventually joining Marmoset’s Tech Team. While at the company, Nichole began the second leg of a prestigious Practical Object-Oriented Design Course, something she completed in October of 2018.

With years of developer experience beneath her belt, Nichole dishes back to the community through an ongoing event Ask a Dev — a free mentorship program that’s held on an international level. The site lays it out in the open, this is an initiative for people who probably don’t have the right resources available to pursue programming or just maybe even just need a a little guidance. The wheels are also in motion for her to begin mentoring for Women in Tech, a program where she’ll get to work one-on-one with her protégé.

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“The tech industry is a large ecosystem, we’re all programmers but we all have different sets of expertise and come from different fields,” says Nichole. “The best way to really learn your craft is by teaching other people, because people ask the most off the wall, the most left-field questions. And so you really have to think why or how, what — think about it and explain it in a way that will make sense to them.”

This outlook and understanding of there being so many different opportunities to lend support is what Nichole intuitively knows; it’s perception that invalidates the creeping question of how does this person make time, allowing the value of giving back to really sink in. It’s a continuous circle where contribution offers great return to the giver too.

“Everybody learns differently, everybody thinks differently,” says Nichole. “And yeah, sometimes it’s intimidating because even now I’ll go to Ask a Dev and be like, I’m not feeling very smart today, I hope no one asks me a question that I don’t know. But I think that’s some of the most rewarding times when someone asks a really hard question that maybe you don’t solve it for them but you can point them off in the right direction.”

Individuals like Nichole keep Marmoset running while also inspiring us to seek more ways of actively offering a helping hand within our communities. This mission to give back has and always will be an integral thread woven throughout Marmoset’s purpose and vision — in the next few months we’ll be highlighting more opportunities for artists, clients, and music lovers to join us in our upcoming community focused endeavors.

Posted on October 19, 2018 and filed under Community, Marmoset, Spotlight: Marmoset.