Kay McKelly

Software Developer


Hi, I'm Kay and I'm a full-stack developer in Seattle. I've worked with a wide vaiety of technologies including the NEAP stack (Node, Express, Angular, PostgreSQL), .NET framework (specifically ASP.NET Core 2.0), HTML/CSS/jQuery, and Python (with and without the Django framework). I've worked with a pretty wide variety of technologies and feel confident learning new ones.

My interests include accessibility, mobile-first development, user interface design, security, and privacy. I've also been teaching myself Java and would love to do more with it. For now, I'm most familiar with JavaScript, C#, and Python.

How I Got Here

I've been a bonafide geek since 1998, when I started building websites on Geocities, later editing CSS for my Livejournal layouts and writing my class notes in HTML. Growing up in Silicon Valley, with a father who worked in tech, likely influenced this. I was also fascinated by the communication possibilities and security pitfalls that came with the advent of an Internet-connected world.

When I went to college, I didn't yet realize how well suited I was for a career in tech. After spending my first year as a pre-med major, I switched to sociology. In this, I excelled. I maintained a high GPA in all sociology classes and was encouraged to go on to graduate school. I applied for and attended a PhD program in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

What had not been clear to me when I started college was becoming clearer by the day: I wanted to spend the majority of my time actively building things and solving problems, not theorizing. I loved teaching while in graduate school, but that was not enough to keep me there. I earned my master's degree, writing a 60 page thesis. During my time at UMass I also co-published a piece on intersectionality in sociological journals.

After leaving graduate school, I trained as a home-birth midwife with the Massachusetts Midwives Alliance. I also worked with the Prison Birth Project to provide doula services to pregnant parents who are incarcerated. Midwifery and doula work is how I volunteer. Eventually I hope to offer services as a pro-bono midwife and doula to families who would not otherwise be able to afford it.

In 2015 I decided I wanted to try software engineering, so I taught myself jQuery. Seven months later, I moved from western Massachusetts to start at Galvanize Seattle and have never looked back. Galvanize offered a 6 month program, which I preferred to the usual 3 month program.

After graduating from Galvanize in July 2016, I've been working as a freelance web developer for the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) and Farcaster Consulting Group. IACR first hired me to create a reusable website template for scientific conferences. In the process of building that, I noticed that their process for putting together a conference schedule was unwieldy; I pitched an idea for a conference program creator tool. Check out my projects page for more on these and other things I've built.

When I'm not freelancing, I'm attending a variety of tech meetups and guest-speaking or teaching workshops. In April 2017, I volunteered to teach an Introduction to Angular class with She Codes Now. I'd like to teach more classes in the future on a lot of topics, but for now I'm focused on freelancing and looking for a more permanent position where I can work on a team.


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