After graduating in computer science in 2014, Christine Kendall Unsicker stepped off the BYU campus and into the programming world, and began her career in web development at Lucid Software.
As a web developer, Unsicker and her team solve difficult problems. One of the first challenges Unsicker tackled at Lucid Software involved changing the way one of their graphical programs rendered images. Prior to Unsicker’s work, the process was too slow.
“We put in a lot of work to change the way we rendered things and ended up having some really significant performance improvements,” Unsicker said. “It was really fun because it was a big project and it was really rewarding to see the results.”
Unsicker’s work environment allows her consistent opportunities to learn and develop skills, although it can prove to be challenging.
“The hardest part is working on . . . problems that haven’t been solved before, so you have to find a new way to solve new and challenging problems,” Unsicker said.
The BYU computer science program proved vital to Unsicker as she worked at Lucid Software.
“I feel like . . . the BYU computer science classes gave you good hands-on experience in doing software development, as well as just a good framework for how to think about and solve problems in computer science,” Unsicker said.
The problem-solving skills Unsicker developed at BYU helped her in the work force. Starting her sophomore year, Unsicker was the president of the Women in Computer Science club. She was one of the first undergraduates to get heavily involved with the program, and her involvement led to experiences that proved vital to her in the workforce.
“It gave me a lot of good management experience. It gave me good experience dealing with how to work with other people and organizing big events,” Unsicker said.
Along with good management skills, Unsicker connected with the women in the club and understood the struggles women in science could face.
“I feel I’m able to help other women in my field because of my experience with the club,” Unsicker said.
Unsicker noted how many women lack confidence in themselves and would put themselves down and face intimidation because they felt they lacked experience in the field.
“I really think BYU is a really wonderful place. I really didn’t face much gender discrimination issues in my classes,” Unsicker said. “More of the issues I faced around being a woman in computer science is women’s tendency to put themselves down and think that they’re not good enough when they compare themselves to their male peers that have more experience than them.
Unsicker believes that as women have confidence and reach out to their fellow peers, teaching assistants, and professors for help, they will be able to achieve the demands that are asked of them in school.
“Believe in yourself and . . . make friends with other people in your major. There’s plenty of other people in the major that run into the same problems that you will when you’re doing your projects and homework,” Unsicker said.