Jessica Bell

Tell us about your background: What do you do now, where did you get your start?

I studies International Relations at San Francisco State University and came to DC to work in that field. I got a job at an association and worked my way into the communications role there. While in that role, I was in charge of the website, blog, social media, customer relationship datatbase, ect. These tasks let me to learning more about the internet and web development on my own. After a few months I ended up taking a part time General Assembly course in front end web development. A few months after the course finished I got a job as a front end and drupal developer. I learned on the job, went to lots of meetups, and got involved with the women in tech scene in DC. I helped organize for DC Tech Meetup, Women Who Code DC, and DCFemTech. Currently I am a developer for The Washington Post, I teach part time at General Assembly, sit as the chair of the DC ACM chapter, and produce a podcast called DC Tech Stories! Been quite the journey!

How do you believe you use your strengths in the context of your work?

I am QUITE an outgoing person as well as a naturally organized one – these two strengths help me to be an effective event organizer. My community organizing helped me make a small name for myself in the DC Tech scene. On the programming side – my organization definitely helped me a lot – not everyone is an amazing programmer but EVERYONE can write clean, well organized, well documented code. Now, after learning how to code and changing careers, I have a new sense of empowerment which helps me channel my skills into my leadership style and daily work.

Detail a day in your life — from wake to sleep.

Coffee -> Check emails/Jira tickets -> code a few hours -> lunch and gym (if I can convince myself) -> meetings or more coding -> after work usually dinner with my partner, drinks with friends, or an event around town! Saturday and Sunday are saved for friends, relaxation, time outside, and of COURSE Dungeons and Dragons!!

Why did you join/start your current company?

I started at The Washington Post January 2017 – QUITE a time to join!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Fake it till you make it is about confidence not skills – you don’t have to be the best developer in the room but be confident in your ability to learn. Own your own learning journey – ask questions, be positive, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about where you are in YOUR journey, not theirs.

What is one word that describes your leadership style?


The Women in Tech campaign exists to help redefine what women in technology means in the 21st century. Started independently by a group of professional women who, after many impassioned discussions about women in tech knew we wanted to expand this definition beyond ‘traditional’ technology skills. To us, it includes most every current, emerging or evolving role within an organization. By featuring leaders and emerging leaders across industries who embody this we hope to collectively ‘stand up’, be proud of our place in the digital world and inspire young women or those new to the ‘tech space’ to get involved.

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