Today we’re talking to Monica, who went the traditional route of getting a CS degree at UCLA before working in industry for several years as a full-time employee. She opens up about the challenges she faced as a female in the minority of her college classes and her experiences working for companies of all sizes. Her story is a unique one, because after working as a full-time employee for several years, she decided to take a break and explore her cultural identity through art. Eventually she returned to tech and was able to balance her creative side hustle with working as a contract-based software developer. On this episode we learn from Monica about the importance of having a strong support system early in your career, the differences between being a full-time employee vs. a contractor, and her unique ways to explore art.