Meet Devin Held

“I love to travel! This picture was taken at Machu Picchu after hiking up the mountain for an hour and a half at 4:30am, prior to hiking another two hours up Machu Picchu mountain (and ALL the way back down!). Not to mention my wrist was broken just before the trip,” says Devin.

“I love to travel! This picture was taken at Machu Picchu after hiking up the mountain for an hour and a half at 4:30am, prior to hiking another two hours up Machu Picchu mountain (and ALL the way back down!). Not to mention my wrist was broken just before the trip,” says Devin.

Devin Held graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine, and her Masters of Science in Computer Science from Western University. She currently works as a Lead Software Developer, Omnia AI (Artificial Intelligence) for Deloitte Canada. In her spare time, she loves to travel and is aiming to visit 50 countries before she turns 25. She loves adventuring in new cities, visiting coffee shops, exploring the unknown, as well as teaching and mentoring people who are learning to code.

When did your love of STEM begin?

My love of STEM began early on in elementary school when I realized I was a natural at Math and Science subjects. I always loved the challenge of Science subjects. I began basic coding when MySpace became popular, where I created customized templates for my webpage. It wasn't until university when I decided that I wanted to major in Computer Science, where I really got into coding. I loved it from my first class! Coding came naturally to me, and I found myself constantly searching for more optimal solutions and expanding on my knowledge. I began tutoring students at university Python, Java, and SQL classes, sometimes when I hadn't even taken the course myself! After many research positions and internships, I decided I wanted to continue my education with my Master’s degree, where I specialized in software and systems (like my undergrad). During grad school, I volunteered with a "Let's Talk Science" program and went out to schools to help run workshops for toddlers and elementary students. I worked on two failed tech start-ups throughout grad school, and participated in many hackathons across the US and Canada. I could go on all day about different things that have continued my love for STEM, but these events (and more) have helped me retain my joy towards STEM subjects.

What is the best part about working in the field of STEM?

I love the challenge. I love that one solution to a problem may not be the solution to another problem. I enjoy taking a concept I have learned and applying it in an exponentially more difficult problem. I love being able to look at an application or website and be able to guess how it is built, how the components communicate together, and what languages were used to build it.

What advice would you give young women interested in a career in STEM?

Take other people's doubt and turn it into motivation. There are plenty of people that would love to see you fail, but you can't let this stop you! The second you stop letting that bother you, the more you can focus on yourself and what you love to do!