Founder & CEO, Hshtags– New York
Interested in art and programming? Worried that you might have to give one up in order to pursue the other? Don’t worry! You don’t have to give up one or the other in order to work in STEM. We sat down with entrepreneur Kim Goulbourne to learn how she’s leveraging both her graphic design degree and self-taught coding skills to build a new social media search engine.
How She Got Into Developing:
“During my bachelor’s degree I actually self-taught myself development. I think my mother wanted a website at some point and I said, 'Yeah sure I’ll design it.' She then asked 'Kim, can you build it?' and I replied 'No but I’ll try.' So I started teaching myself how to code. I learned using websites, books, and talking to friends. We had a free subscription to Lynda.com back in college, so obviously that helped since I watched a bunch of videos. I just kept going and I kept building many different projects to help myself learn more.”
On Preferring Design vs Developing:
“I applied for both design and dev jobs and I only got developer ones, even though I only got them because I had a background in design. So it’s very weird. But I’ve actually been both doing freelance design and development to keep my creative side active even though I’m currently a fulltime developer. I don’t think I prefer one over the other though because I really like being able to put my ideas on paper, sketch them out, add color to it, then build it. I like that entire process, and I like knowing how to do each part of that process. I can’t pick one.”
Advice for What Classes Are Helpful to an Entrepreneur:
“Definitely business classes. ... It doesn’t have to be accounting or finance, but any of the core business classes that allows you to understand what happens apart from the creative side of a business. Or any business class that allows you to present an idea, because pitching has also been something that I’ve been trying to teach myself how to do better. I don’t think that’s something that just comes naturally.”
Advice For Girls Interested in Entrepreneurship:
“Surround yourself with people who are like you. It sounds so cliché but I feel like since I’ve started this most of my friends went the typical route — they got a job, they’re happy, and so forth. Since I’ve met people like me it’s been much easier to talk about the issues that I’m having and how to solve them with them, versus with my friends who are just like, 'Come on Kim, you’ve got this, just do what you’ve got to do.' I do really think that’s one big thing.”
On Who Inspires Her:
“I think this was always something that I wanted to do. Maybe I didn’t learn the word until later in life, but I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I just realized the other day that my mother is literally just like me. She has had so many businesses in her lifetime and I’m like, 'Oh I get it now, that’s why I’m kind of like you a little bit.' ... She has had ups, she’s had downs, she's started businesses, she's closed them because they weren’t working, and then she just kept going. I think seeing how she’s progressed through all of that definitely helps. I ask her for help all the time.”
Photos by Guarionex Rodriguez Jr.