By Heather Stith

An early love of math and science and fun at the machine shop where her dad worked convinced Brooke Brown to pursue engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in her hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana. A required computer science course there shifted her focus to coding. “I absolutely loved it…it was something that came very easy to me,” she explains. After going to college programming classes where she was the only woman, she finds being one of several women who are software engineers at hc1 “refreshing.”

As an intern, Brooke faced the challenge of adding a client-requested feature to hc1 CRM’s search function. This project involved the whole stack and gave her the opportunity to work on both the back end and the front end. Throughout the process, hc1 team members were always ready to answer questions, helping her get the most out of her first professional programming experience. Brooke credits this welcoming, relaxed culture as being a major reason she wanted to work for hc1. Having witnessed family members deal with major illnesses, she also was drawn to working for hc1 by its mission to unlock answers to solve healthcare’s biggest challenges. “I’ve seen first-hand how broken the system can be, especially when you’re bouncing between doctors.”

Through serving as a peer mentor in TechPoint’s Xtern program and other volunteering, she has become more comfortable speaking up in technical conversations and has learned that she is “definitely an introvert, but I am good at making myself an extravert when needed.” At work, Brooke is proudest of implementing Amazon Kinesis to improve hc1’s data collection and analysis of the production environment. The project involved keeping lines of communication open with her collaborator and dealing with the pressure of a tight deadline, all while learning a new AWS product. She’s happy just “getting to be in the code, writing things every day.”

Although she didn’t win the 2018 Rising Star award, Brooke Brown exemplifies the qualities such as innovation, expertise, and service that the Women & Hi Tech Leading Light Awards celebrate. Her advice for women considering a career in software engineering? “You’re always going to run into guys who think they know more than you because of your gender. Don’t let it bother you. Ignore it. Move on. Prove them wrong. Proving someone wrong can be a really good driver sometimes. It’s kind of nice to have the ‘I told you so’ moment.” She continues, “Within software, there’s so many different directions you can go…Don’t pigeonhole yourself into something just because it’s the easy thing to do. Figure out what you enjoy. Because if you enjoy it, it’s not going to be a job.”

Interested in learning more about hc1 or joining our team? View our open positions.

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