My career as a web and mobile application developer

Life as a web developer is challenging and rewarding. I love my career, love solving problems and writing code.

When I was a little girl, personal computers were still "new" to the world. I grew up with the evolving technology. There were no cell phones, no internet, none of these these high tech devices.  However, technology and electronics always amazed me. It also kept me curious about our ever changing world.  When I graduated high school, I headed off to college thinking I would take the path of most girls to either go into education or nursing. I really didn't know what I wanted to do. I spent a lot of time in the computer lab and in the back of my mind I loved computers but I never knew if there would be a career path for me because it was a field of mostly men. My first inspiration to become a web developer was my sister Song Vang.  She was self taught and we worked on some early web projects back in the late 1990s.  I took my first leap of faith investing in education for myself and the rest was history.

What is a web developer?
A web developer is a programmer who specializes in, or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications, or distributed network applications that are run over HTTP from a web server to a web browser. [Definition from Wikipedia]

What is the difference between a web developer and a software engineer?
The title. Roles and responsibilties differ from organization to organization. In a nutshell, they all code. 

What type of work do you do?
I code web applications for websites, tablets, and mobile phones. I also code native iOS applications and Android applications.  I administrate a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) stack. I've also made applications that integrate with social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. 

What training is required to become a developer?
Most employers require an Associates Degree in Web Development or Bachelors of Science in Computer Sciences.  In this technology field, your education gets you the interview but your skills and experience gets you the job. Some of the best developers I've worked with never went to college.

What are some resources that I can learn to become a developer?
You are in luck! Google is your best friend.  I also recommend learning from and reading books. There are many paid websites that you can subscribe to learn programming languages. Also, you have me! You can contact me using my contact form if you have any questions. I may not always have an answer but I'm here to support you.

What soft skills are required for being a developer?
Passion. Drive. Persistence. Problem solving. Patience. Analytical. Detailed. Think outside the box.

What programming languages do you know?
My first programming language that I learned was Visual Basic, Java, SQL, and ASP. HTML, CSS and JavaScript are standard for web development. From there I learned PHP, Ruby, Objective-C, C#, Angular JS, Swift, and various frameworks/technologies. 

Describe a typical day on the job
First thing in the morning, we have our daily stand up meetings. In this meeting, we provide a quick overview of what we accomplished yesterday, what our goals are for the day, and if have any blockers.  Then I work on the different projects that I am assigned to, attend meetings, and code on my Macbook Pro.  A lot of the day is spent at a computer desk, typing, sitting down, and in meetings.

Who do we mostly work and collaborate with?
There are many team members including your manager, project manager, team lead, other developers, designers, business analysts, security architects, internal/external clients, director, business liasons, other people in the company, vendors, contractors, and most importantly customers! 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Creating apps! I love the challenge that I can create applications that people can interact with.

What do you like most about your job?
I like writing code, troubleshooting issues, debugging, and the fact that there's many ways to reach a solution.

What do you like least about your job?
I've worked with really great male developers and I've also worked with a handful of male developers with very high egos. Sometimes I get cut off before I finish speaking or making my points heard. At a former work place, I got talked down on.  Hey, no one should ever be treated like that.  Sometimes it's a boy's club and I'm not in it.

What is the most difficult challenge being a woman in a male dominated field?
Being a minority person of color and a woman. There's not that many of us so we are always the minority. Support in this area is improving and I'd like to change that to encourage more women and people of color to enter this field. It is a great field! 

What advice would you give someone entering school for programming?
You can start at community college or a technical college. They give you hands on training that most universities don't. Universities teach you theory but most classes are taught in a lecture and you don't get the hands on training like you would in a smaller classroom.  I've done both - community college and university.  Most important fact is find a strong support structure. Align yourself with other students and people who can help you.  Let go of the distractors and focus. If you live in Madison, visit Madison College! It is a great college and the instructors are phenominal. 

Any tips for being successful in this industry?
Find a mentor. I believe strongly in a mentor/peer relationship because it will help guide you in the direction you are seeking.  To stay competitive in this industry you must always be flexible and adapt to new technology. Learning is a continual process.  Over the course of the last 15 years of my career, I continue to learn new programming languages and tools to make me a more efficient developer.

If you would like to ask me any question to make this blog entry more complete, please comment below! 


Hmong North Dakota White Bass Fishing

For years, we've been hearing about other people's adventures fishing in North Dakota.  Two years ago my cousin Yer and brother in law Seng gave us some frozen white bass that they caught in North Dakota.  They were so good and it's been on my mind ever since.

I've been craving white bass so I asked my husband if we could take a fishing trip to experience it.  My cousin Yer has been there before and so we decided to go on a fishing trip Memorial Day weekend to Devil's Lake, North Dakota.  It was a 4 hour drive from Madison, WI to St. Paul, MN to meet up with my parents and my cousin Yer Vang.  We left St. Paul at 11:30 pm Thursday night and got to Devil's Lake around 5 a.m. Friday morning.  My friend Valerie Her and her family also drove to ND for white bass fishing. 

The water was tranquil and calm at Tiger Bay.  We stayed here for a bit to test if the fish were biting.  My dad reserved a boat at Woodland Resort so we drove there next to get the boat.  My dad has a boat but decided not to haul it 6 hours to Devil's Lake so he opted to rent a boat to try out the lake.  He rented a 17 ft Alumacraft boat with a 4 stroke motor. It was $195 ($205 with tax) for a full day rental.  We own a Ranger Z520 bass boat but it was too far to haul it from Madison.  My husband, dad, brother Toby, and nephew Chanze fished on the rental boat. I drove my mom and I to meet up with my cousin Yer.

My mom and I drove around the lake. We drove by Graham Island State Park. It is a beautiful place with trees in the water and rocks surrounding the highway.  Since I was driving, I was not able to take some photos of the pristine scenery.

We then decided to drive over to Spirit Lake Casino to see the guys fish on the boat.  I parked outside the casino and my mom and I took a short 1 hour nap. Then my cousin Yer stopped by the casino to pick us up and we decided to hit up a fishing spot close to the first gas station we approached when we got to Devil's Lake.

We then drove all the way north west to Six Mile Bay on Highway 2. We saw a lot of parked cars and Hmong people fishing.  We fished along the shore.  Later I called my husband and sent a screenshot of my location for them to come to us because the fish were biting.  They came on the boat and fished for a while, then decided to return the boat and come fish on the shore with us.

Later when it got dark, we went back to the hotel and got some rest. My husband got up early at 3 am and headed back to Six Mile Bay to fish.  Fishing was successful and the journey was well .... pretty amazing and unbelievable to say the least.

What I liked about the trip:

  • Beautiful scenery
  • Best tasting white bass fish I've ever had. The fish in WI do not taste as good.
  • If you get a hot spot, the fish bite like no tomorrow! 
  • The white bass are HUGE! I think they are large at this time because they are spawning. The average fish we caught were 18-19 inches long and 3.5 pounds.
  • Spirit Lake Casino buffet is only $7. It's buffet food but it beats eating at McDonald's.
  • Competition is fierce. The adrenaline rush is a sure bet.
  • Lots of Hmong people (can be good or bad).
  • Huge social experience.
  • Family time
  • Being outside with nature
  • Being in the country, away from city life
  • The roads are pretty well kept. Some construction going on but not too bad.
  • Boosting the local economy. Our Hmong people vacationing in North Dakota brings income to the local businesses, hotels, casino, bait shops, boat rentals, restaurants, etc... 
  • To see my mom and dad's excitement!  The smiles on their faces when they caught a white bass was precious!  They loved the experience and want to plan another trip.
  • I had a personal tour guide, my cousin Yer and brother in law Seng! It helps if you go with someone who has fished there before.

What I DID NOT LIKE about the trip:

  • Bugs. THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.  Some bugs look like mosquitoes but they are not. I was actually quite frightened initially but after learning they don't bite, I was able to tolerate them lingering around me. Using bug spray helped a little. They SWARM everywhere especially on the sides of car windows.  If there's a breeze, they aren't a big nuisance.
  • People WITH NO MANNERS or ETIQUETTE. Most of the people fishing around the area were Hmong. There were some caucasions and other asians but they didn't hover over your shoulder.  The caucasions fished where they had plenty of space and elbow room. Meanwhile our fellow hmong comrades were shoulder to shoulder.  I was told this is the social norm and the hmong who fish there have just come to accept this behavior.  NOT OK with ME!
  • People who are ready to pounce on your spot if you move an inch.  Whenever my husband bent over to get a minnow or whenever he turned around to place his white bass into our cooler, some dude would jump or nudge himself into my husband's spot.  I stood next to my husband and my dad. My mom was next to my dad.  
  • People who stand right behind you and cast their rods right over your head.  This is darn right ANNOYING.
  • People who smoke while fishing and throw their ashes right where you are standing. Maybe they are trying to get rid of you, I don't know. Sorry, not giving up my spot.
  • People (who you don't know) pretend to come over to talk to you and then start fishing right next to you. Next thing you know, two more of his friends are standing next to you squeezing you over.
  • People who cast their lines over yours and then they reel in their line and also get tangled up with your line so you lose your fish.
  • People who brought their infant babies and then don't calm their babies when the babies cry.  Go feed your baby, the fish can wait.
  • People who don't know how to park and block your exit.  Even when I asked this girl to move her car, she ignored me and walked down the hill to go fish.
  • People who don't pick up their trash.

Lessons learned:

  1. Know your daily limits for white bass.  In North Dakota the limit for white bass is 20 per day per person.  Please refer to the ND Fish and Game rules.
  2. 80 white bass maximum posession per person at any point in time.  So if you buy an annual license and you are there for 4 days and got your limit, you cannot catch any more fish on the 5th day because you'll go over the 80 max possession limit. If you buy a 3 day fishing license you can only get a max possession of 60 white bass per person (20 first day, 20 second day, 20 third day). Do not get this confused.
  3. Separate your days catch.  If you are there for more than one day, keep your fish separate and know the count per days catch.
  4. Always account for how many people are in the car and total fish count.  We Hmong people travel in large families so if you put all your fish into one car, make sure you never drive alone somewhere transporting all the fish with you. For example: going to the gas station to use the restroom or going into town to buy more bait.  If the DNR game warden pulls you over and you are transporting all the fish in your vehicle, you will be slammed with fines if you are transporting everyone's fish and you are the only person in the car. Remember, your daily limit for white bass is only 20.  Same concept can be applied for other fish and fish restrictions.  It doesn't matter how many people are traveling with you, if they aren't in the car when you get pulled over and the fish count is over your limit--- YOU WILL BE FINED! 
  5. The bait shop inventory is limited so go there prepared. There's a Walmart in town but the selection for lures, hooks, and other fishing products is limited.
  6. There's some spots you can't shore fish because the land belongs to the Native American Indian Reservation.  You have to buy a license separate from the Indian Reservation.
  7. Game wardens are everywhere.  If you see a lot of hmong people fishing in one spot, chances are not too far down the road there's a DNR game warden waiting to inspect your fish count.
  8. Wear sunblock and bug spray.  Don't wear flip flops, they are not safe to walk down on the large rocks.
  9. Be careful where you step, some big rocks look sturdy but once you step on them they start to roll. I tripped a few times and my dad collapsed/fell.
  10. There lots more people on the weekend than on a weekday.  Holidays also attract higher traffic.
  11. Replenish your coolers with ice. We used dry ice (wrapped) in some coolers and it worked out great.
  12. Where there are lots of hmong people, that's where the fish are biting.  I didn't believe it at first but after experiencing it first hand, I can say it's true.

Why do Hmong people want to get the daily limits?

  • Our people like to share our food.  We have big families and usually when we hunt or fish, we always invite our friends and family over to share the enjoyment with us.  
  • Some people believe we take too much white bass but I believe catching white bass is legal per each state's restrictions.
  • To feed our large families.
  • To give away to our relatives and friends.
  • We drive far to get there. If we lived close, we probably could get them fresh and not need to get so many for our effort.

Me and Valerie

Me and Yer

HOT SPOT as of May 25, 2015 - Sixmile Bay by the bridge on Highway 2

Hot spot this week but once spawning is over with, the fish will most likely move to another location. Sorry can't help you out there! Right now at the time we were there, we used live minnows with a small sinker.  The HOT corner spot is on FIRE! If you go too late, you won't get this spot because people fish all night and DON'T leave.

Mangonada Recipe

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I last did a food tutorial. Today I will be sharing my recipe how to make a mangonada.


  • 1 to 2 cups of frozen mangos
  • 1 cup water (adjust if needed)
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes
  • 1 or 2 tsp Mio Liquid Water Enhancer Lemonade flavor
  • 1 tsp Chamoy
  • sprinkle of Tajin
  • tamarind candy stick
  1. In a blender, add frozen mangos, water, and ice. Blend for a few seconds.
  2. In a cup, add chamoy. Then sprinkle some tajin. Then add the blended mango. Add as many layers as you like.

Tips:  If you want a thick texture, add more ice.  If you want is more slushy, use less ice or increase water.


Where can I find these ingredients?


March Giveaway

Enter the form below for your chance to win these gifts!

Contest is closed.

Congratulations to Samantha Vang of Oroville, CA for winning the main giveaway!
Congratulations to Nancy Pierce from New Hampire who won the lotus flower wand.

Congratulations to Koobmong Kong from MN who won the powder food coloring.

Reflections of 2014

[Photo I took of Mt. Everest at Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL]

This past year has been an extraordinary year of my life.  I've never had challenges as quite as this before.  I find that each year of my life gets more and more complex.  I've been running on empty for the past year. I just needed to take a break and press pause.

These are the reflections of my 2014 I wanted to share with you.  I hope the lessons I learned will help you in some small way.

  1. No matter how crazy life gets, hold onto your anchor.  In 2014, my anchor was Song and Nancy.  I would not have made it through the year without these two special ladies.  They were with me every step, every foot forward on this journey. Whenever I felt like I was floating away, they kept me strong.
  2. Every effort counts, no matter how small.  I started 2014 with a bang ... exercising at the YMCA every day from January to end of February and then I quit going. Everyday during that time, after work my family and I went to the White Bear YMCA, Woodbury YMCA, or Coon Rapids YMCA.  Oh how I miss going there so much now.  It was fun exercising as a whole family.
  3. Saying goodbye to my material possessions. My house finally sold in April since I moved to MN. As much as I was happy to get it sold, I was also sad to say goodbye to my home. I'm now mortgage free! I still miss my kitchen and my house, sometimes I still drive by it.  Most of my wardrobe I can pack up into two bags.
  4. Eat more fish.  Every time I ate some fresh sashimi and fish, I felt so good. Too bad I didn't get to go fishing much at all in 2014.  I will make a better effort to go more in 2015!
  5. Don't work yourself to exhaustion.  I am guilty of that. I worked myself to the point of exhaustion for many months.  I slept for 1-3 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some days when I rested my head, I thought that I would not wake up.  Never again will I ever put myself through so much agony.  That kind of suffering is not natural.
  6. Take a break. I went to Florida with my Vang family in August. It was our first vacation as a whole family (mom, dad, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, hubby, son) since 20 years ago.  We went to Disneyworld! Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, and Siesta Key Beach. In November, my husband and I went on an adventure driving down south. We visited Georgia and North Carolina.  I needed to see the world ... We didn't have a plan, just drove with the help of Google Maps.
  7. Add more color to your life.  I went through a MAC lipstick phase. Part of it was psychological, I knew I had to change. I needed to break free from the comforts of what I was accustomed to. I made bold choices in 2014.
  8. Hug more people. I didn't get to socialize much in 2014. I really missed my friends. Thanks so much to the friends who made it a special date to see me in 2014.  Sky & Donnie, Tasha & Matt, Aimee, Sarah, Valerie, Michele, Kayla, Ytevia, Macy, Nicki, and Molly.  You may not know this but in 2014 is the one year that I hardly socialized with anyone at all. Seeing your lovely faces, made me so happy. *tears*
  9. Bad things happen for a reason.  In 2014, I had no work life balance. The signs were there.  I suffered greatly because I am the type of person that braves through challenges.  Sometimes it takes us falling into darkness to realize we need to reshift, reclaim, and rebuild ourselves.
  10. It's okay to cry.  Yup, 2014 was a year I cried a lot. Sometimes we go through life never noticing other people's tears behind their smiles.  Everyone struggles in their own way.  Everyday we are trying to champion our daily life battles. Overall, I've been really tested in 2014 ... emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I was very lonely in 2014.

What do I have planned for 2015? 

  • Love.  Give more love to others.
  • Make more food tutorials
  • Write more technology blogs
  • Spend more time with family and friends

The House On the Rock

These are some pictures I took on my visit to the House on the Rock in Spring Green, WI back in October.  It's a very interesting place to visit.  There are 3 buildings that have various collections.  This will most likely take 4-5 hours to tour all 3 buildings.  It's fascinating. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot.

The house was built on top of Deer Shelter Rock. 

Cost: $28.50 for adults

More details on their website:  


Trip down south

I went on a road trip to Georgia in November. It was a 12 hour drive from Wisconsin. My hubby and I drove through Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.  On our way back, we stopped in North Carolina for a few days and drove back home through NC, TN, KY, OH, IN, IL, and WI.  So many thanks for my hubby's cousin Myndi and her hubby Vam Tsav for hosting us while we were in Georgia! 

My friend Nicki took me to this awesome vietnamese bakery called VN Tofu in Norcross, GA.  It has the most selection of vietnamese bakery goods I have ever seen in my entire life! 

This is a picture of my hubby's cousin Myndi, my friend Nicki and I. It was taken at the Hindi temple in the Atlanta suburbs.  This place is gorgeous! 

Hindi temple. Beautiful and majestic place. 

My friend Nicki and I at an indian buffet.  Nicki is a sweetheart!  We met on Twitter and became friends.  This was the first time I had met her in person.  It's so wonderful knowing that we can talk as if we'd known each other our entire lives.  She's super cool and I enjoyed hanging out with her!  This place had the best pineapple juice/drink from a fountain I have ever tasted in my life. It was so refreshing and good that I kept going back for more.

Me, Myndi, and Nicki at the indian buffet.  I was hungry I forgot to take a picture of my plate.  

My good friend Molly and I in Winder, GA. We've known each other over 20 years.  I surprised her on her birthday! This was the first time in nearly 20 years since we last saw each other in Fresno. She's a sweetheart and a caring friend. 

Some yummy food my hubby and I made at Myndi and her hubby's house in Winder, GA.  Hubby made the fish dish. I made the blue crab. Myndi made the pork and greens.

VN Tofu bakery goods

VN Tofu bakery goods

VN Tofu bakery goods

This is Assi, a korean supermarket as large as Walmart.

Assi korean grocery store - asian pears!

Assi korean grocery store

Assi korean grocery store - snow crabs

Farmers Market - blue crabs

Farmers Market - peeled garlic, what a convenience! 

Farmers Market veggie stands

Some chinese grocery store, I forgot the name.

Chinese grocery store - ox tails, so beautiful

Picture of the Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountains

Picture of me in the Smoky Mountains.

Picture of me at the Biltmore Mansion gardens in Ashville, NC.

Picture of me at the Biltmore Mansion Winery in Ashville, NC.

Biltmore Mansion in Ashville, NC.  You should see it at least once in your life.  It's about a $50 fee per person and you get access to the mansion, winery (free wine tasting), gardens, and trails.  If you do plan to go, I suggest going early so that you can have enough time to view everything.  I went on a self guided tour but you can also pay for a guided tour which gives you access to more rooms in the mansion.  I went at my own pace and it took about 1.5 hours to walk through the entire house.  The views of the mountain are breathtaking. Gorgeous views...  You can take pictures everywhere except inside the mansion.  There's lockers nearby so you can place your items before you enter the mansion. Make sure to bring quarters for the lockers! 


From my Instagram photos of the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC:

5 Things You Can Do When You Are Having A Bad Day

I took this photo on my trip home from Door County in 2012.  I am reminded that we are beautiful inside even when we don't see it in ourselves.  

Whether you are having a bad day on the job or someone did something to upset your day, always remember that beyond today ... tomorrow will bring a better day.  Everyone has bad days.  These are the things I do for myself when I am having a bad day or bad week.

  1. Talk to a friend/loved one
    I instantly feel better when I am able to share a load with a good friend I trust.   


  2. Listen to your favorite songs
    Listening to your favorite songs can help put your mind at ease.  I love listening to instrumentals because they soothe my soul.  


  3. Hug
    Hug a friend, hug a pillow, hug a teddy bear!  The warmth of touch does something special to the soul.  Who says no to hugs?


  4. Write down one thing you love about yourself
    I write down one thing I love about myself.  Sometimes when I am feeling down or feel self doubt, I remind myself of the things I like about myself whether that be a hobby, skill, or attribute.  


  5. Go for a walk
    Going for a walk can help clear up your mind and relieve stress.  Just being outside breathing fresh air can help re-energize your body as well as your mind.