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Meet software engineer and avalanche educator Amy Moore

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The mountains beckoned Minnesotan Amy Moore to Montana to pursue her undergrad degree in computer science, and she hasn’t looked back. When she’s not skiing, Amy, a software engineer at National Flood Services since 2011, is an avalanche educator and a volunteer coding instructor for girls. Here’s what Amy had to say about her tech path, “impossible” code and that magical day in December when the ski lifts open.

Right now:

I’m a software engineer with National Flood Services. I maintain the FloodPro platform, which will eventually be replaced by Trident. I help maintain the system and the user interface for our clients–the flood insurance agencies that use the platform.

Why tech:

As a kid, I had strong math and problem-solving skills. I grew up during the tech boom and knew I wanted to study computer science in college. I looked for schools with excellent computer science programs that were also near ski resorts, because I have a strong passion for downhill skiing. I ended up at Montana State University, and I was one of three women who graduated my year with a computer science major.

Proud tech accomplishment:

In 2016, I was on a team that built an online workflow system that helped our client more easily assign tasks to underwriters. It was a unique situation to be able to collaborate directly with a client, and to build something that could replace a manual process with an electronic, paperless one. I really enjoyed the work, my team, and collaborating with our client.

True story:

When I took my first tech job in 2006, my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I had just moved to Kalispell, Mont. I got a job as a software developer for a local company five days before my wedding. When I told my soon-to-be employer that my weekend plans included getting married, he suggested I take a week off before jumping in. It’s a good thing I did, because almost immediately I started on an intense project with 90-hour work weeks for about three to four months. I barely saw my new husband for months. It was challenging, but we just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary, so it worked out.

Impossible code made possible:

That happens almost every week. My boss has taught me that nothing is impossible when it comes to coding; you just have to find the solution. It’s just problem solving. Making the seemingly impossible possible happens often.

Just for fun:

I love to ski, and we live five minutes from a ski resort in Whitefish, Mont., so we ski every chance we get. I often say that my job supports my downhill skiing habit. My husband is a professional photographer and does ski photography, so I’m a ski model from time to time. My favorite day of the year is the first day the lifts turn on and the resort opens. This year, it was on Dec. 10.

For my community:

I spend a lot of time promoting and teaching avalanche education and safety in my community. Avalanches are a dangerous part of skiing. We teach people how to avoid them, how to mitigate risk, and how to stay safe and alive in the event of an avalanche. One key principle is that when you’re skiing in the back country, you always ski with at least one partner who also has avalanche and safety education. I also raise money for the avalanche forecast center.

Tech for the greater good:

I recently joined the board of directors of Code Girls United, a nonprofit that provides afterschool computer programming lessons to 4-8th grade girls. Every week I teach two classes after school for kids. One is a beginner’s class where you learn to create phone apps through block-based coding, and one is an advanced class where girls learn computer engineering on Raspberry Pi circuit boards using Python. I enjoy being part of the board and teaching the basics of programming.

Best part of my job:

I love the problem solving that is part of every day. I also love my team. We are always able to come together to understand a range of problems and come up with the best solutions.

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