Marcia Ensley [Humanoids of Huntsville]

Marcia Ensley.jpg

What does fine art printmaking have in common with computer science? Well, everything, of course.

“They’re actually really similar,” says Marcia Ensley, who holds degrees in both. “Especially in a wood block print, you start with thinking of, ‘What is the final image going to look like?’ And you build backwards from there…  And it’s a very thinky process as much as it is creative.

“And it’s exactly the same way in code. You start by saying, ‘What do I want the final thing to look like?’ And then you look backwards from there to say, ‘What’s the smallest thing that I have to code to get started on this?’”

A native of the Huntsville area, Marcia initially put her art degree to work photographing weddings and building websites for small business. But as a freelancer, she craved the security of a 9-to-5 position and went back to school for a computer science degree. Now she works as a software engineer with Northrop Grumman and volunteers with Women Who Code Huntsville.

In addition, Marcia is helping to organize WeRockIT, an annual two-day conference that features all disciplines of technology and shows how they all can interconnect. But for the organizers, there’s more to it than just that.

“We don’t have a conference in the area that’s geared toward women or underrepresented groups in tech,” Marcia says. “So we wanted to start that for ourselves and bring in the type of speakers who represent us.”