Compassionate Coding combines the effective practices of agile software development with a focus on empathy and the latest in positive organizational psychology.

We were lucky enough to have April Wensel, founder of Compassionate Coding, answer our questions about improving tech culture!

Can you please introduce yourself?

“My name is April Wensel! I’ve spent the past decade working as a software engineer and leading teams. I’m a generalist full-stack. Only last year did I become a ‘nomad.’ ”

“I launched my company Compassionate Coding to bring more empathy to technology (it doesn’t even take a full decade in tech to show you that we need it!) So now I travel around to tech companies and conferences teaching emotional intelligence geared toward engineers.”

“I’m of the camp that we should abolish the term “soft skills.” Communication, empathy, etc are vital to the success of software teams. They are essential professional skills!”

How did you become a full stack engineer?

“I learned C++/Java back in high school; and although I studied CS, I didn’t actually learn web development until after graduating college and getting jobs. So I self-taught on the job JavaScript, Ruby on Rails etc.

I will say I’m partial to the backend; I just enjoy those challenges more, but I like being able to build something end to end.”

What made you decide to start your own company?

“That’s a great question, and I’m happy to talk about it because I really do hope more women start their own.

Ever since graduating, the startup world called to me. What appealed to me most about starting a company, in general, was the freedom to manage my own time. I’ve always felt happier when I’m the one scheduling my days.”

“For Compassionate Coding specifically, I saw a need. I think the problems in the tech industry are all connected–lack of diversity, stress, burnout, bad interview practices, lack of concern for people displaced by technology, etc.”

Our community members asked some killer questions during the AMA.

Here’s what you missed:

  • A lot of managers use a lack of research as an excuse to not push diversity on their teams. What do you do when someone tells you that they don’t seem to have enough female/POC applicants?
  • How do you convince people to care? Do most of your clients already know they have problems and want help fixing them?
  • Do you find that your clients need lots hands on help once you’ve identified the issues? Or do the teams tend to sort it out on their own?

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