Helen Chang is a self-proclaimed techie. A web developer with a multi-national technology services corporation, she spends the majority of her time writing code for computer applications. Her employer is a Federal contractor, and Helen works for the company's defense division, which services the U.S. Department of Defense by developing custom websites and systems to help its various components run more efficiently from a technological perspective.
Helen first became interested in her line of work when she took a course in computer science during her freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin. She liked it so much she decided to pursue it as her major. Upon graduation, she applied for and accepted her position at her employer's facility in Falls Church, Virginia, where she has worked since May 2010. Accompanying her to work each day is her service dog, Watkins.
By its very nature, Helen's job necessitates using cutting-edge technology. For Helen, who is blind, this includes various assistive technology tools, such as screen reader and optimal character recognition (OCR) software, which enables her to review printed and scanned documents. She also uses an electronic Braille note-taking device.
For other young people with visual impairments who are interested in a high-tech career, Helen advises that curiosity and an open mind are the keys to success. "Be open to learning new technologies and software, anything that will help you be successful on the job," she says. Likewise, she hopes industry employers will keep an open mind about the skills and talents people with disabilities have to offer. Clearly, Helen's employer benefitted by doing so.