Author Archives: Tara Chiatovich

True Confessions of a Research Scientist: My Experience Working with Software Engineers

I’m Tara Chiatovich, Panorama Education’s Research Scientist. My work generally fits into one of three buckets:

  • Thinking through opportunities to incorporate research in our product, from proposing new research-backed features to ensuring data visualizations are accurate and informative
  • Using research and data science to gain insights from our data that can inform what happens in schools
  • Supporting team members through research, including sharing articles and answering questions on research topics

Before joining Panorama, I had good experiences working with all kinds of people: researchers; non-researchers; tech-savvy teachers, principals, and instructional coaches; tech-phobic teachers, principals, and instructional coaches; and, of course, university professors. Notice that “software engineer” is not on that list. All of my preconceived notions of software engineers came from the one intro to computer science course I took at Stanford. I took it as a grad student, with zero prior experience programming in Java, and felt not-smart for all of it. I spent countless hours not doing any doctoral research to eventually earn an A- in the course. It still stings. And in the class, we heard stories about former students from that very same class who had sold their startups for seven figures. Software engineers in my head were something more than human. So I didn’t know what working with them would do to my self-esteem. 

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