How I became a techie: Susie Armstrong

Jan 4, 2016 12:00 PM ET
Campaign: Our People

How I became a techie | Tumblr

"You can make a living out of having fun." -Susie Armstrong

In high school, I did very well in math and science. And I was going to become a veterinarian. I liked animals. I liked the science behind it. But after touring the Primate Research Center at UC Davis, I realized that I probably couldn't deal with the pain and suffering of any sort of medical field.

So I went to college, and I took my first programming class. And it was a puzzle. And it was really fun. And that was kind of the "aha" moment where I said, oh, this is a path that is very interesting. And then later I realized, oh, I could actually make a living out of this.

When I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo I actually had eight job offers, eight very good job offers. And so that really did verify that yes, you can make a living out of having fun. Out of programming.

Susie Armstrong is senior vice president, engineering, at Qualcomm. She was a pioneer in bringing internet protocols to the cellular industry, resulting in the first web surfing on a cellular phone in 1997, and Qualcomm's commercialization of packet data in 1998. And her mother is very proud!