(skip to content) jana e. beck
(ˈd͡ʒæ·nə bɛk)

software engineer. coffee connoisseur snob. world traveler. hobbyist dancer. car-free bike & public transportation commuter. Pw(t1)D.

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about me

I’m Jana E. Beck. By profession, I am a software engineer and currently in the employ of Tidepool1. I develop web applications, working mostly on the front end in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS with modern web tools such as React, Babel, webpack, and CSS modules, to name a few of my favorite and/or most commonly used tools. I specialize in data visualization applications using React and D3.

my background

I don’t have a formal computer science education, but rather came into the field slowly, with a couple of Java courses in college, then “needs must” Python to conduct my research as a Ph.D. student in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania2. During my time as a graduate student I also took a few classes via the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It. At Tidepool, almost all of the code I write is JavaScript, but in my spare time and myriad side projects, I sometimes hack in Python, and I aspire to learn some Clojure (and ClojureScript), if only because I spent a great deal of my time as a linguist using LISP-inspired data structures, and I miss all the parentheses.

At any given time, I tend to have several coding side projects in flight, nearly all of them publicly visible on my GitHub account. I love learning about new tools, technologies, libraries, programming languages, &c by trying to actually make something (even if it’s not a useful thing), although I don’t always finish these projects since I’m prone to distraction by the next shiny new thing. I also post smaller projects and experiments on CodePen and bl.ocks.org.

about this “blog”

This blog-shaped Internet location isn’t intended to be a regular (i.e., frequently updated) blog. It is mainly intended as a place for me to post things that I’ve done so that I can point other people to them when that need arises, as it sometimes does.


☕️ I am a (mostly) unrepentant coffee snob and geek. Predictably, I am very happy to be living in the Bay Area now with its vibrant coffee culture, although I tend to make and drink most of my coffee at home, most often with Blue Bottle (formerly Tonx) beans and one of the many coffee-making gadgets I own. (One day I’ll write up a post for this site about my coffee-making gadget collection…)

✈️ I love to travel. In the past year I’ve spent a month in Budapest, Hungary, took a quick weekend trip to Lima, Peru, been to a conference in Amsterdam, went to see autumn colors in Portland, Maine in October, and crossed the Pacific to spend Thanksgiving weekend in Hong Kong. I’m quite certain that, among other sights seen and local foods tasted, I found some of the best (if not the best) coffee each of these cities has to offer.

💖 My relatively new favorite hobby is dance, specifically ballet. I’ve been training in the adult program at the Academy of Ballet in San Francisco since January of 2015. The fact that a large part of the discipline (especially in the barre portion of a class) revolves around doing exercises in clever geometric and obsessively symmetrical patterns is a not insignificant part of the appeal for me. Plus it makes me (feel) taller.

I also drop into classes—ballet as well as other dance styles—fairly regularly at LINES and the SF Ballet.

😅 Above and beyond my dance habit, I sweat a lot. I run around Lake Merritt in Oakland, frequent Osa’s fantastic Bootcamp and Abs & Core classes at Fitness SF Oakland, and torture my muscles in new and interesting ways with TRX and various Pilates classes at The Working Body. (I like to 🎿 too.)

🚲 Finally, I am dedicated to carless living as far as possible. I commute by bike and public transportation and do my shopping on foot, by bike, or with the help of public transportation. My only use of cars is restricted to the occasional Lyft or Uber ride.

  1. An open source, not-for-profit effort to liberate data from diabetes devices, support researchers, and provide great, free software to the type 1 diabetes community. 

  2. I left the Ph.D. program as an ABD to start working for Tidepool. I haven’t regretted it once. I like engineering—namely, making things—much more than research.