Katie Horne

Writer
Katie Horne

Katie is a C# developer-turned-technical writer. Most of her time is spent perfecting developer-oriented documentation for a Seattle-based startup that specializes in identity-as-a-service, but she also writes about all things technology as a freelance writer.

Background

Katie graduated with degrees in mathematics and economics from Smith College, which is where Julia Child also attended. Immediately after college, she began working in the consulting world, helping health insurance companies develop the solutions they needed to manage their caseload.

In 2014, Katie decided to teach herself programming just for fun, and after several years of squeezing in coding sessions after the kids went to bed, she transitioned from consulting to software engineering.

In 2016, she stumbled upon a writing opportunity for software engineers. She applied for the job, was hired, and the rest is history. Katie still codes early and often, but most of her working hours are spent writing about code.

Experience

As an undergraduate at a liberal arts college, Katie spent a lot of time learning how to communicate effectively using the written word. However, it was while working with her colleagues on technical documentation during her first job after college when she learned how to write for non-academic audiences. Katie believes that even the most boring content (which, quite frankly, is most documentation) can be easy to read if it is well-written.

Katie thought she'd be a software engineer until the day she died, but then she saw an opportunity where she could write and code. She had no real reason for the career change besides, "Oh look, an interesting opportunity at an interesting company. Why not apply?"

Getting to Know Katie

WIHT: Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?
Katie: All of the above. My primary computer is a company-issued MacBook Pro (so fancy!) but I do own a ThinkPad laptop that dual-boots Windows and Linux.

WIHT: Favorite code/text/HTML editor?
Katie: It was GitHub's Atom for a while, but I've since switched to Microsoft's Visual Studio Code. I want my code/text/HTML editor to do as much work for me as possible, and I want it to be fully customizable. I can't stand using the default settings for anything.

WIHT: What are your favorite books?
Katie: So many! This list could get really long, so I'll just stick with stuff I've read recently. I loved Robin Sloan's Sourdough, Amor Towles' A Gentleman in Moscow, John Green's Turtles All the Way Down, and Gabrielle Zevin's Young Jane Young. Ron Chernow writes excellent biographies, and I think I would read anything he wrote, even if it were 800 pages about a leaf he saw fluttering on the side of the freeway — he's just that good. I'm also a sucker for medical nonfiction and anything about infectious diseases — the deadlier the disease, the more I'm interested.

WIHT: When you aren't sitting in front of a computer, what are you doing?
Katie: My number one priority is my family, so I try to spend as much time with them as possible. We like to travel, and though we've stayed close to home in the recent years, we're looking to start continent-hopping in the near future.

When I'm not out trying interesting restaurants with my husband or taking my kids to the park, I can be found reading, knitting sweaters, doing The New York Times crossword puzzles in ink, or swimming.

WIHT: Code from scratch or use a CMS?
Katie: From scratch, for sure. Have I mentioned I don't like defaults? Yes, I realize I can customize a CMS, but... no. I like doing my own thing. I will use frameworks, though, since design is not my strong point. Twitter's Bootstrap is one of the best things since sliced bread.

WIHT: How did you learn web development?
Katie: FreeCodeCamp.org! It's a full, bootcamp-style curriculum covering CSS, HTML, and JavaScript that anyone can access for free. There are tons of meetups around the world, so you can work with others to learn how to program. I recommend it to anyone looking to get started with programming.

Selected Writing

In addition to her work for WhoIsHostingThis.com, Katie writes an enormous amount for our sister sites Blogging.com, Digital.com, HTML.com, and WebsiteBuilders.com. Here is a small taste of her work.