Software Development
Coding / Data / Women in tech

Meet Kate Rabinowitz, the self-taught coder behind DataLensDC

To build DataLensDC, Kate Rabinowitz taught herself front-end development. But she couldn't have done it without the encouragement of fellow women coders at Hear Me Code and Women Who Code DC.

This DataLensDC map shows just how migratory our nation's capital is compared to other U.S. cities. (Screenshot)

For all intents and purposes, Kate Rabinowitz taught herself coding through online programs like CodeAcademy and CodeSchool.
But she wouldn’t have gotten very far in her project — a new website that helps explain D.C. with data — without help from the thriving women-in-tech community here.
“I had times where I was so lost I didn’t even know what to Google or I had problems with seemingly unfindable solutions,” Rabinowitz said in an email.
So she turned to groups like Hear Me Code and Women Who Code DC for judgement-free support.
“Having a safe space to ask near endless questions was relieving,” she said. “Encircling yourself with a group that checks your imposter syndrome and pushes you forward was empowering.”
In her journey, she also tapped into the open government ethos, and realized that she had useful skills to bring to helping the public benefit from the growing reams of available data.
“This data is often inaccessible to those without programming experience and not at all consumable to those without a background in data analysis,” said Rabinowitz, an economics researcher at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Late last month, she officially launched DataLensDC, a website that explores the city through various data sets.
The first post is a map that shows D.C. to be one of the most migratory cities it the country.
“Through DataLensDC I hope to unlock the value of this data to contextualize for readers the trends happening around them and the character of the city we live in,” said Rabinowitz.
Of particular interest to Rabinowitz, who moved here in 2010, are the fast-paced changes the capital has undergone.
“I continue to be amazed when walking down 14th street and remembering when Le Diplomat was a burned out, abandoned laundromat,” she said. “Capturing that dynamism through data and visualizations in a way that people can attach to became really interesting to me.”

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