From Concert Halls to Coding: How An Injury Changed Reina Murooka’s Life
Making a career change is an extremely difficult decision, but what if it were forced upon you due to unforeseen circumstances? Reina Murooka intended to spend her career playing music, but life had other plans.
A Life of Music
Reina Murooka first picked up a violin at age seven and never looked back. For nearly two decades her life was centered around mastering the violin.
“I was a professional violinist. I grew up playing violin. That was basically my whole life. I went to school: I did a double degree in German studies and violin. I did my Masters in music, also in violin,” Murooka shared.
Murooka settled in New York City and began playing professionally. After a few years of living out her passion, she began experiencing pain and unusual symptoms.
“I had been feeling weird symptoms for some time and then found out actually I'm really injured. The doctor said, ‘You maybe shouldn't play. This might be really hard for you in the future.’”
Murooka began physical therapy to treat her injury but doubt crept in. Violin wasn’t just her passion, it was her career. Fearful about starting over, Reina thought, “What do I care about? What do I want to do now? What makes sense to me? How am I going to survive? What do I do now?”
As Murooka contemplated what would come next, she began learning about an open-source program called Open Music.
She shared, “It's like a visual programming language based on Lisp. It was similar to Thunkable where you're basically grabbing code blocks and doing some logic together and they're crazy musical progressions, and I had no idea that existed. I was kind of looking at that, being like, ‘Well that's kind of cool, maybe I should look into that?’”
From there, Murooka began exploring other tooling and found Thunkable, sharing, “On Thunkable, I used it to actually teach myself how to code. I realized [Thunkable] was relatively similar [to Lisp]; it just builds differently. And then I started to get into that [coding] world. [Thunkable] helped me a lot.”
Feeling confident in her newfound skills, Murooka signed up for a coding boot camp.
“The transition was terrifying in the sense of starting to even look about where I could go after music. Once I did it, it was fine because I had a really great community with boot camp. Once I graduated, I got my first job offer, and now I work at Twitch,” she said.
A New Start
Now a few years into her job at Twitch, Murooka is grateful for her Thunkable and how it helped her realize coding could be as inspiring and creative as playing music.
“I hated math my whole life. I never thought I'd go into something technical. That fear, that impostor syndrome of, ‘I'm going to get this wrong,’ is so much easier [to overcome] when it's the facts and you just have to deal with the facts and that's it. It's an intersection between creativity,” she shared.
From concert halls to coding, Murooka’s professional journey has been unconventional.
“An injury is an injury, and I think it took me a long time to accept it, but I'm glad [to be] where I am now. It's a whole different life. I still get to meet really cool people, and I still get to play music when I want to. It feels good.”
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