Introducing .NET Engineer of Technical Content, Amanda Lange

April 24, 2024
Written by
Reviewed by
Diane Phan

The first web site I ever made was about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Here’s how I did it. I was a curious kid with a dial-up internet connection and a passion for cartoons. It only made sense to share my passion and my esoteric knowledge with the world. Geocities was a free hosting platform that let anybody make their own static site about a particular topic. I got myself a free account. Then I went to other websites I thought looked cool or interesting, chose the ‘view source’ option in the menu, and looked to see how they were put together.

I then cobbled together HTML, graphics, and text myself to make the site look the way I wanted, and created an online shrine to one of my favorite cartoon shows.

I was a good kid, really. But there were a few things I constantly got in trouble for. One was tying up the phone line by being online way too much (that’s how it was in the dial-up era!) Another was taking apart computer programs in ways that ended up breaking them. But I couldn’t help myself. If games like Doom and Half-Life could be modded… what else could be modded?

The answer is most everything… with the right tools.

Code is Art, Too

Given everything I’ve just said, it might surprise you to learn that when I decided to go to college, what I wanted to study was Fine Art.

But, specifically, I studied computer animation. The fact that I was an artist first surprises many people who know about my career journey. These were the early days of CGI, before it was the predominant way to make cartoons and films. As someone who grew up immersed in cartoons and video games, I was interested in the way computers and art intersected, and the power of digital design.

After I went back to school and got my Masters Degree, I got my first real job exploring my passions: teaching video game design and game animation. It was here I discovered that the most important aspect of teaching is learning.

My lessons in game dev class revolved around multiple game engines: I learned Unreal, the Source Engine, and more. Then our school’s department made the choice to swap to a then relatively-new game engine called Unity 3D. I was given just a few months to get up to speed on it, and also the development language that it used the best: C#.

Writing is Art, Too!

But more on that later.

There’s one more big piece of my career and tech journey: writing. See, that old website didn’t just have pictures of turtles on it, but it also had lengthy episode summaries and analysis. Writing - both creative and analytical - has always been another one of my passions.

When I discovered tools to write Interactive Fiction, creating games from words alone, I jumped on that. From there I got into the world of Natural Language Processing, developing a skill-set that’s only become more relevant as technology has progressed into a world of Artificial Intelligence.

Working with interactive fiction meant I could marry creative writing and game development in a different way. I learned about how computers talk to us, so we can talk to computers.

Then a Career Happened…

And then I met a few friendly talking computers along the way. Those computers led me to even more opportunities as my skills blossomed. From starting with Unity, my C# skills increased until I was working as a .NET developer. I still animate, I still write, and I’ve been lucky enough to make all of these things part of my career as well as my hobbies. Looking back at everything that’s grown out of that one humble website, it’s been a magical journey that’s taken me all over the world.

I taught myself a lot more new ways to code, and I found new ways to apply those skills both in the workplace and for fun. I made mobile applications and mobile and web games. I learned what the Internet of Things was, and how to make tiny computers that do specialized jobs. I used Azure, Unity, and C# to develop demos for Mixed and Virtual Reality. I worked with devices in the smarthome space, helping developers to add new functionality to talking devices thousands of people have in their homes. I spoke at conferences like the Game Developers Conference, THAT Conference, and the Grace Hopper Celebration, as well as many .NET events and user groups closer to my home in Philadelphia, PA.

But of all the things I’ve done on the job, my favorite is still teaching. The good news for me is that almost every job I’ve done has been teaching! Writing tutorials, making demos, making blog posts and sharing findings… well, it’s all the fun of teaching, without any of the drudgery of grading papers after class.

So now I’m here! And I’m so excited to get started teaching people to make more fun things using Twilio, and learning from all your creative projects and ideas.

Look to Your Heroes

If you’re ever looking for inspiration, you can always do what I did as a kid, and think about the Ninja Turtles. Every one of them has a little lesson to teach us.

Leonardo teaches us how to be a good leader. Raphael teaches us when it’s all right to go against the grain and be different. Michaelangelo teaches us when it’s okay to kick back and have some fun.

And Donatello…. Well, he’s just like me.

He does machines.

I can’t wait to build some new inventions with all of you!

Amanda Lange is a .NET Engineer of Technical Content. She is here to teach how to create great things using C# and .NET programming. She can be reached at amlange [ at]