I know this word all too well. Although programming/developing has been a passion of mine since I was first exposed to the idea of it almost 20 years ago, I have encountered numerous obstacles in my path. I am very grateful for the opportunity to immerse myself in this field with the help of skilled and patient instructors. The positive encouragement and support means the world to me. It is wonderful to have people encouraging me to do something challenging as well as rewarding. I will focus on this positive energy as I complete this bootcamp. I will let the narrow mindedness of others propel me to grow technically and be the best web developer I can be. I will not compare myself to others in this field but to myself… my own growth. I may not be the best in the industry but I will be the best I can be and that will just have to be good enough.
I often question whether or not I fit in the industry I love so much. I do not fit the stereotypical “geek” image.
Nor am I one of the FABULOUS new images of women in tech. You know the gorgeous reserved librarian type of women that can stop hackers, save the world through code, have the physique of a supermodel and wear stilettos to sit at computer all day. Yeah you know the type of woman I’m talking about…. FELICITY SMOAK from Arrow (played by actress Emily Bett Richards):
I mean c’mon!! Give me a break, already.
I openly admit my priorities in life have not allowed me to network and immerse myself in the culture that seems to be directly correlated with computer geeks. You know the “culture”:
Loving, not having a mild interest in but absolutely loving and knowing all the characters, plots and back ground information for Star Trek.
Being mathematical and/or scientific geniuses.
Having little to no business knowledge, experience or real life expertise.
Young, male, White, Asian, Indian
Gamers, poor fashion sense…
The list goes on and on and on… However, I have found events, classes, networking cohorts and boot camps that I have slowly increased my skills in open and non-intimidating environments.
Knowing all of this I continue to pursue a career in technology in the hopes that staying connected, engaged, and simply in the room with all these smart people will rub off. The dream being that I would be invited to join their merry band of computer geniuses despite my differences based on my intuitive technical skills and passion for computers. So after earning a degree in Computer Information Systems, in 2011 I landed my first IT support role. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to fill my dream of being a TECHNICAL GENIUS!! However, transitioning from software support to developer is not as encouraged as one would think, I’ve heard it all.. there also seems to be a true lack of vision as to how these two roles could be merged. There also seems to be a disconnect where all the business and soft skills I have acquired over the years is completely unappreciated within a technical environment. Is it me or is this just weird? I read articles all the time now about technical professionals lacking business experience, professional communication and other such “soft” skills. Talk about mixed messages….
Coding has always brought me a sense of fulfillment. Ever since the very first time I wrote a line of code in third grade on a PET computer (circa 1984), I knew that I could spend the rest of my life programming a computer.
I often tell the story of sitting beside my mother who after working for the phone company for a number of years, decided to start a business creating and designing marketing materials for local small businesses and organizations right out of our basement. This business may not have led to much financial gain but it left a lasting impression on me.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school where I knew I’d graduate and go right into college as a computer programming major, only to find out that did not exist. After reading the course descriptions for the university I was planning to enter the only options were Computer Science and Computer Information Systems. The science and math courses that were required to major in Computer Science were quite intimidating – this led me to pursue CIS as it involved computers but not as much math and science. This major was not what I thought it would be… I was not challenged nor motivated to stay the course. After some major life changes I dropped out of college. However, I continued developing my technical skills by working with computers in a number of industries and professions. I have been fortunate enough to work with local small businesses and real estate companies in a number of capacities which always ended with me at the keyboard.
Some of the work I have done involved:
Designing a logo for a small real estate brokerage
Building websites (WordPress themed mostly)
Troubleshooting hardware problems
Learning various business software systems
Graphic design, Marketing materials and more