Hello Everyone 👋
Have you ever felt that you don't belong in tech? Mainly because you're a woman or a mom?
Then you're not alone.
In this article, I want to share my journey into tech as a woman and as a mom.
Growing up, I was always got fascinated with computers.
I remember back in the '80s, my father bought a new computer.
He let me and my sister play games on the computer. Still, only my brother got the opportunity to take a computer course.
I complained a little bit. As the firstborn, shouldn't I be the first one to get that chance?
But my father answered, "Computers are for boys."
He was somewhat old-school back then.
I learned to ignore my curiosity until typewriters were replaced with computers when I was in high school.
Math wasn't my strength at that time. So, I took a social major instead of a science.
Unfortunately, only students from science majors may apply to computer science in college.
Again, I had to bury my curiosity.
Fast forward to three years ago. Me in my late 30's with a 2 years old toddler.
I wanted to write a blog about living with a toddler abroad and have like a website to showcase my photography hobby.
A friend gave me an idea to create a blog on WordPress.
So, I browsed everything about WordPress.
And that was when I stumbled on web development.
According to what I read, this is a beginner-friendly programming language. So, I started to learn Python.
But after a month, it somehow didn't click for me.
Then I found out about freeCodeCamp, and I tried it out.
When I saw "Hello World" rendered on the page with HTML, I got hooked and never looked back.
And that was the beginning of my development learning journey.
I didn't have anyone to support me in the first year except my late mom. She was the only one who believed in me and my decision to learn to code.
I didn't have anyone to ask whenever I had questions, but I also didn't know how to ask questions.
I learned about Stack Overflow. And I saw how harsh people answered whenever someone asked a beginner question or accidentally asked something that had been asked before.
I, of course, wouldn't want to do something crazy like asking any newbie questions there.
It was a lonely journey until I found the Moms Can Code community.
Having other people learn together had a significant impact on me. Mainly because they are moms, they know precisely how challenging it is to have little kids around while learning.
It was the first time ever that I didn't have to feel guilty for having a curious kid around whenever we had a coworking session. And that was the first time I could ask questions without being afraid of getting judged.
But does it have to be that way? That only women empower other women?
I had my doubts. I don't belong in tech because this is a men's world.
Those words haunted me again. Computers are for boys.
Fast forward to the year 2020. Pandemic hits, and many events go virtual. One day I saw Bekah's tweet that she held a virtual coffee chat. And everyone was welcomed.
I'm an introvert, but I needed it. I needed to connect to other people, to have developer friends. So, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, joined Slack for a while, and had my first meeting.
It scared me at first. This is not a community of only moms or women, and everyone has worked in the industry. What would they think about me?
I'm a woman, far from a so-called early career developer, and I had to have my kid on my lap. Am I belong here?
When I introduced myself as an aspiring developer, I lost my confidence.
I often say 'sorry' because my kid couldn't stay still during the first meeting.
I remember thinking, "Okay. This would be my first and last meeting."
But I was wrong.
Everyone didn't mind and even made a small conversation with my kid. They encouraged me when I said I was still learning. And they welcomed me (and my kid) with open arms.
That was my first meeting, but definitely not the last.
I grew tremendously with this inclusive, loving, and supportive community. And thanks to them, I now do believe I belong in tech.
We might meet some people who make us feel like tech is not for us, but don't let them stop us.
Don't let them tell you otherwise, because everyone belongs in tech.
And that's including you! 😃
Thank you for reading!
Last but not least, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊