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Nevertheless She Coded: Brenda Michelle mom of 3 breaking into tech

Brenda Michelle
Front end developer currently self-learning Full stack development. Mom entrepreneur breaking into tech 1 list at a time | Co-creator of @WITDiscord *discord server for women in tech*
・3 min read

My story
Imposter Syndrome
#ChooseToChallenge
My Advice  

My Story

I still consider myself a beginner but I wanted to share my story and how I #ChooseToChallenge myself this 2021.

I will start at the beginning. No, I did not start to code when I was 17 if I am being honest I did not even know that computer science was a thing or that you could make money building websites. I wanted to go to UCLA and become a lawyer. I attended UCLA graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Sociology ended up traveling and teaching for 5 years.  

It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I wanted to start blogging and was struggling with customizing my WordPress website that I stumbled upon coding. It intrigued me and I went down the Google rabbit hole. I decided to start learning HTML and CSS in hopes of customizing my own site. The more I learned the more I discovered and really began to love coding.  

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome hit and I gave up for a few months. I was trying to memorize everything and did not understand how everyone could just code off the top of their heads. Little did I know that all developers Google and do not have every syntax etc. memorized. I was not active at all in the developer community. I did not know about the Twitter Dev community or the dev community on Instagram and youtube and every other social platform. I slowly started to discover developers on Twitter and that is how I ran into dev.to.  

On Twitter, I learned that there are so many self-taught developers and that there are many womxn who code. Joining Dev communities boosted my confidence and motivation and I decided to 100% commit myself to learn how to code.  I have learned so much in a matter of months, more than I learned in my 4 years at UCLA.

I grew up in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Los Angeles to 2 hard-working immigrant parents. I never imagined that I could learn anything related to STEM let alone consider having a career in STEM. However, everything seems possible now.  

Although I feel more confident about my future in STEM I still deal with imposter syndrome. Being a self-taught woman and mother of 3 trying to break into tech is not a walk in the park. I feel like I constantly need to prove my worth and what I am capable of.

 #ChooseToChallenge 

I challenge myself and other women to break into STEM industries.
I challenge all to encourage women to pursue their dreams and fight for what they want.

I will break into tech.
I will be a full stack developer.
I will work at a company that provides learning possibilities, encourages continuous growth, and is committed to diversifying the tech industry.
I will work hard every day to encourage and advocate for other women, more specifically women of color in tech.

My Advice  

My advice to other women interested in breaking into the tech industry:  

  1. Join a community and find people that are on your same journey. Having other women to lean on and relate to can help you out a lot especially when you’re dealing with burnout and imposter syndrome.

  2. Take a break and don’t feel like you always need to be studying and learning.

  3. Do not compare yourself to others. Look at your own path and what you have achieved. Compare where you started to where you are. Breaking into tech is a marathon, not a sprint. You got it! 

Discussion (1)

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vumartell profile image
Ngoc Anh Vu-Martell

Great advice, Michelle! I can relate myself to your story. I am soon a mother of 2 and constantly struggling with the thought of balancing my life with small kids and my learning journey to become a full stack web developer.
I never thought of running into coding before but the whole social distancing thing have changed my mind. I've stayed at home with my first-born and started learning Java and JavaScript for almost a year. Now the more I code the more I love it. Whenever I have a break from mommy duties I spend time to code.
I love to see other moms despite all odds try breaking into tech. It will perhaps take more time for us to get to what we want but we are certainly patient and strong enough to overcome all obstacles ahead of us.
Greeting from Finland!