Black women face unique challenges when attempting to start a career as developers or software engineers. We are often doubted and underestimated, and consequently suffer from lack of representation and made to work twice as hard. YET, we are more than capable of excelling in the field! If you are a Black woman who'd like to learn how to code and become a software engineer (or if you know one), here are 5 tips to help you out:
See yourself there Find Black women in tech on social media (Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn) and follow them! Keeping your goals within sight will motivate you to achieve them. Seeing women who look like you succeeding in their tech careers will help you remember that you are just as capable.
Use free learning resources There is a pervading belief that you must have a computer science degree or pay for an expensive bootcamp to become a software engineer. While every educational path has its own merits, you can achieve your goal by leveraging free educational resources online such as free coding bootcamps like the Ada Developers Academy!
Don't doubt your intelligence Another pervading belief is that you need to be super smart or some sort of math genius to learn how to code. The truth is, unless you're in a super specialized field, most software development jobs require relatively little math. Genius or not, you will be fine! Coding may get challenging but it's achievable so I believe you should practice and learn ways to be kind to yourself while learning. One way to do this is to stop yourself when you say something negative about your learning journey and reframe it with a more positive statement. For example, try replacing "'I'm so dumb', 'this was a dumb mistake', or 'I should've fixed this by now'" to "I'm learning something new and stepping outside of my comfort zone so I need to be patient with myself."
Recognize that Imposter Syndrome is lying to you Imposter syndrome is the belief that you are a fraud or don't deserve to be successful. It might make you question your decision to even attempt your development career and nip it in the bud. But guess what? Imposter syndrome is one big liar. You deserve your success because you've worked hard to achieve it. Don't feel unworthy of good things because you're not perfect - no one is.
Hurtful comments are not your truth As a Black woman in tech, you might unfortunately have to experience people doubting you in various ways. other people's doubts about your skills or motives, however, only speaks to their limiting beliefs and prejudices, not your true ability. Whatever they say or think, refuse to accept it as your reality because it isn't. You know who you are, you know what you can do, and you know what you are worth. Their opinions don't matter.
I hope this encourages you to step up and take ownership of your tech career! Have a good one :)