I didn't learn to code until I was 25.
I was a data analyst and I worked in Excel a lot. I discovered recorded macros, then viewed the source and boom, code. I was excited, thrilled and curious.
What was this magic I just discovered?
Once I realized how much I liked this coding thing I started taking online and night classes at the local community college and got a job doing tech support at a small local SaaS company. I worked 24/7 between raising my 3 year old, working full time and working on my computer science degree.
It was incredibly hard and lonely at first but I was determined.
After I worked in tech support for 6 months I was promoted to a Business Analyst and started designing the software UI/UX and writing painfully long use case documents. (So glad waterfall went out of style.)
Skip forward another year or so and I had finished my degree and desperately wanted to move into a development job. The company I worked for used ColdFusion which I wanted nothing to do with so I had to look elsewhere. I ended up getting a call about a job in QA. I had been looking for a while so I decided to take it. Only because in the interview I told them that I wanted to move into development and they were not only excited about that but also supportive.
I knew the QA role would be my ticket for my first dev role.
After 3 months in QA I moved into a development role. I had to build in some pretty awful technologies at first but eventually I got to build new apps on stacks of my choice. It was a great place to work because I got to work with many different stacks and languages. I would create the entire app from the ground up. The experience there was invaluable and I feel lucky that it was my first dev role.
Even though it was a great place to work. It was hard, always. I was the only female and only jr dev on the team. To make it worse I had a different title than the other devs. It made me feel like no matter what I wasn't a real developer, even if I was doing everything (and more) that the other devs did.
That which we cant change, we endure
I have wanted to quit
I have wanted to scream
I have felt stupid
I have felt inadequate
I have felt belittled
I have felt like I don't belong
I have felt like I am not good enough
Seven years from the start of my coding journey and now I have my dream job, love my career, but I have days where I feel everything above still.
You have to be strong, you are strong, and nevertheless, we do and will continue to code.