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How I Got Started

Hayley Denbraver 👩‍💻🥑
Software engineer, developer advocate, technical content creator. Believes coding can and should be fun and that teams work best when they are inclusive.
・2 min read

I wrote my first line of code when I was 19 or so, for a class called Computing for Civil Engineers. We used MATLAB which was really a shame for the following reasons:

  1. There wasn't a ton of information available online (although maybe I wasn't sure how to find it).
  2. It was not open source and my license only lasted through the semester, so I never saw it as anything that I could use beyond that one class. I did not have hundreds of dollars burning a hole in my pocket to buy a license myself.

But it was a magic class! Did you know that you can get a computer to estimate pi for you using different methods and that I could get a grade for writing code that does that?!?

It walked out of that class with an A and forgot about coding for a couple of years. Coding came calling in grad school though, also in the form of MATLAB. (Note to academics, is it possible to switch to Python and SciPy? Do yourself and your students a favor!) But I greeted coding as an old friend--especially since in grad school I was solving more complex problems that really required a computer.

After grad school, I started work as a structural design engineer and eventually got licensed as a Civil Engineer in the state of California. It was a little while before coding found me again, but I am glad it did.

I made a career change, worked as a web developer for nearly 4 years, and recently started a job as a developer advocate. So far it has been a good step, I have been able to write code, speak at conferences, write articles, and learn a lot about security. Developer advocacy requires a mix of creative, technical, and interpersonal skills and I really like it. I am glad I persisted. I am glad I coded.

How did you get started?

Discussion (3)

lmolivera profile image
Lucas Olivera

I started when I was 9, learned logic with Scratch. Could have known more by now but I got into adolescence. Now I'm 20 and trying to catch up!

hayleydenb profile image
Hayley Denbraver 👩‍💻🥑 Author

Good luck on your coding journey! You are definitely not behind at 20. Enjoy learning and find something you love to do. :)

sebastiangperez profile image

Scratch is the LOGO WRITE of this era..