My marketing job had me feeling exhaustingly bored every day — it was tedious and my work didn't add much value to anyone's day. I hated answering the question, "So, what do you do?" I was craving something more challenging, more creative, more purposeful.
Learning to code seemed like a borderline unattainable goal for a girl who majored in journalism and was traditionally unskilled at math. More than a handful of people told me it was going to be too hard for me as a "right-brained" artist-type. Despite the apparent mountain in front of me, I couldn't shake the gut feeling that I should try to climb it anyway.
I started looking for inspiration in other female engineers who came from backgrounds other than computer science, and their stories were badass! I didn't want to waste any more of my career watching from the sidelines, so I quit my job, put myself in debt, and joined a boot camp. It was the best decision I've ever made.
I'm co-founding a political web app that helps you keep track of your Senators and Congresspeople (how they vote, how often they show up to work, what bills they introduce, etc.) Eventually, we'll be able to tell you how well your ideologies match your reps' voting patterns. I'm building the front end with React, Relay, GraphQL and Node.js. Our API is built with Python and SQL, so it's been a huge learning experience all around.
I've also become an advocate for tech podcasts recently. For my fellow front end devs, I recommend Front End Happy Hour — it's hosted by a really cool group of (male & female!) engineers from LinkedIn, Netflix and other power companies.
Try not to let imposter syndrome get you down. Even if you're brand new and haven't touched GitHub or a text editor yet, don't let intimidation get the best of you. The learning curve is steep and everyone feels overwhelmed at some point. The fact that you've chosen to pursue this field means that you're tough, both intellectually and emotionally. Seek out mentorships and events through WomenWhoCode or GirlsWhoCode. Don't let anyone talk down to you, men or otherwise. You have good ideas, so speak with conviction. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Last but not least, build things that make you happy.
Y'all are awesome! Keep kicking ass, breaking glass ceilings, and practicing empathy with devs who are less experienced than you are. Your guidance (even via Twitter/Stack Overflow/forums) is more appreciated than you realize.