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Theba Gomez
Theba Gomez

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Dare to be... what the πŸ”₯, why not!

Hey folks πŸ‘‹! I was so looking forward to finally posting here in this amazing community!

I'm taking this opportunity that Dev has created for celebrating Gender Equity in Software Development, #WeCoded 2023, to share briefly my most relevant findings on my journey as a woman Software Engineer, Open Source contributor and advocate, and Tech Community lead, and why not, some recommendations too.

As this year I reach my 4th anniversary as Engineer and my 5th anniversary in the Tech Community, I went through different stages in my professional and personal life, and what can I say...I dared to be Engineer, quitted everything and dedicated my mind, heart and soul to it, but in the process, you'll always have your ups and downs. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself and that you purposely put and shape your skills for thriving in the Tech Industry.

I'll develop in depth some topics in later entries, as Open Source and Mentoring, but I decided to summarize the journey in bullets to make it shorter.
I hope you reflect on some of the topics and that I could be of any help during your journey too:

Expectations 🀨

At any stage in your professional journey, you have to handle expectations: yours and other's expectations. And I actually put it in the first place on the list because it's very helpful to reflect on our expectations, communicate them clearly, and adjust them when necessary.

When it comes to working with others, setting clear expectations is crucial (specially) for your own mental health. But remember this, not everyone may know how to set realistic expectations, or they may have different assumptions or preferences about your development and your work.

What to do? Rely on communication. To help others to understand what you can bring to the table, you need to communicate your strengths, limitations, and learning goals.
But also requirements and success criteria of a project you're working on.

And what else? Write your own weekly updates, achievements and possible improvements. Not only for work, but also extend it to your personal life and learning times.

Community 🌍

Short version: do stuff in community please! πŸ™

Longer version: instead of sharing the benefits on joining a tech community or sharing knowledge, which are easy to find, let me share some hacks for creating a community in your own workplace:

  • Consider a PR as a spot where you can share and acquire knowledge. Be kind with your words while sharing your technical POV
  • Promote initiatives like knowledge sessions and make them recurrent
  • Share articles, talks, courses, etc in your Slack channels
  • Create discussion threads around technical topics that might be interesting for your product development
  • Participate actively in product discussions, always with an eye on the user needs
  • Be part of Employee Resources Groups, if there any, or propose the creation of any focused on minorities

Open Source πŸ€“

If you're one of those people in the industry that doesn't know that aprox the 80% of any piece of modern software is Free and Open Source Software, and that aprox the 50% of the maintainers and contributors are not paid for that work, please make an effort to truly understand what's one of the foundations the industry about and how you can support it.

There are many ways of doing it; stay tuned for articles about Open Source, but you can start by checking this resource:

Guide to Open Source

Burnout 😀 and recovery 😌

Are you stressed for deliveries? Have you set up too exigent targets for this year...and the year before...? Do you push yourself constantly for studying for becoming a better engineer? For writing articles, give talks, attend as many events as you can? For contributing to tons of Open Source libraries or maintaining them?
Or maybe don't recognize yourself in any of the above but you feel tired, you start hating to code, or don't see people as people anymore, just as mere subjects you have to interact with?

According to the basic meaning Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress and overwork and you should addressed it asap.

Start by recognizing you might be facing a burnout process and take your time to process the causes and the effects on your personal life. Holidays and therapy is a great starting point on the process of healing. Try to learn and read about burnout and self-care. This short interview to Sara Vieira could be a great start:

How To Deal With Burnout and Learning To Say No with Sara Vieira

(is there anything more important than....) Culture in the workplace πŸš€

Let's make this one short too πŸ˜ƒ: work where you're recognized, respected, mentored, treated with respect, listened, where you feel safe, cared and supported. Otherwise, πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹

For me, culture in the workplace is decisive when interviewing for a job or later when you spend your first months in the organization, so my other recommendation here is: finding a nice place to work takes time, but you'll get there, I promise. Keep looking for it!

Mentoring πŸ’œ

One thing that was remarkable for me last year was engaging in several mentoring sessions with women in the tech industry.

It's important to have mentors in your workplace, but much better outside. If you pair up with women or people that has similar experience that you, and if you prepare thoroughly your sessions, you'll receive so many rewards that you may regret not having started earlier.

πŸ¦„ If you've reached until here, I want to also share with you some questions that could be great if you take your time and reflect about it πŸ₯°

  1. How do you currently feel?
  2. What did you achieve last year?
  3. Tell yourself about at least one thing that you have to celebrate among your achievements
  4. What is one thing you are looking forward to in 2023?

All the best for your journey!!

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