Before I was a front-end web developer, I spent 9 years teaching students academic skills. At the end of 2014, the tutoring center I spent the last two years working at had just closed. I started to realize teaching wasn't the right fit for me anymore. 2015 began with me feeling very lost and unsure what direction my life should take.
After doing lots of self reflection, I started looking for jobs. In August 2015, I was still wasn't have much luck when I discovered job posting for Skillcrush. Skillcrush is an online education company that empowers women to learn tech skills and go after the careers they want. I was curious about Skillcrush and started doing some research on the company. This is where I read the founder Adda Birnir's story.
I signed up for the Skillcrush newsletter and did the daily exercises they sent each day. By the third day, it was time to write my first line of code. I didn't think I was ready, but I wrote "Hello World" in the text editor that day. When "Hello World" appeared on my browser I knew I finally found the missing piece I've been looking for.
After writing my first line of code, I began doing research about learning how to code from doing extensive searches on Google to doing the Skillcrush 10 Day Bootcamp. I even sent e-mails to the Skillcrush customer service team with tons of questions about their blueprints, learning how to code, and tech jobs. By the end of the 10 Day Bootcamp, I enrolled in the Skillcrush web designer blueprint and ready to see what direction coding would take me.
It has been three years since I decided to start learning how to code and I've accomplished so many things throughout my coding journey. Although I know a lot more about coding these days, the feeling I had when I first got "Hello World" to appear on my browser is something I still experience every time I code. That joyful happiness is what keeps me coding every day no matter what obstacles are thrown my way.
If you would like to learn more about how my coding journey started, you can revisit last year's #shecoded post below. This goes into more detail about how I started learning how to code and advice I have for allies of women and non-binary folks in tech.
Learning how to code isn't easy. It can be very overwhelming because there are so many directions and options a developer can take. This is very true with underrepresented groups in tech since these groups often have to work twice as hard to get to where they want to go. They have to fight through obstacles tech itself is still trying to address.
One of the things I love about coding are the communities. There are tons of great tech communities developers can actively participate and join. They are amazing at welcoming new developers starting to learning how to code and do as much as they can to help them along their individual paths to become developers. They especially vital for underrepresented groups in tech since they can be the supportive network these groups might need to help them keep coding.
Coding communities are still a great place for developers to start building a supportive network and get advice, but I think the next step these communities can take is by empowering more members to become mentors. A great coding mentor is valuable to any developer because he/she is able to expand on what developers are learning in online courses and tutorials. They don't have to know every programming language or have all the answers. Instead they share their experiences so it can help other developers in same situations figure out what is the right course of action for them to take.