05 April 2013

Why Did I Decide to Learn to Code?

A Listserve friend named Rob asked me,

What would you say was the catalyst that got you started on the path of learning technical skills? What made you take that introductory web developer course?

It seems like a lot of the women I've known who could easily become great web developers / engineers never even consider it as a viable path, so I'm really curious about what made a difference for you.
I've been doing weeks of thinking on this (sorry I haven't gotten back to you, Rob, this is a good question!). 

I think I have to say that there wasn't just one catalyst that got me started on the path to becoming a web developer. The past several years were just killing me as my previous career direction no longer seemed right and I couldn't seem to get a grip on a financially stable adult life. One year ago, I had finally found a job, but I knew pretty soon after starting that the company wasn't ready for what they wanted me to do, and so what they gave me to do instead was something I would never have signed up for--sales. Bugging people all day long really got to me, so whenever I could, I put content into our blog. However, there wasn't much content I could post, and when I asked for something specific, I never got it. I wished several times I could build things myself. When I had the chance to do a mockup for a site, I thought I should really learn some website-building skills and started googling about learning. I found Women 2.0 and some other blogs about women in tech and was amazed that there was this whole cause behind it. After breaking my foot, I was at the end of my rope. This one sounds rather silly--I love the feeling of closing tabs (since I always have at least 50 of them open), and one of them at that time was Hackbright, so, since I was indecisive and Michael advice was, "Why not?" I decided to apply and decide later so I could close the tab.

All of these things added up to me applying for Hackbright Academy on the last day before the application deadline without really knowing what I could be getting myself into. At the time, it seemed really spontaneous, but thinking about all the things that led to applying, I guess it wasn't so random. I'm sure I could add more reasons, but that's all I'll write for now.

In summary:
  • I needed money and didn't seem to be able to make enough.
  • My old career dream was gone.
  • I didn't like the jobs I could get.
  • I wanted to use my creativity.
  • I love cool new apps and web design and making a mockup made me wish I knew how to build nifty tech stuff.
  • I was lucky to be in a tech-happy city.
  • The women in tech cause fascinated me.
  • Breaking my foot made it clear that something needed to change.
  • I wanted to close some tabs and took care of the Hackbright one by applying.

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