I was introduced to computers when I was 15. There were 2 new Apple II in one of the store rooms in the school. Our maths teacher taught us how to use BASIC and off we went! She could only take 5 students at a time so we had to wait to see who the lucky ones were each week. That was the first time I ever coded. Then I didn’t use a computer until university to type my assignments. I took the path of languages & linguistics to learn about syntax & lexicon. Little did I know how crucial those concepts were to set the foundations for programming.
My path of linguistics made me a translator and eventually a language tutor. That was my profession until recently, when I discovered virtual reality by chance. I walked into a professional development workshop by a colleague at my workplace, a tertiary institution. I needed to pass time until the next session, which was the one I actually wanted to attend! That serendipity changed my career for the better!
The following year, I enrolled in the course that introduced virtual worlds as part of the IT programme. I enjoyed it so much, I eventually graduated from their GraduateDiplomaIT. I completed the diploma part-time, over 5 years as I had to work full-time.
One of the courses on the programme was introduction to software development. I was the only woman in a class of 50 students. Soon, I felt completely out of place & just walked out. I managed to complete the other courses such as communication skills & project management and eventually graduated. But I always wondered what it’d have been like to complete the coding class!
A year ago, I took the plunge and enrolled in a web developer boot camp. I just had to finish my training! I’ll keep it short - I wanted to quit 3 days into the boot camp! Million and one reasons were going around in my head, telling me why I should just go home to my family instead of learning to set up a local server! But, I stayed on because my cohort wouldn’t let me go!
I still find coding and programming hard. The more I learn, the more I discover that I need to learn. But I also feel that I am actually learning! However small a feat it is, I’m moving forward somehow. I realise it’s at a slow pace and that’s ok as it is my pace. I enjoy the journey and the challenge!
Currently I’m waiting to hear from a potential employer to participate in one of their projects. It may lead to a full-time role or may remain a small project for a long time. But, I’ve made it! I stuck at it, persevered, asked questions. But I think the most useful of all the motivational factors has been the wonderful allies I’ve met during my journey into the unknown. People who believed in me more than I did, people who encouraged me to keep going when I almost gave up. When you find those people, hang on to them with your life! They’re the ones who will get you across the finish line. I coded because I didn’t want to let those people down.