I'm really thankful to a college professor who helped me realize that programming is a field that was not only achievable, but also extremely fulfilling. I didn't realize computer science was a degree, nor what I could do with it. But I soon learned.
I've always been a bit creative - enjoying crafts as a kid, learned how to sew in high school, and just in general loved making things. That's what drew me into programming. Seeing the code I crafted and carefully thought out show up on the screen gave me the same incredible fulfillment.
There's so many talented people to list here.. but I wanted to include some people who are unapologetically them.
Kim Crayton - Kim is pushing for diversity and inclusion in tech and is doing so by demanding results. She's a speaker and has paved her own way.
Hayley Williams - The lead singer of Paramore has always inspired me to be different, be myself, and knock down all the walls. She's dove head first into the boys club that is alternative rock and is owning it.
Austin Kleon - An author to some New York bestsellers. His books helped me dive into the tech community ready to give back and get better. Although he is an artist, it still heavily applies to technology.
Jon Skeet - I had the pleasure to meet Jon at Codemash 2017. Although he's always giving genuine advice on the internets, what stood out to me about Jon is his care for others in tech and his drive to make tech more inclusive and diverse.
Allie Weber - Allie's a 12 year old inventor! She's always working on something neat and is inspiring other kids to do the same. She's already doing great things in the science world and I can't wait to see what kind of walls she knocks down next (figuratively and literally) ☺️.
One last shout out to other WIT and LGBTQ+ community for fighting the good fight every day. You're appreciated!
Listen. Listen to what we have to say, listen to our experiences and speak up to eliminate biases, sexist language and ideologies. In the words of the wonderful Ronda Bergman - we don't want a knight in shining armor. "A knight fights your battles for you. An ally fights your battles with you."
“She wasn’t looking for a knight she was looking for a sword.” - Atticus
You don't owe anyone anything. You don't need to prove anything, you are here, you are enough and you are killing it. It's ok to change jobs until you find your place. It's ok to negotiate in interviews. It's ok to interview just to practice (just don't tell your interviewer that 😜).
Take care of yourself first and foremost - you're physical and mental health. Enjoy your weekends and time away from work.
Lastly, when you get to a good spot in your career, turn around and help the next lady. Mentor, teach, speak... it all makes a difference.