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Kelly Vaughn
Kelly Vaughn

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Nevertheless, Kelly Coded

My name is Kelly and I am a developer. A business owner. An entrepreneur. A forever learner.

I am many things.

But one of the things I'm most proud of is turning a hobby that started nearly 18 years ago into the career of my dreams.

I don't want to make this post about my journey because it has been shared before, but here's the short version. I taught myself to code at 11 because I wanted to make my own guild on Neopets. Neopets turned into MySpace layouts, which turned into building my first client website (I was paid a t-shirt), and I freelanced all through undergrad and grad school. I lasted 9 months in a "real job" before going full-time freelance, which turned into building an agency.

Okay, now we're all caught up!

So why do I write this post for International Women's Day?

This post is for the women who have been told they wouldn't succeed in a development career.

It's for the women who thought they couldn't do it. The women who think they're too late to get started at this point.

Let's dispel some rumors here.

I'm not technically-minded, so I wouldn't do well.

Development is art. Sure, there's some math and a lot of logic involved, but in this career we spend our days creatively solving problems. Creating something new.

I'm already [some age], so it's too late to get started now.

My dad just learned how to code in Ruby on Rails. He just helped me build a Shopify app that will be submitted for approval next month. He's not in his 20s or 30s, or even his 40s. (Sorry, Dad.) He can absolutely start a new career in development at his age, and so can you.

I'm always going to be behind.

Okay, this one's sort of true. We're all behind! That's the beauty of a career in development. There's always something new to learn, and you'll always meet people who have the answers you seek to the questions that are holding you back. There will always be room for improvement.

I'm not good enough.

Yes you are. You are fully capable of having a flourishing career as a developer. I believe in you. This community believes in you.

Still on the fence about starting your career in development?

Reach out to me. DM me on Twitter. Send me an email.

Let me help you. Let this amazing community help you. Support you. Teach you. But remember: you can absolutely do this. If you want it, the development community is here to help you get it.

I'm proud of being a woman in tech in 2019, and this community is why I code.

Top comments (15)

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Dave Brener

I feel like printing this post and hanging it on my wall as a daily reminder not to quit. As someone who entered into Development at an older age, I appreciate the fact that you used your Dad as an example that anyone can learn code at any age! Thank you for sharing, Kelly!

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Matthew Daly

As someone who changed careers and started coding professionally in my early thirties, I've always been of the opinion that anyone of any age who can think logically can learn to code.

That said, I can see how it would be harder for people with responsibilities such as a family to put in the time to learn to code from scratch. I learned while working an unrelated full time job, and I didn't always feel like writing code after work. If I'd had other commitments it would have made it harder to find the time.

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Lydia

exactly the problem I am facing now :( also a recent burn out on the day job had to pause coding for a bit. Not fun but I am trying soon to gradually work back into it.

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natalie stroud

This post just sums up the short time (1 day!) I've been with dev.to. Thank you so much for these kinds words, this beautiful post. Words like these are what make me realize I'm making the right choice.

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Frans Hendrik Brink

Kelly, not necessarily the target email for this, but appreciate the post. This is truly such a great path, and I'm excited for what your future holds. Truly excited to read your book on freelancing once released, really looking forward and keep up the good work.

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Jaime Trejo

Keep up the great work Kelly and I hope others can too!

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Desi

This is such a great post and I love your encouragement! šŸ˜ƒ

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sai-ap

great story! best wishes!!

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Jackson Elfers

Hop onboard the coding train, there's literally something for everyone and endless possibilities with the right determination.

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