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Kristen Coy
Kristen Coy

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The Beginning of a Journey: Wrapping Up Week 1 as a Software Apprentice

Alright, here we go.

I haven't written a blog since the days of LiveJournal. Does anyone remember LiveJournal?

Skinner meme

This blog was created as a means for tracking my personal and professional growth throughout my journey as a software engineering apprentice. Today marks day 4 of Develop Carolina's apprenticeship program. The team behind DC is incredibly supportive, my mentor is an amazing/inspirational tech supermom, and my cohort is comprised of truly lovely people with diverse backgrounds. I'm so ridiculously grateful to be here and to have this opportunity.

Okay but... Who are you?

Oh, right. Introductions. I'm Kristen! I'm an occupational therapist turned developer (still don't feel right calling myself a developer quite yet, but let's go with it). As an OT I worked daily to ensure that my patients were able to do the things they wanted to do, whether that meant being able to shower safely after a hip replacement, being able to manage money independently after a traumatic brain injury, or being able to return to Marine Corps basic training after a hand/upper extremity injury (my most recent role prior to pursuing tech full-time). While my transition sounds like a complete 180 these two fields actually have a decent bit of overlap, though I think I'll save that comparison for a future post. I'm also a mom, a wife, a book lover, an embarrassingly slow runner, a bubbly water and caffeine addict, and an inconsistent weightlifter.

In thinking about what I'm hoping to accomplish on my apprenticeship journey, a number of things come to mind:

1. Improving my confidence

Mean Girls meme

This is huge for me. I have a constant, unending stream of anxiety surrounding entering the tech arena. Unlike the origin story of many of my peers in this realm, I didn't grow up loving computers and technology. Yeah, they were cool. Yes, of course I edited the HTML/CSS of my aforementioned LiveJournal page to "reflect my personality". But I did not, at any point, think that I would be well-suited for a career in tech/development. All of my career-path-finding questionnaires in school pointed me towards the humanities: counseling, nursing, teaching, rehab/therapy. I thought that I wasn't "smart" enough to pursue computer science or programming. Those thoughts persist now, even as an adult who has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to sponge up as much information as I can about this field and who has grown enough to realize that interests and skills evolve over time. All of this to say that my primary goal for this experience is to feel worthy of having it.

2. Improving my technical skills

I am self-taught, which is another way of saying that I self-directed myself towards available resources to learn the things that I chose to learn. I cobbled together "lesson plans" from the myriad resources of the internet, though I was mostly rudderless in a sea of information. This means that there are inevitable gaps in my knowledge. Having the opportunity to learn software best practices in a safe-space from people far more knowledgable than myself is something I'm so grateful for and that I believe will positively benefit my growth as a dev.

3. Learning how to work on a software team

As an OT, I worked on an interdisciplinary team: OTs, SLPs (shoutout to my cohort member Lauren!), PTs, nurses, hospitalists, specialists, case management, social work, respiratory therapists, neuropsychologists and countless others worked together to determine the best path forward for a patient. This required constant collaboration. Though I've not yet worked formally as a software engineer, I imagine it requires the same level of communication and teamwork to achieve goals. I'm absolutely looking forward to learning those relationship dynamics and communication best-practices moving forward throughout my apprenticeship.

4. Learning how to give myself a little bit of grace

Sunny pepe silvia meme

This goes hand in hand with improving my confidence. Currently, if I'm having trouble solving a problem or difficulty remembering something that I feel like I should know, my brain kicks into "Why don't you know that? What have you been doing this whole time? Why are you having so much trouble finding the answer?" mode. Obviously this is a maladaptive reaction. I'm hoping that my apprenticeship experience will show me that it's okay to be in a growth stage, that I'm not expected to have memorized the entire MDN, that just because I'm having trouble fixing a bug doesn't mean that I'm not cut out for this field.

Alright, that's all for now

If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me.

Hopefully blogging becomes a little more intuitive for me; I actually found it kind of difficult to start writing about myself. It's taken me a couple of days to warm into writing all of this out and even while doing so I found myself really distracted by making memes.

I'm excited to start this journey, and am looking forward to the day when I can re-read blog post number one and appreciate how far I've come.

Just do it meme

Top comments (2)

leliaking profile image
Lelia King

Hey Kristen! I really enjoyed reading this (and great usage of gifs!). I'm excited for your future post comparing OT to software development. I'd also love to hear more about your process for self-teaching, and how you even got turned onto this as a career path in the first place. Keep up the great work!

kimcoop profile image

This was a great read, thank you for sharing your journey so far!! It's clear your empathy and curiosity will take you far as a dev :)