I found it was a way to make a computer do things for me, and I thought that was amazing. My oldest brother brought home a Commodore 64 when I was younger. We mostly played video games on it. He eventually upgraded it to a 128 and got a modem, too. I spent free time figuring out how to get it to do stuff and messing around on Bulletin Board Systems. In high school, I took every computer course offered and learned HyperCard programming in our Mac lab. I joined the student newspaper because they had unlimited access to the computer labs.
While my brother was away at college, one day he called me and gave me a URL to look at. I had to get the nuns' permission at school to use AOL to go online, and three of them sat with me as I pulled up what turned out to be my brother's new personal website on his college's student server. It was text-based and mostly links, but I still remember that feeling of "This is unbelievable - I need to do this!" I recall the nuns being slightly less impressed, but I was already head over heels in love with the web.
I've been addicted to computers since I was around 6 or 7. I owe a lot of credit to my older brothers for being patient with me and spending so much time playing computer games with me.
That you're never "stuck" in this industry. It changes so fast, and there are always new things to learn and new areas to explore. My first actual programming job was helping to build a student jobs database at my university with perl. From there I have built test automation frameworks, managed teams of developers doing cross-platform development and test, written video games, run startups, created web applications and platforms, and am now doing site reliability engineering.
If you're working in an area that isn't exciting to you, there are plenty more that might be. Do some exploring. Join a local tech meetup or join a slack group (there are plenty of women-focused ones, too). Take a short-term online course to see what appeals to you. And if you still can't think of anything, reach out to me and I'll give you more suggestions!
- Think hard about your hiring processes. There are services that will review your job postings for unconscious bias or things that might scare off minorities from applying.
- Think hard about your organization. Are women and non-binary folks sticking around and getting promoted or do they leave? Ask the tough questions and take steps towards making your group or company more inclusive and less biased.
- Think hard about the community events and conferences you attend. Support diverse speakers. Take a stand. Tell organizers you won't be another male on their all-male panel. Suggest other folks you know that might be getting overlooked or who could use a spotlight.