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Megan Sullivan
Megan Sullivan

Posted on • Originally published at

Nevertheless, Megan Coded

Hi! I'm Megan. My pronouns are she/her. I've been a professional software developer since 2018, but I had a bit of a roundabout path into tech.

I majored in computer science in college. It was the first time I'd ever programmed, and I struggled with the content a lot at first. But even though I managed to get the hang of it by my senior year, I never saw myself becoming a professional developer. Looking back, I think that was partially because I lacked relatable role models and partially because I (mistakenly) thought being a dev meant being a socially isolated "code monkey" at a giant tech company.

In my senior year, I was also an undergraduate teaching assistant for the introductory CS course that I'd struggled with my freshman year. I loved helping students progress from feeling completely overwhelmed to gaining confidence in their own abilities. So I decided to go into education after graduation, because it seemed like more meaningful work - teaching had a direct impact on people's lives.

After college, I served a year as a City Year AmeriCorps member in New York City, where I supported a 3rd-grade classroom. I started an informal coding club, where I brought up a few of my students every day at lunch and helped them work through the Hour of Code curriculum on my iPad. When my year of service was over, I interned at on their Education team, where I worked on the pilot for their AP CS Principles curriculum. Then, I spent two years as a curriculum writer at Girls Who Code, a non-profit that focuses on teaching middle- and high-school girls how to code.

At Girls Who Code, each lesson we wrote for the curriculum included a "Woman in Tech Spotlight," where we'd highlight a woman in the industry and the cool ways she was using computer science to help her community. The goal was to help build students' sense of belonging while showing them all the ways that computer science can have an impact. After writing dozens of these spotlights over the course of two years, I slowly began to realize that I wanted to be a developer and create cool things too.

In 2018, I started my first entry-level developer position at a software consulting company called ThoughtWorks. I applied there because they had won multiple awards from the Anita Borg Institute for being the best company for woman technologists. I figured if I was going to have a good first experience anywhere, it was going to be there. Working at ThoughtWorks was a great way to level up my technical skills and learn best practices like pair programming (which we did exclusively), working in Agile sprints, and using test-driven development.

Today, I'm a senior software developer at Gatsby, where I focus primarily on documentation. I love that my job now is a blend of the technical and teaching skills I've developed over the course of my career. Now that I'm farther along in my journey as a professional developer, I feel much more confident in my own knowledge and abilities. But I also remember what it was like to be just starting out and feeling totally lost and overwhelmed. Part of the reason I started blogging was because I want to share what I've learned with others. I want to help other developers grow the way my teammates at ThoughtWorks and Gatsby have helped me.

Glad to have you along for the ride!

Top comments (2)

sylwiavargas profile image
Sylwia Vargas

‪Your dedication to teaching, to tech documentation and to supporting new folks in tech deeply resonated with me ✨‬
Just like you, I taught programming for the first two years, and now I’m moving to tech writing. Funny enough, I was also close to choosing ThoughtWorks for the reasons you mentioned!

meganesulli profile image
Megan Sullivan

That's awesome! I love how many educators I've met in tech. Teachers are my favorite kind of people! :)