It has been almost one year since my first post on dev.to, my #SheCoded post. I find there are so many interesting stories told by women - whether it's how they got into tech, or if they're still on the journey, or even what life is like in tech.
A year ago, for my #SheCoded post, I wrote about my love for code and how I was in the middle of my 'Aha!' moment. One year ago was a turning point for becoming serious about what I wanted to do when it came to a career. The thinking and decision making - it was so easy and had been under my nose from a young age. I just kept telling myself to try other things.
One year ago, I was looking to break into tech. I worked for a company, one that revolved around tech, but the job itself was more administrative meets project-based. I knew it wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I've come so far in one year. In one year I researched my options, debated on a coding bootcamp, turned it down. In one year, I applied to 153 jobs - anything from Software Developer, Software Engineer, Junior Web Developer, UX, UI, Project Coordinator, Product Designer, Web Designer, HTML Analyst and more. In a year I chipped away at pieces of Udemy courses; dug my heels into Codecademy and freeCodeCamp. I organized event after event for my local Ladies That UX chapter. In one year, I had my first taste of Open Source and completed my first Hacktoberfest. In one year I scrapped my portfolio from school and made one from scratch. I put myself out there, on LinkedIn and Twitter where I somehow landed 2,040 followers (and why that many people follow me, is beyond anything I can fathom). In one year I landed a couple of outside projects too, such as We Give Care. In one year, I've met a handful of new people and made new friends. In one year, I broke into tech.
They say a lot can change in a year, and they're absolutely right. I have so much to be proud of, so much to pat myself on the back for.
In my first #SheCoded post, I wrote with high hopes in my heart - for myself, and my mom. In March of 2019, I felt as though my mom was turning a corner after suffering from a stroke. Today, in my second #SheCoded post, I write with a broken heart from losing my mom to her second stroke.
Losing my mom and breaking into a career I've wanted has been a strange experience. There's a game of Tug of War inside of me - one where I'm both the happiest and saddest I've been in a long time.
Last month, I accepted a role as a Web Accessibility Specialist for a company brimming with passion for #a11y and the many facets it comes with. The company is small yet filled with some of the sweetest and most passionate people I've ever met. Accepting the role, preparing for a CPACC certification, auto and manual testing websites is nothing short of a dream come true to me. The research I took part in in college is paying off - along with my accomplishments, persistence and resilience. I have a job - a life even - revolving around code.
But the heartbreak comes in when I'm reminded that I can't celebrate these achievements with my mom. When at the end of the day, I can't gush over the things I do at work to my mom. There's heartbreak in studying for a certification full of content I'm an expert in - only because I watched all of the torment my mom went through. At the end of the day, I know my work is meaningful and that I'm putting good out into the world. It just hurts sometimes to know that's a world without my mom.
So, with that said...
in the midst of grief, nevertheless, natalie coded.