I am a software developer, period.
I am also a Black woman. I am a full-time, single mother of two. I care about the social impact of tech. I am an artist. I care about the aesthetics of user interfaces. All of these things are true at once. Not one of those statements negates my first point. I am a software developer.
I know an awful reality of presenting as a Black woman in this field is that my skills, my intelligence, and my competency will be underestimated. I know at least some people will assume I'm "not technical" just based on appearances and attempt to steer my career path accordingly.
I'm writing today to announce that I don't care. I don't need anyone to validate that I'm technical enough to be here. I am a software developer and I am choosing to make my work about building community, equity, and inclusion.
At this point, I've submitted talks to a handful of conferences. I've been approached about speaking opportunities in the future. Not one of my talk proposals has been a technical talk. That is on purpose. When I talk, I want to tell my story.
I want to tell the story of a mom CEO who doesn't have a partner, in-laws, or a nanny to tag in for help with the kids while I build my company.
I want to tell the story of a 37-year-old parent with no career to return to. I want to express that that doesn't make my grown-ass a "junior" with no transferable skills.
I want to expose the lies folks like me are being told about how to get into tech. I want to create viable pathways into careers and skip the trend of exploiting people with few resources to speak of.
I can code and I can adapt. I know how to learn. "Hard" tech doesn't fucking scare me at all. I've dealt with harder things in life than programming languages and CLIs.
The point is, time is precious. I have a unique and valuable perspective that is not often represented or acknowledged. I happen to think that the time allotted to my career is better spent telling this story and amplifying the voices of others than pushing pixels and slinging code.
Side note: Pushing pixels and slinging code is fun. I'll always be down but it's a big relief to recognize that I don't have to do this as a career.
Supporting me in my work as a community and ecosystem builder is not an insult to my intelligence. It's what I want. Expecting me to do this work for free is.
Do feel free to approach me with (paid) non-technical speaking gigs and (paid) opportunities that take advantage of my social skills and connections.