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Nevertheless, Nadya Coded 2020

nprimak profile image Nadya Primak ・3 min read

Every year brings new challenges as a woman in software engineering. This past year it has been a big struggle with imposter syndrome because I switched from being a front end developer to full stack. The funny part was, I hadn't even planned on that but a recruiter reached out to me from a well known company and I decided to give it a shot.

Not only did I switch from front end to full stack, but I had to learn a new front end framework as well. I went from AngularJS to React and Redux, but I also had to start learning Typescript and ES6. Of course there was also a whole bunch of other things like Node, MySQL, Storybook, microservice architecture... the list goes on.

After working in tech for 4 years I thought I had gotten over the worst of my imposter syndrome since I had started to feel very comfortable with AngularJS, and though there are plenty of jobs where AngularJS is still being used I wanted to at least be familiar with one modern framework. However, what I had in mind was something more like swimming to the deep end of the pool, and what actually happened was a lot more like being thrown out of the pool and into the ocean.

I had to swallow my pride and ask lots of questions despite my fear of looking stupid. I had to resist the urge to beat myself up when one bug led to another which led to another which led to another. Also force myself to interrupt my coworkers when they would launch into a long explanation of something that I already knew. The worst part was when I was stuck on a bug for over a week and the issue ended up being not in the repo code at all but a typing error inside the database.

Six months in things are getting a little bit easier. I have a handle on React and Redux isn't kicking my ass quite as hard. It still feels a little disingenuous to call myself a full stack developer but I remind myself that all these terms mean different things to different people and as far as my manager is considered, I am now ramped up.

Part of me still longs to break away from the corporate world and make my own way. I have taken baby steps in that direction by blogging a lot more, writing a book, making more side projects, and interacting more on twitter. However I still have a long way to go. My next few step is finishing my 50+ creative resources for front end developers that people reading my blog can receive if they sign up for my mailing list. After that I am going to make a landing page for a teaser about an imposter syndrome course to see if I can generate enough interest to make it worthwhile.

Sharing my knowledge with people who want to break into tech is more rewarding than a corporate job because I know I am giving back to people who need it. I especially want to help more women in tech because I know how hard it is constantly doubting yourself, feeling like you don't belong, and trying to resist the urge to apologize every time you make a mistake but doing it anyway. Despite all of this I have continued to code because it is also rewarding AND empowering to be able to build something and say with full confidence "hey, I built that." I want to give other women that feeling so they can go into the tech industry with their head held high.

If you want to check out my blog, its www.nadyaprimak.com/blog. There are posts about learning to code by making games, common career woes faced by software engineers, and stuff about my own coding journey.

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Nadya Primak

@nprimak

I am a full stack developer by day, experimental game developer and indie hacker by night. Blogging at www.nadyaprimak.com/blog

Discussion

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Thanks for sharing your story!

Nobody should feel bad to ask questions and nobody should make colleagues feel bad to ask. Especially, when you intentionally switched to something new and they hired you knowing your current tech stack.

I think, the more confident and experienced I got the more questions I asked.

It also turned out, that most often, other colleagues also didn’t know and were thankful I that asked.