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Nevertheless, Rachel Coded

I began/continue to code because...

I started coding later in life. After a few years spent teaching in a secondary school in London, I knew I wanted a new challenge. My main teaching subject was Geography, but alongside this, I also taught Graphic Design. Enjoying the design element of the subject, I looked for career paths which would allow me to be creative and make things with real utility. It was this line of thinking that lead me to purchase an intro to HTML and CSS textbook.

Living in London, I was lucky enough to have access to many tech meetups, and Shoreditch’s growing startup scene. Whilst attending one of these meetups, I met Dan from Founders and Coders, who suggested I should apply for their coding boot camp. It was here that I really got into coding. Covering the basics of HTML, CSS, frontend JavaScript, Node.js and Git, in quick succession, it was an intense learning curve, but an addictive one. I found learning how the web works and producing web applications really rewarding.

After completing the boot camp, I started my first job as a React developer in an Ad Tech company. Following this, I worked as a JavaScript developer for a startup called Yoti. Currently, I am working full time as tech evangelist at Lightcurve, a blockchain development studio. As a tech evangelist, my role is to build a community of developers for Lisk, a blockchain application platform. For me, the position is ideal – I get to combine my interests in tech and design, while at the same time learning a lot about blockchain and community building. I continue to code in my spare time. I guess old habits die hard, I will always be a nerd who likes to build things!

I recently overcame...

Over the last year, I have definitely made progress in overcoming my fear of public speaking. Since joining Lightcurve in July 2018, I have represented Lisk at a variety of meetups and conferences, as well as speaking on podcasts and vlogs about the network. Although I can still get nervous, I also really enjoy it as well. Hearing or watching myself back is still a bit cringe, but I am learning to let go of this, slowly!

I want to brag about...

Switching roles and adopting new marketing and community-building skills, whilst at the same time learning about the complexities of blockchain technology.

My advice for allies to support women and non-binary folks who code is....

Ask for their opinions and seek their advice. Making people feel valued and useful goes a long way to help overcome imposter syndrome. Be mindful of the different paths people may have taken into tech. If they aren’t aware of certain aspects of development, it doesn't mean they are stupid, just that they might not have been coding when this was prominent. Most importantly be kind and value the insight that underrepresented groups bring.

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