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Sarah Dutkiewicz
Sarah Dutkiewicz

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Nevertheless, Sadukie Codes

From my recollection, I was introduced to coding in 8th grade and really took to it well. My uncle remembers having me sit in his lap and watch him code when I was 2, so that may have helped too. But I never thought I would be doing this for living. I grew up in a family that could barely afford a computer. Despite being in a financial disadvantage, I ended up coding.

In high school, we had a computer programming course that I took in my junior year. My best friend and I were the only girls in the class, and that didn't slow us down. In fact, we were more bored in that class because we knew what we were doing. Even though I was a Windows girl stuck in a Mac lab, I continued to code.

In high school, I met a guy who saw my potential as a programmer. We were on the high school's website team together. He suggested I learn HTML, and I had no idea how he knew I could program but trusted his recommendation. Because of him, I fell in love... both with HTML and with him. The loves of my life really blossomed at the end of high school, long ago. They continue today. I'm married to this amazing guy, who continues to see my potential even over 20 years later.

Between high school and college, I had internships that saw me for the ambitious, curious coder that I was. I met people in the field who wanted to see me successful and introduced me to people and showed me technologies. Having great mentors and having senior devs who appreciated junior devs really encouraged me to keep going this route.

When I worked in IT roles, I still coded for fun. Visual Basic, SQL, C#, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, and nowadays R... many languages that I've played with on the side, even if it wasn't in a professional role. And when I hit that wall in my IT role, feeling like I hit a brick wall in progressing in my career, my husband encouraged me to find a dev role, to go where I was happy. My zen is in coding.

Nowadays, I'm more teaching others about programming - whether it's bringing newcomers in for 2nd/3rd/4th careers or helping existing programmers learn a new language, I am all about teaching how to apply various languages to others. And when I'm tired of looking at my curriculum, know what I do? I'm going through courses online for Python and R and data science. Why? Because... Sadukie codes.

While there may be skeptics and naysayers... while there may be people who want to say "good luck with that" and don't offer help... I don't let them slow me down. I fall into this wonderful zone when I am writing code. If you're happy coding, reach out to the community as there are others here like you who are having fun in this realm. Don't let negativity slow you down. Follow your curiosity!

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