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Nevertheless, Shanise Coded

shanise profile image Shanise Barona ・3 min read

I began coding because...

It took me 23 years to realize I enjoy problem-solving. I appreciated the challenge I received in my science and math classes in high school. I loved the feeling of satisfaction after solving a difficult problem. Although, I did not particularly like science and math, just happened to be good at it. In other classes where there are more abstract ideas, like art and English, I felt too overwhelmed by possibility. I so desperately wanted to be creative but it seemed like it was a concept that was hard for me. Something was missing. After school, I lived on the internet, I grew up in the time of Neopets, then MySpace, then LiveJournal, then Tumblr. I had no idea that what I was doing on these sites was a little problem-solving mixed in with some creativity to get the segments on the pages to do what I wanted. A.K.A. coding. No one told me that this could be a job, a field of study or even a hobby at that. In fact, my favorite professor of my favorite class (AP Calculus) one day shared that he didn't believe girls should go to college. I was crushed. No one told me that wasn't true. And I didn't share these microaggressions with my parents because young impressionable girl... so I shoved it down as we often feel like we have to. My parents were always so supportive of me. I remember that when I told my mom I wanted to be an astronaut when I was six, she never forgot it. It wasn't until my senior year of college that I learned what computer science was and that it was a major. And by then I felt it was too late. But now, I have decided that it is in fact not too late to enjoy what I do and do what I am good at.

I can't wait to discover my niche and be the best I can be at it.

I'm currently ...

working my way through Flatiron's Full Stack Web Development Program! I've been enrolled in the program for a month and a half now and I am really enjoying it. I am also simultaneously working on a portfolio redesign for my website. The design part is stumping me. As I mentioned before, having too many options feels almost paralyzing. I end up going back and forth about the design so much that I design nothing in the end. Ha, work in progress for sure.

What I hope is...

that I am making a positive difference with the skills I am learning.

I am currently trying to accomplish this by getting involved in my local tech community. I volunteer often and it has been invaluable to my experience and journey into tech. Especially when I work with younger girls who are just as excited about technology as I remember being!

I want to provide representation for girls and women, especially those of color, immigrants, and members of LGBTQIA community. Representation matters and was one of the reasons why it took me so long to land on tech. I did not know anyone who looked like me working in a technical field. With that said, I look forward to the industry doing a much better job on inclusion of underrepresented groups and marginalized folks. We are all deserving of not only an entry to this space, but to be treated fairly and justly once we get there.

My advice for other women who code is...

You can do anything you want to do. You do not have to do it alone. Ask for help. Ask for resources. Get involved in your community, in whatever way works best for you. Lift as you climb. You are deserving of help, opportunities, and respect. Be gentle with yourself. Persist.

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