Solving problems is absolutely thrilling and I love building something that fulfills a need. Experience-wise, my origins lie in illustration so I already knew the satisfaction of getting into 'the zone' where creativity flows easily mind-to-page. One of my first jobs was a serendipitous web design position which trained me in HTML and CSS; the correlation to that same creative zone was surprising. Plus the results were easy to show with a URL, so I was hooked.
Now with guidance from my mentor and partner I'm finding that joy again by learning more about backend systems, and we plan to work in the pair-programming style to catch up on the latest frontend languages together.
A period of really frustrating fuzziness while refactoring older code. Goal being to reduce spam generated by game's combat system and make it more of a condensed summary, this means visiting an old system and code I didn't write. Coupled with a hiatus from coding, the feeling of dread surrounding this project was difficult to approach.
My advice: Just get in there. Even just reading and gradually comprehending the code is progress and your amazing brain will continue to work on problems while you sleep. Do not get discouraged by how few lines you change or write today. Read it, learn it, construct your battle plan. Then get back in there tomorrow. Currently stuck? I recently bookmarked this; maybe it'll help you too.
Feeling a sense of illumination by not giving up and still being excited to learn more! I'm realizing how temporary feelings of anger, frustration, and the desire to 'give up' can be.
One of my proudest moments is a productive day with my partner where we had a lot of communication and simultaneous understanding. So much got done that day! That was while writing new code with a solid plan, which gives me ideas for how we might tackle refactoring older code by first reviewing it together and getting on the same page. So I guess I'm bragging about how even writing this is inspiring me toward improvement.
Never assume anybody is limited by what/where they are in this moment: We all started at the bottom––we all grow. Encourage the struggle to grow because the struggle itself invokes improvement, whether muscle or mind.
In my case, having been raised believing intelligence is a fixed trait, the prevailing tendency was never to speak/reach out unless we were already certain we'd succeed. Otherwise we risked revealing limitations, "weaknesses". Believing in fixed traits can cause even the most talented individual to falter and stop trying, out of fear they may discover some limitation.
Without allies I trust, these perceived limits would certainly stifle me. But the truth makes life a beautiful adventure: You are far more capable than you believe, and will absolutely surprise yourself by how much you can learn. If they haven't already, please encourage the women in your life to shift their paradigm, too.