I was young but not as young as some people are when they tinker with computers. I was struggling with my mental health and depression and I was locked away with some other people struggling.
A guy, probably the smartest guy I've ever met, was allowed to work on his Masters in Mathematics. It was 2000-2001. I was 22, he was 35. He sat on the bench, smoking his Camels, with his Windows 95 laptop open. I looked at the computer, always something I wanted (I actually had a Commodore 128 when I was 12 as a hand-me-down computer). My eyes literally widened and I asked if I could work with it. I just learned how to get on the web, which was starting to take off. I worked with Word and a few other pieces of software and knew right then that I needed to work with computers.
Fast forward 13 years and some college experience. I was a Humanities major that kept talking about and tweaking software. I would often remark that I wanted to work in tech.
I bought a MacBook Pro early 2014. I downloaded a simple coding text editor. I bought a few random courses on Udemy in some Mac bundle. My friend Joe told me he was going to major in two things at once which meant that I could do it too. This gave me the permission I needed to start coding. I went from wanting to be a designer to wanting to be an engineer pretty quickly.
I am working on the Free Code Camp weather app, contributing to open source, and building a few libraries to send up to GitHub. I also have an e-commerce project I need to get done for my cousin's sports car parts business.
Building more software projects. More complex software and contributing more to open source. If I can build something someone, anyone finds useful, that makes me happy. That will make me fulfilled. In the same vein, if I can help take care of issues for a team of software developers open sourcing their software. How cool is that?
Speak up. I got mansplained to when doing an interview with a pretty well-known front end developer. I didn't notice but the people who were interviewing him with me did. If I knew what was going on, I would have spoken up. So I guess, also, know your worth. For me, him talking down to me or interrupting me was something I experienced enough that I didn't know it was not normal. Know that you deserve a seat at the table and if you aren't getting that opportunity, speak up. I am rather brash by nature so this isn't a problem for me.
If you know you aren't getting the opportunities you should, look for another company. Too many women are leaving tech. There are companies looking for you. The search may be difficult but so worth it, especially if this is something you love.
Don't quit. We need you.