First of all let me give you a spoiler - I do not have any typical background, I have not attended a bootcamp, no one in my family has a STEM degree and I grew up in a village in Russia, where girls did not have proper IT classes, we learn how to cook and serve for men instead.🤦🏼♀️ Yeah..cool and inspiring, right?
When after school I spontaneously moved alone to Austria without not only any programming language but without even German language in my pocket. Fun fact - I did not have a normal smartphone either, what about coding...
I started coding in the end of 2016 during my Political Science degree. We did not have any real Statistics or Math so everything I can do now I learnt by taking extra courses online or at the University. The reason I even came up with the idea of learning programming is inspired by massive amounts of data that I had to observe and analyze for my research work - stem cells regulations. I desperately looked for any kind of automated solution for this problem.And at the same moment I found out about Lemmings - AI and chat bot incubator in Vienna, I applied and started visiting the sessions, every 2nd weekend for 16h +! Meanwhile I used to get a job in a real estate firm and got an idea to build a property recommendation engine - so no chances here but learn programming yourself..during some breaks, in the tram, subway and instead of sleeping. These things brought me to the state of current me, who I am now, writing algorithms to solve real world problems, hustling with my own projects, managing data science community at the University and founding AI academy. Like, for real, you know ? :)
Most thing that made me being proud of myself and for what I have achieved so far - is that I never stopped. Does not matter how hard it was, how frustrating it became - not having any single weekend in 1 year and managing 2 studies and three jobs while living in another country alone.
My coding journey was not smooth either. Constantly dealing with impostor syndrome and losing yourself in thousands of online courses, comparing yourself to others. These things are you enemies, that you can fight by visiting meetups, engaging into communities, developing a habit of using every second of your life to learn something new about computer science and topic you are digging into. Everything you need you can find in internet for free ! 💸 There are a bunch of great learning platforms, where you can get courses without paying for them. One of the best things you could do for yourself - listen to podcasts and watching MIT computer science courses. Not only there are the best I have ever seen in my life, but also very inspiring. 🎓 Start blogging - seriously, create an Instagram account just because of it. ( I did it :D ) It helps a lot, firs of all to your and also others to get an inspiration.
I think, one of the best moments I experienced, when I after I gave a talk at the AI congress - so many people came to me to share their similar experiences and struggles going though this journey and learning everything from scratch. I am very grateful to be able to speak to them and give an advise.
To other brave and amazing people, who are like me transitioning from very different backgrounds, working and studying full-time parallel - people, it is possible! I am alive and I have done it. And I am sharing it because I wish I have had it when I was at the same situation. An inspiration, a motivation and a prove it is real. If a young girl from school without any money, life plan or permit to work in the country did it - then anyone can!