I’ll be honest… My path to a career as a Web Developer was a hard one, but 250% possible - don’t give up.
Being a female Hispanic Computer Science and Mathematics student was definitely unique, but more common in my college than most. Sure, being in classes where I was sometimes the only female student was intimidating. I often times wanted to give up, but I didn’t let that stop me. Most girls in my field I know are shy and want to succeed the class on their own - because they want to prove that females can be in Computer Science as well.
The thing is, you don’t have to be shy. Asking for help will benefit you more than ever. It shows your willingness to learn and grow as a student. I’ve made the mistake of spending two years not talking to my professors because it was definitely a struggle. I finally came out of my shell the more classes I took and getting used to being 1-4 females in the class. I started talking to other students and professors, and it wasn’t at all as scary as I thought it would be.
I had it in my mind that if I asked someone else for help or even the teacher, they’ll think, “What a ridiculous question, why is she even in this class if she doesn’t know the answer.” But more often then not, a lot of the students in the class were at my exact level and I was under-estimating myself. It was unfair for me to do that to myself, and also unfair to assume my professors and classmates would even think that way.
In the end, it was definitely satisfying to be done, but then another challenge fell right on my path. Job hunting.
I was searching high and wide for positions available with the little but good experience I had under my belt. Not to mention, I didn’t do any internships in college.
I would get excited to see “Junior Level Developer”, but when I check the requirements they list “With at least 3 years of experience!” Ugh, it was a nightmare and I was losing hope. Had I done something wrong? I thought I had everything I needed.
During my search, and occasional Facebook Feed distractions, a video popped up. It was a Ted Talk. Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, gave a speech on, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection.” Please watch it!
This video really struck a cord with me, I experienced almost everything of what she discussed in the video. And that’s when I started feeling much better about the position I was in. I finally stopped caring whether or not I didn’t meet 100% of the requirements on job listings. I started applying to those where I felt comfortable interviewing and taking the position (if possible) for. I was finally getting some interviews, and it was great. Even though I didn’t get an offer right away, I didn’t let that get me down. I continued applying and interviewing - it only made my interviewing skills improve.
I took an internship for the summer in Madison, WI. There I was able to get a little more experience and help improve my skills. I built a portfolio, then started applying some more. I landed a Web Developer position, and I couldn’t be happier where I am at now.
If you’re reading this and are wanting to get a career in Computer Science. GO FOR IT! If you’re that passionate about something, pursue it.
Or if you don’t want to go back to college for an extensive Computer Science degree, and just want to get into web development, I’ll list some resources to help you get started.
“How to become a front-end developer!” - by Thomas Peham
“Exactly What You Need to Know to be a Front End Developer” - by Cameron Chapman
Good luck and thanks for reading! :)
Love and Robots,