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How I overcame imposter syndrome and found my way into coding


This post is originally from my blog.


If I had to pick a quote that describes my coding journey, it would be the famous saying, “you won’t know until you try.” I’m not going to lie to you: starting a coding journey can be a daunting and intimidating experience, especially for women since these spaces are dominated mainly by men. If you’re a woman or a fem-identifying person who feels like learning to code is impossible for you, no judgment here. I had those feelings once too. Here’s my story.


My background and how I got into coding

I’m an Instructional Designer. This job title has many definitions but to simplify it (and to save you from being bored with long explanations 😉), I create engaging content that helps solve an issue in an organization. One day, I was being interviewed for an Instructional Designer position for an EdTech company. Everything went pretty smoothly until I was asked if I had a basic knowledge of HTML.


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Yes, I was an idiot for not taking that skill preference seriously! Stop reminding me, Ariel! 😣


I took a deep breath, and told the interviewer “No”. A couple of days later, I received the classic “We went with someone else” email. After that, I looked for more Instructional Designer positions and noticed that each posting wanted people with coding knowledge. So from that day forward, I decided to learn how to code.


Overcoming impostor syndrome and self-doubt

When I was searching for courses to start my coding journey, I, like most coding newbies, went with FreecodeCamp’s Responsive Web Design Curriculum. Unfortunately, I found the content too difficult to understand, so I switched to the HTML courses that were offered on Linkedin, but I found the content to be too long and boring (sorry LinkedIn!), so I stopped there. Experiencing these bumps and not seeing that many women, especially those who come from non-tech backgrounds in coding spaces made me feel that learning how to code was not possible for someone like me.


Fortunately, those feelings changed when a colleague of mine introduced me to SheCodes (well, more like constantly asking me “did you start yet?”, but you get the idea), a wonderful organization that is dedicated to helping women learn how to code and start their tech careers.


Through taking their Basics course, I found the following methods helpful in overcoming my self-doubt:


1. Interact with other students

Whenever I was struggling with an assignment and struggled with understanding the instructor’s lesson, I would go to SheCodes’ Slack community and ask for tips. I’d also go on there to help other students who were having similar issues. It was wonderful seeing their receptiveness to my advice as well as their excitement when I or another student shared an achievement. It’s just an indescribable feeling that you get when you’re surrounded by other women who are learning the same topics as you.


2. Finding more communities to join

When I finished the Basics course, a few of the students that I befriended suggested that I join other communities to further my knowledge of coding. Here’s a list of online coding communities that have helped me:


  1. SheSharp

  2. Women Who Code

  3. WomenTech Network

  4. Scrimba


It takes a village to raise a coder, so don’t hesitate to join other groups.


3. Building my own path in the world of coding

After I finished SheCodes’ Basics course and joined Scrimba’s Discord community, I was not sure what aspect of coding I should focus on. Initially, I picked frontend development due to being interested in doing better at HTML, CSS, and JavaScript; but then, one of the code reviewers told me about Open Source projects. I fell into that rabbit hole and never left.

If you want to learn more about how I fell in love with Open Source projects, check out this blog post.



Conclusion

Overall, learning how to code has been a challenging but incredibly rewarding journey. I’ve met great people and developed great skills. I don’t know where my coding journey will take me, but wherever it goes, I know it will be somewhere exciting.


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Thanks for reading my story. I hope it inspires you to start your own coding journey. If you want to stay updated on my journey, follow me on Hashnode. Also, please like and share it amongst other women who are hesitant to learn how to code.


Credits

Online illustrations by Storyset

Rainbow Road by GIF

The Little Mermaid Facepalm by GIF



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