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October Sharpie of the Month: Ayu Adiati

This month, we caught up with Ayu Adiati to learn more about her journey into tech!

An illustration celebrating the Sharpie of the Month, with a photo of the winner, Georgia, smiling.

Name: Ayu Adiati

Location: Originally from Indonesia, now residing in South Holland, The Netherlands

Role: Documentation Lead at Virtual Coffee

Tell me a bit more about your journey into tech.

I always had an interest in computers since I was little. When I was 7, my father bought a new computer. I might play a game on the computer on weekends with my siblings, but nothing more than that. At that time, my father was still an old-school who believed that technical fields were for boys, not girls. He enrolled my little brother in a computer course. What I did was whenever he had homework, I would sit next to him and pay attention to what he did. I remember it was MS-DOS and LOTUS 1-2-3. And I remember I sometimes helped him with his homework because it was super fun! But I had to bury that interest for a long time.

Many years later, when my daughter was two years old (now she's 6!), I wanted to write a blog about my life as an Indonesian stay-at-home mom living abroad. I also want to have a website to showcase my photography hobby. I heard about WordPress, so I did my research. While searching about it, I bumped into freeCodeCamp. The first time I saw "Hello World" rendered with HTML, I got hooked, and the rest was history. I found my passion in tech again.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

As a self-taught web developer, the biggest challenge was being alone and feeling isolated. I had no one to ask when I got stuck and no one to share my wins and frustrations with. On top of that, having a 2-year-old at that time was quite challenging. I squeezed time to learn during her nap and then continued to learn after 10 or 11 at night for 1-2 hours after everyone slept. It was exhausting, but looking back, it's worth it. Although I admit I got burned out and felt like I wanted to give up quite a lot.

Finding an online tech community during the pandemic and now being a part of supportive and inclusive communities helped me so much in overcoming them. I can ask for help when I need it, share my ups and downs, and find the support system I need. Above all, I've made new friends! And since I became active in the communities and volunteered in several of them, I found my self-confidence. I grew so much as a web developer, a tech blogger, and a person.

What are some of the resources from SheSharp that have helped you with your growth?

I found SheSharp on Twitter from someone's tweet, went to the website, and joined the community not long ago. The warmth from everyone helps me feel that I'm in a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place. The resources that everyone dropped on Slack are valuable. And It is the first time I found a women's community in the Netherlands, so I'm very excited!

I'm looking forward to attending the in-person meetup one day.

What advice would you give someone wanting to break into the tech industry?

Don't compare yourself to anyone else. People's journeys are different and unique, and so are yours. There will be ups and downs, but you'll be there, eventually, at the right time.

Put yourself out there and help other devs through mentoring, creating content, sharing information and your knowledge on social media, volunteering at a tech community, or anything else that suits you. Your hard work will be noticed and can help your job search.

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