Updated: Aug 18
A personal experience that lead me to want to speak up and support others!
What prompted the initiative for this community?
I'm a .NET/C# backend developer with a diversified background in journalism, sales, project management, and it was in 2016 that I pursued my career in the tech industry.
I started my new career path when I enrolled in a coding boot camp to learn object-oriented programming, however, this was also when I realized the overwhelming majority of my peers were white males.
It was within this program that lit the flame to my imposter syndrome. I know some hate that term, "imposter syndrome" and how it has evolved over the years, stamping anyone with this label who doesn't identify as the "professional norm", aka a white male, in the tech industry. However, I struggled to learn how to code because of this atmosphere and the methods in which it was taught.
I distinctly remember a moment when one of the founders of this boot camp was trying to walk me through an application workflow and using the white-board technique to write pseudocode. I was struggling during this process, and instead of taking a moment to realize this approach wasn't working and explain the WHY of what we were reviewing, it lead to tears and frustration. It almost felt like the dialogue with this individual was with a football coach screaming a play for me to then run out on the field and relay back to the team to execute.
This sort of communication barrier was an ongoing trend throughout my career in the tech industry. However, I had experience in my previous roles that relied on clear and direct communication. So, why was it so difficult to do the same in this industry?
Recognizing a trend
Not only was I struggling to learn the technology stack in my boot camp, but I was also struggling to communicate and learn the codebase with my co-workers and supervisor when I started my first role as a developer. Not only did my learning atmosphere only include the majority of men, but so did my work atmosphere.
As I continued my career and worked at different companies this trend rarely changed. I consistently found myself working mostly with white males, with some exceptions. This often made me second guess my career transition and ability to do my job.
The internal compass that lead me here, let my atmosphere influence my success. This was because I let self-doubt consume me, convincing me I wasn't good enough and this affected my communication and inability to speak up and be direct.
The turning point
It was my previous role as a developer where I finally engaged with different genders, races, and ethnicities. It was where I discovered my place in this industry. I was lucky enough at this time to join a team that was lead by allies. Finally, my voice felt heard, and I was encouraged to speak up and my opinions were valued. Without these individuals and their faith in my skills and myself, I don't think I would have continued my career in this industry.
During this time that I felt the power of support and mentorship that helped promote this career path and assure me that this was a valid choice.
I want to provide the same sort of support and mentorship to fellow peers who are not seen as the professional norm in the tech industry. I want to create a safe space for others to connect and discuss challenges, successes, resources, tips, and discover opportunities.
Help me promote this career path as a valid option for others who are unaware of their full potential and raise their voices.
How can you be part of this effort
No matter how you identify racially, ethnicity, religion, or gender - this is a safe space for you. I encourage you who identify as allies for these groups to also join this community and support our effort to make the tech industry more inclusive and humanized.