I feel like the whole “I’m a woman in tech” started in January for me. It was the beginning of a new year (there’s always this hype that makes you want to change your destiny!), I was officially in the process of transferring from the marketing team to the dev team at work, had heard about the #100DaysOfCode Challenge and wanted to give it a shot (spoiler… nailed it!). Okay, okay, and I was recovering from a breakup, so I needed to be busy. But still.
The old me
A few years ago, I was talking with a friend of mine: « Sophie, I’m a little jealous of you. In a good way! I see you being part of a bunch of different projects, while I’m not, and I miss the old me. The one that always had something going on, who had a reading blog, who loved tutoring, who played Scrabble… »
There wasn’t much Sophie could say: I wasn’t the old me anymore. I didn’t have much going on besides my job and synchronized swimming. As a child, my parents always took pride in the fact that I was an avid reader, and both of them went to university. While I was at university (a language teaching degree), it only made sense that my interests had to do with my degree, right?
Who’s that new girl?
As I mentioned, this winter, I challenged myself with the #100DaysOfCode Challenge: for 100 days (duh!), I coded (duh-uh!) for an hour every day. Using the hashtag #100DaysOfCode, I got to tweet, show off my work, and get feedback from fellow coders. And even better, I got to encourage them as well. I also participated as a mentor at a Ladies Learning Code event. And I loved it. I met a bunch of awesome women, some of which I kept in touch with. I also got a ticket for the Women Techmakers Montréal, where I got to hear inspiring speakers. Later during springtime, I was asked to lead two workshops for LLC, the National Girls Learn to Code Day and the Canada Learning Code Week. Both of which were awesome opportunities.
I didn’t know that girl, but she reminded me of someone I used to know, except she didn’t read anymore. She coded.
How did I become that girl?
I always joke about the fact that five years ago, I was a karate girl studying to be a French teacher. And that I’m now a coding ninja doing synchronized swimming. It did make sense. I still love to read. But it’s not part of my life as much as it used to be. And it’s okay. Coding was taking more space in my life. I enjoyed helping out at coding workshops. Running a script that didn’t return an error gave be that adrenalin rush. And I was proud of what I was doing, even if it didn’t sound as glamorous as reading when I told my teacher friends about it.
To me, working somewhere from 9 to 5 isn’t a career. A career is something you do during your office hours, but you keep wanting to tweet about it once the day is done. You’re happy on Friday night because you finally get two days off schedule. But you’re still eager to go back to work on Monday morning. Sure, you get to see friends, meal prep, watch a movie, clean your apartment, sleep in. But you might have met those friends while attending a conference. And that movie, well it inspired you to organize an event to encourage young girls to choose the study field that is so dear to your heart.
So that’s why I am a woman in tech
To meet new people, give back to my community, feel empowered by the projects I am part of. And to network some more (even if I am terrified at the idea of being in a crowd of people I don’t know).
Will you dare to be a woman in tech as well?