This post is unlike my usual, but I felt like this was a good opportunity to explain why I have begun this journey and I hope it inspires the many of my readers.
An early start
I’ve had a found curiosity for picking at gadgets and devices at a very young age. When I was about a year and a half, I learned how to change the channel and take a VHS out of the VCR so I could play Snow White on our TV before even my parents did. It was clear evidence that I would become a techie in my future (or at least I like to think so).
Fast forward to middle school: MySpace. The first creative outlet for kids to get really creative and customize the “coolest” profile. Like many, it was my introduction to learn HTML & CSS. Namely learning how to update color codes and learn naturally what made good web design. While it was not finally my career path, it was another experience that made me realize that I wanted to work with computers for the rest of my life. I was finally set on finding a career in tech. No matter what.
Like the story of many, even though there are an abundance of learning opportunities that exist for some in and out of lower and higher education, it took me many years to fully understand how to make the connection between my school and interests learning. In my case, it would not be until college that I would once again, understand why I was in school to get my tech degree in the first place. Don’t get me wrong- I was not the first student in my class. Probably not even the fifth. But I came in every day to class happy to work with other students who also had a passion to change lives in tech. Whether that was making their student IT jobs easier, making a difference at their internship or helping their parents with their home business. You’ll notice more often then not it’s not about just making money. In my case, it involved helping others.
Bumps in the road
I started my education as a Computer Science major. I was determined but once I realized I did not excel at the mathematical level I needed to, I transferred into Computer Information Technology. Believe it or not, I was not happy about the decision. I was more adamant about the title then I was about the actual major itself. It felt like no matter how hard I worked, some classes I excelled in, and some I failed miserably. Additionally it was a competition I felt like I had no steak in. Come to transferring, I’d finally learned to love school again. The degree allowed me to still learn how to code, but take business, marketing and other technical classes that would teach me about the connection between people and tech. It was a path at which I did not understand at the time. It was the most rewarding lesson I got from dealing with a new educational path. Plans are not always set in stone after all.
When I graduated, I noticed almost immediately how despite my grades not starting off strong, my passion for technology was the first thing everyone noticed. I was a fast learner, I was passionate about company workflow efficiency and my outgoing personality shown through my resume and my interviews. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the struggle of job hunting without a degree or with a low GPA, but I’ve learned to be more flexible in the discourse of pursuing tech to get my foot in the door. Setting up computers every day per example is not the most fun and the most profitable, but it taught me how people work, and of course, gave me an opportunity to still work in the industry that I was passionate about.
I did not throw away my shot
As Confucius said, “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s great advice, but it’s not always that simple— people have bills to pay after all. Not all passions can be turned into a living. That being said, if you’re resourceful enough, hustle hard enough, and lucky enough — you can turn your passion into a living. And sure enough, I got my first shot of luck when my boss tuned in to a thirst for learning and let me lead my first project: a Salesforce Administration. Something of which at the time I had no formal or educational training. But someone finally gave me a shot. I took my chance, hustled and fast forward I continue to learn in the tech field.
I remember to not be discouraged about the title or the pay. I know every day I make a difference and that despite some careers being invisible in the discourse of general industries, your purpose is no less important then others. Despite often being excluded from the discourse of women in tech, I know how important it is for me as an IT support person to support other software testers, technical writers, QAs, graphic design, user experience, project management, customer support, more.
This is not the end of my journey. I will continue to step one foot at a time and share with the world what tech can do for you and me.