Becoming a developer: A woman's journey

To whom it may inspire:

Before I decided to study computer science no one ever told me that the world needed more women inside the technology industry, I didn’t go to any chapters about women in technology, I didn’t know this was an issue. What I had were opportunities that changed my life and helped me discover my passion.

When I was 11 it was mandatory in my school to take an extracurricular class, the choices where wide to say the least, they included workshops to make candles, clay, guitar, chess, and to my fortune, websites. I loved creating something new and be able to put it up, available for everyone. There were two girls out of around 20 in the class, and due to lack of interest it was cancelled the next year.

During high school I got a call to enroll in a summer program for girls who wanted to study engineering. The description was confusing because all kinds of girls showed up not knowing what to expect, girls who wanted to study architecture, or theater, working accountants, and everything in between. They were all amazing.
The project was to built a Simon Says game for kids with Down syndrome. I was assigned the coding task.

This experience changed what I thought about Computer Science. It gave me an entirely new perspective that I really needed to understand that it was not just about the technical process (like mindlessly working with huge databases), but it could spark a very creative and interesting environment where I think about problems, come up with ideas, and build the solutions. In that moment I understood the power included in this skill, the openness of the field and the opportunities that grow from it. It was overwhelming, in a great way.

Sadly the program was cancelled shortly after I participated.
When I first told my father about my major he didn’t think I was smart enough, and asked me to consider a “simpler” major or something I would be better at. My mother calls me a nerd all the time and says that I have a man’s job. This may sound harsh but you would be surprised at the level of sexism there is in Mexico, but we are all working on it.

Girls are not afraid of code, people are. People think computer scientists are geeks, and mathematicians. So, naturally, if you are not good at math, they think you cannot be a computer scientist, and they forget what a creative field it can be, worse yet, they don’t know. It’s intimidating and I understand it.

We are a relatively young industry, I have never felt less intelligent than my coworkers because I am a woman, I feel lucky to work with intelligent people all the time, because
people who love what they do are the best people to work with, and the great thing about computer science is that you can’t really fake it, you love it or you hate it.

We have been working for a long time to tell girls that they can be anything they want, so we have scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs and developers. We just need to give everyone the opportunity to decide if coding is something they love, or they hate.

And yes, I love it.