From an ordinary girl to a programmer

Hello everybody, my name’s Alexandra and I’m a programmer! How did it happen? I’m just a girl…

Girls as a programmers and technical engineers

There is a common myth about girls not being able to be programmers. So firstly, I’d like to correct this myth. Does anybody know Ada Lovelace? She is considered the first programmer. She worked on Babbage’s general-purpose computer.

Or how about the ENIAC – the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, the first ever general-purpose electronic computer ? Who programmed it ? These people did: girls as a programmers

What did they actually do? Oh nothing important; they just calculated ballistic trajectories for artillery and other heavy weapons (like bombs) in order to make them impact where intended. Adele Goldstine on the right in this photo also wrote the manual for how to program the ENIAC. I don’t think any of these ladies are actually all that famous but they definitely should be.

Margaret Hamilton was the lead software engineer for the Appollo space program.

From the present, Marissa Mayer serves as a good example for us. She was the first female computer engineer in Google and now she works for Yahoo! as the president and Chief Executive Officer.

One of the reasons of creating a general opinion…

I think, one of the reasons of creating the general opinion “programming is only for men” is the fact, that in last 20-30 years were released a lot of computer games (Heroes of Might and Magic, Battlefield…), which were created to capture mainly boy’s attention. You know, their main context were battles, armies, strategies, and other similar stuff, which is a teen girl not interested in.  So mainly boys became to spend more time with playing computer games and computers at all and so they learned how to cheat and manipulate the game source code and started to make their own programmes.

Me in the beginnings

At grammar school,  I’ve been an unimpressive personality, lazy for ordinary 8-hour routine work, wanted to travel and organise my time as I wish. So I had 2 options. Study foreign languages (which would be not enough for me) or as my boyfriend always suggested, applied computer science on Faculty of mathematics, physics and informatics, as he did. He really wanted me to study what he did and I must say, that he helped me a lot when I decided for computer science. Sometimes, he wrote some cute program for me. Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 22.12.05He spoke a lot about subjects, projects, homeworks and other stuff he had to do to pass the exams.  I learned how accessible were his teachers and professors.

Why did I want to work remote?

I also released, that there is good opportunity to work remote, have flexible working-time, do and learn always something new and interesting and make the “magic” which many people can not. Not some routine work. Although there is another reason – higher salary, but for me, money is just a side effect.

What is the study like?

Because I knew, thanks to my bf, what the study of “ACS” will be about,  (anything hardcore bud doable) I decided to go to “Matfyz”.  Teachers are really helpful, nice and friendly. But my concern aren’t school marks. As I mentioned before, I want to be good enough to work remotely for appropriate salary with flexible working time. I take advantage of every school project and learn something (technology, software, programming language) what is “in”, new and revolutionary, something what companies need.  I was trying to be proactive as lot as possible. Sometimes I feel like the girl in the picture  IMg, but my curiosity and patience help me to learn everything necessary. Also subjects at school helped me a lot to improve not only my programming skills but general knowledge about computer science. Now I can understand better how does it all work in computer and network. In fact, I was preparing myself to work in the short period of time as the programmer. Because I didn’t want to be a waitress anymore!

Proactivity is important

Since my bf has become my inspiration I wanted to employ immediately after the first year of study. I was looking for appropriate job offer half a year before summer on many jobboard websites. Then I finally saw the best offer and knew exactly what to do. And I thought myself,  “my application will have to be very special because they sure have a lot of other applications”. Do you know what? I programmed my first application! Because they were looking for JS (React-front-end) developer I did it in JS and published it online.

Now I’m working for Learn2code, programming in JS and React and learning other necessary and funny stuff like Redux, some JS libraries, frameworks and whatever it takes.

To sum it up I’d like to send you a heartwarming message. It doesn’t matter whether you are girl or boy. Just trust yourself, don’t give up, be curious, be patient with coding (this is the most important), be proactive and accept the challenge which programming offers to you.

This article was written as a talk at Rails Girls Bratislava occasion which was organized by Learn2code company. Here you can read the slovak version of this article.