We highlight inspiring women who are changing the game of the industry, one piece of code at a time…
Where Do You Live? I live and work in Boston, Massachusetts.
What Do You Do? I work as a Software Engineer at O'Reilly Media, the online learning platform company known for their technical books for the past few decades. If you've ever owned or seen the books with the animals on the cover, that's us! I just recently joined the brand new Content Curation team! Outside of my full-time work, I am a tech writer and a speaker at tech events. I am also currently enrolled as a Computer Science student at Boston University. I go by nnennahacks on Twitter and you can find my writing on Medium.
How Did You Get into Coding? In 2016, I started to see information online about web development and the ability to build and design your own web pages. I thought the idea of that was not only very creative, but very empowering. I was working at a tanning salon at the time and was very perplexed about what my future concerning school and work. Learning and self-education was always an outlet for me, so after having a conversation with a black Biology major turned iOS Engineer, I was encouraged to explore coding more seriously. I relocated to Boston, enrolled in some community college classes, and after a few months of more dedicated self-learning, I obtained my first Software Engineering internship in the summer of 2017. When I became a Junior Developer at that company, I enrolled in a coding bootcamp, Resilient Coders, for Full Stack Web Development. After graduating from that bootcamp, I had the opportunity to work as a Software Developer at a fintech start up company. I eventually enrolled at BU to pursue my degree in Computer Science. Now, I am an Engineer at O'Reilly Media and having a blast thus far.
What's One Inspiring Piece of Advice You Have for Career Changers? There is honestly so much advice I could give at this point, even though I have not been in the industry for several years like many others. I'd say that if you are interested in changing your career, the two most important things you could do are:
1) Remain consistent with what you're learning as you as embarking upon your career change. Consistency, persistence, and humility during your journey is what makes a person incredible at their craft and a great co-collaborator on teams at companies. I learned that my ability to self-educate and become adaptable in different situations is what allows me to understand the mechanisms of the tech industry. You don't need to become an expert more than you need to become a person who can adapt to the demands of the market as they are ever-changing.
2) Make your name known as you're making your career change. You may hold conflicting opinions about the idea of marketing yourself on social media and/or at events you attend in person, but the power and impact that it can have on one's life is undeniable and irrefutable. You could apply to 1,000 jobs online and possibly get none, but speak to an Engineering Manager who happened to show up to the same local tech event that you did and you may find that that type of networking could result in more opportunities because there's now a face and personality attached to your name. A sense of familiarity and/or recognition is established at that point. I've met some Engineers who seemed to denounce the idea of "putting yourself out there" on social media because it seems disingenuous to them, but we are living in an age where your opportunities and network could result in you investing in the developer community outside of yourself. It's enriching, validating, and humbling. Don't limit yourself and don't miss out on what's out there!