Three years ago, I picked up a new hobby. This thing called programming. The more I learned, the more interested I became. It crept into my life unexpectedly and soon I was foregoing sleep to code. But I didn’t call myself a programmer, and I had no desire to work in tech. Coding was a way to entertain myself. I’d build silly little apps, like the one to help with meditation or the waiver application my yoga studio used.
My stereotypes of programmers prevented me from connecting the dots. Yes, I loved to code, but I wasn’t one of them. Programmers were the same guys that played Magic cards in grade school, later World of Warcraft in high school. They wore free t-shirts given away at tech conferences and ugly sandals with socks. Programmers were introverted types, shying away from human interaction and especially girls. No one in my circle of friends was an engineer.
Then I met Nicholas at a Skillshare class. He wore skinny jeans so tight, even I couldn’t fit into them. He sketched all day and understood me. We’d pontificate about life in his East Village walk up, while his cat roamed about. We started collaborating and built what we hoped to become the center of comics on the internet. He called it Binsapp.
I met Adam through the same class. He dressed as if perpetually coming from the gym, wearing shorts and a ratty t-shirt. The only thing we had in common was being from New Hampshire. Well, that and the fact that we were both noobs. We started working on a project for HowAboutWe. He knew I was smart, but impatient. He forced me to take breaks to clear my head.
If it wasn’t for Avi Flombaum, I would have never made the leap. It was him that made me re-evaluate my time-consuming hobby and the possibility of it becoming more. I resisted for months. I told him I couldn’t see myself as a programmer. I talk too fast. I’m vain. And I’m really much too loud. I wouldn’t fit in. Avi reminded me that I was talented at programming. With more time, I would be unstoppable. It’d be a shame not to pursue it. But it was his final point that programming would open doors that convinced me. No matter what industry I was interested in, technology would most certainly play a role.
This blog post is my public thank you to Nick, Adam and Avi. Nick and Adam, thank you for challenging my stereotypes about men in tech. You two understand me, despite our vastly different backgrounds. Avi, thank you for being my teacher, friend and life coach. You believed in me when I doubted myself. You three have a special place in my heart. Most important though, thank you guys for bringing another female into an industry that’s starving for them.