Why I decided to teach myself web development

computer on desk with green plants

In the past three years, I found myself searching for something in relation to my work that was hard to grasp in the beginning, but became pretty clear in the spring of 2019: I wanted to be able to build whatever I wanted (especially after finding that a non-technical, female, solo founder had around 0% chances to raise money for a startup).

I’ve always been a very creative person and worked in localization at the time of my decision to teach myself coding. The fact that neither my passion for photography, illustration and design nor my creative linguistic work would ever turn into the career I hoped for only reassured me that this was ultimately the right choice for me. So I went to the library and got myself a book about HTML and CSS, while at the same time enrolling in freeCodeCamp. I was 100% sure that I’d fail miserably. I wasn’t clever enough, I was a failure in Math back in the days in school, and I was beyond intimated by all the smart programmers (mostly men) that seemed to comfortably tweet away about their coding achievements on a daily basis.

What kept me going despite being sure that I’d fail was, initially, the hope of having a seat at the table – most of the tools we use daily and that are a big part of our lives are made by men. I wondered: How would our world change if more women were involved in technical development?

And then, slowly but surely, mixed in with the frustration, came the joy of things making sense and working on a screen and even looking good. On the day I set up my portfolio page (not too long ago, actually!), I was 100% sure that this daunting adventure had turned into a passion of mine. And who was in charge of my successes and failures if not me?

There’s a lot to be said about Silicon Valley, but one of the best things that comes with living here is being immersed in a culture of learning and striving. I feel lucky to be surrounded by people that celebrate my interest in programming rather than telling me “You can’t do this anyway” (even though we have programmers like that as well, but this post doesn’t have space for them).

I still have incredibly much to learn before I’d even think about applying for a frontend developer role. Right now it almost seems like the most important first step was to unlearn some of my limiting beliefs.

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