I got my first PC before I had any idea what a computer programmer was. My dad, who worked at IBM at the time, came home one day and dropped a PC Jr. on my desk.
It had a slot for a cartridge, and I had no idea what to do with it, so the PC Jr. became the biggest paperweight I’d ever seen. I had no plans to learn to code. Nevertheless, a seed had been planted.
Can Moms Learn Coding?
Fast forward thirty-eight years and three kids later; I work in technology as a software trainer, and I am officially learning to code (for real this time). Yeah, I’d built websites back when Microsoft FrontPage was a thing. I’d built WordPress sites, and I picked through HTML and CSS regularly in the course of my job, but I had never considered myself a coder.
As a mom, even of older kids, it was inconceivable to me that I might go back to college to learn to code. I’d tried going back to college before. It’s not impossible, but it’s tough if you are the primary or only parent in a household. Going back to college didn’t work out well for me.
- I didn’t learn the way I did when I was in college. When you have to remember everything for everybody in your household, it’s much harder to retain the definitions of new terms.
- I was determined not to let my job or school prevent my children from having a full-time mom, so my commitments to my children and their activities cut into study time.
- Burnout hit hard and quickly. Hiking across campus after corralling kids, cooking, cleaning, and working was not nearly as enjoyable as it sounds.
When I heard about Tech Talent South (TTS), I knew I had to learn to code there. Just the fact that TTS was committed to growing tech talent right here at home sold me on the program. The fact that they offered a hands-on, part-time Code Immersion class that would not interfere with my job or my commitments to my children was a bonus. Would I feel tired? Hell, yeah, but I could hack it for eight weeks, right?
Learning to Code and Finding a Tribe
You’re probably wondering what I’ve learned during these eight weeks. I’ve learned a ton of code. I’ve learned about researching and planning projects, but I’ve also learned as much about myself as I have about coding. Here's a short list of what learning to code has taught me.
- I knew more HTML and CSS than I thought. That helped build my self-confidence as we moved forward with languages I had no experience with, Ruby and Rails.
- It would take a little time to feel comfortable with these new languages, just like learning French or Spanish, but when I started dreaming about coding I was starting to get the hang of it.
- My kids love to see me happily tapping away on my keyboard as I work on a coding challenge. Happy moms make for happy households.
- Other moms love to code too. Tech Talent South introduced me to a diverse group of moms who were at different stages of becoming coders. Instead of feeling like the odd person out, I had found a tribe.
So, Yeah, I'm a Mom Who Codes
So I am embracing my newest role as a mom who codes. It’s a transformation from picking at code to owning and honoring what I already know as well as what I am learning. Being a mom who codes is not necessarily the easiest path. I have a lot to learn about coding. I am constantly learning about being a mom; and there are always challenges balancing my many obligations, but I am enjoying the journey.