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A Step Back to Leap Forward

Jessica Murphy, Mar, 29 2016 | 2 min read


I am currently an American Sign Language teacher.  Individuals with disabilities have always been a part of my experience (My step-mom was blind.  I have friends who are deaf and friends with various disabilities).  I believed that the next step in my career was to work in disability services.  I went to graduate school, earned a master’s degree and did not find a job!  I was disheartened.

At a conference in 2015, I met Sheena Smith.  She said that she was with Women Who Code and she loved teaching women to code.  To be honest, she was the first woman in technology that I had ever met.  I was delighted!  For the first time, it entered my consciousness that I could possibly become a developer myself.

After meeting Sheena, I went home and researched everything I could find out about becoming a developer.  I became a member of Girl Develop It, Women Who Code, Code Sisters and other organizations.  For the remainder of 2015, I managed to teach myself HTML, CSS and some JavaScript through workshops and online resources.  However, I needed the structure of a classroom.  Then, I found out about Tech Talent South.

In early 2016, I learned that Tech Talent South Phoenix had started a Ruby on Rails program.  I signed up as quickly as possible (so glad I did because it has been a blast)!  Everyone in the organization has been so kind.  My teacher, Jared is amazing.  He makes himself available for questions.  He is a great instructor who recommends various resources to ensure that we are learning the material.  He is knowledgeable, and he uses humor to make the experience of learning even better.

So, this is what I have learned from taking a step back to leap forward.

1. A step back may be a blessing in disguise.  For me, it revealed a path that I could have never imagined with new friends and experiences.

2. According to Marianne Williamson, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

In telling me about her love for teaching others to code, Sheena Smith changed my life. She let her light shine and brought newness and energy into mine.

3. Pursue an education that will help to fulfill your dreams.  I didn’t get a CS degree.  I went to a bootcamp to ramp up my skills quickly with an experienced developer.  I am passionate about Ruby on Rails.  I want to build!  Tech Talent South has given me the skills to do so!

4. It’s okay to be a beginner.  I have had a professional career in which I am considered knowledgeable.  It has been amazing to allow myself to be a beginner because no one starts out knowing everything.  We all start somewhere.

Success is seldom a linear experience.  Sometimes people need to step back to leap forward.  Learning to be a developer has been that experience for me.  It has been rewarding, humbling, new and challenging.  However, I am grateful for all of it.  As I continue learn and grow as a developer, I hope to take all that I’ve learned to shine my light so that some else is inspired to become a developer.

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