You Can Do It

Daphne Watson

This is the message I got from the TAP Code2040 Retreat last weekend.

CODE2040 Logo

CODE2040 is a San Francisco, CA based nonprofit that creates programs to increase the representation of Blacks and Latino/as in the tech industry. They strongly believe that the United States, as a whole, will be stronger if talent from all backgrounds are included in the creation of companies, programs, and products of tomorrow.

CODE2040 offered their first ever annual TAP Retreat held in Oakland, CA. I was thrilled when I was offered an invitation by the staff. The TAP retreat had great lineups over the course of the weekend — multiple panels and workshops for technical interviews, behavioral interviews, online social media presence, the art of networking, and more.

The staff, mentors, and volunteers are awesome, to say the least. They are key players in the tech industry who offer support, empathy, and encouragement for each and every one of us to follows our professional goals and dreams.

The group of us TAP invitees (I’m in the far top left!)

As a black woman in tech (specifically for software development), sometimes you just need some support and wonder where you can find it. Everyone’s scared to start something new. And starting something new takes effort and discipline, then brainstorming your plan for where you want to be and how to get there.

Because of my drive and self-determination, I’ve been able to accomplish from great things professionally - multiple publications in a major local newspaper, and landing roles in nationwide commercials.

However, the tech world for me is a different beast. Hard work and drive are keys to success in software development, but there just aren’t many folks out there that look like me. The current U.S. stats for African-Americans in the Software Engineering Occupation is bleak. A mere 4% nationwide - which is a rough number to face.

CODE2040 offered the ears to listen, a shoulder to lean on, and the motivation to turn my dreams into plans.

As with facing most challenges in my life, drive keeps me going through the difficulties. At some point within any struggle, the clear idea of “never give up” hits me like a mile of bricks in my head, and I keep going. I keep following the trail, knowing that eventually I’ll find my direction. I view everyday as an opportunity to learn more and become better at my skill.

I can do it, and so can you. CODE2040 — Thanks for a great weekend, and thank you for including me into your community.

Daphne Watson

Written by

Front-end developer + occasional writer. Norcal native based in Sacramento, CA.

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