A High Level Look Into How My Organism was Created

My Childhood

I am now 24 years old. I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. My school didn’t offer very advanced classes, we didn’t have any resources to learn about programming or really computers in general. We had basketball and softball and, like always, the people who played sports were “favored.” My high school was so small that almost everyone got along and were friends though.

My home life was always different from my friends because my parents did things differently. They believed in letting my brother and I learning for ourselves unless it could potentially harm us. We were never “well off” with money by any means, but my parents always made sure we had the things that we needed. My parents raised my brother and I to be pretty independent. We walked to school by ourselves at a very young age, stayed home alone without a baby sitter, sometimes made our own food, etc.

My dad has always been very interested in technology and from the time I was very young we always had a computer and internet in our house. My brother and I had our own computers in our rooms without parental locks or any of that. We were free to learn and explore what we were curious about. When I asked my dad a question about how something worked or why something was the way it was he would say,

“Did you ask Google?”

He taught me I had the answer to nearly any question I could think of at the end of my fingertips!

My mom was what most people call, “the fun one.” She is the out-going, take risks, live in the now and don’t worry about problems until you encounter them. She raised my brother and I knowing we could do and be anything, as long as it was realistic. When I was curious about something she would tell me,

“Try it and see what happens.”

She was and is an amazing role model to have in my life.

Long story short, I grew up in a very tight-knit community with extremely supportive and laid-back parents, and always encouraged to try new things, be myself, and always learn.

College Years

I went to college for my Bachelors of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. I started college knowing I wanted to learn programming and that I wanted my major to be in something involving computers, but I didn’t actually know the major I wanted to pursue was computer science for about 3 semesters.

It took a while for me to really realize that I was “an outcast.” I may have noticed I was one of only a few females in my classes, but never really thought about it. It rarely affected me and I usually brushed off any negative encounters as something isolated to the situation and not widespread.

I dated a guy that often told me I’d only get a job because I was female. I had peers in classes give me shit about professors having crushes on me and getting special treatment or being graded easier because of how the professor felt about me. There were mass emails sent out to the student body that read,

“Females and Minorities are encouraged to apply…”

Some of the females I met in my classes were a lot like me with their interest in learning about programming and technology in general, but others were not. There were females I met that would explain how if they flirt with the TA’s a little the TA would give them the answers to homework assignments or to labs. The first time I met this “type” of female I instantly attributed all the shit I had gotten from peers to those girls and agreed with it. I felt like I understood where the animosity was coming from for the first time.

Joining the Tech-World

I started as an Application Developer at the company my dad also worked at. We had the same position, but he had a few more years of experience on me.

Working with my dad was one of the best experiences I will ever have.

I was the only application developer that was also female out of about 40 developers and database administrators in our department. Some of the devs didn’t talk to me at all, some treated me the same as they treated everyone else, some bullshitted with me and gave me shit about my age, and some talked to me about the women in IT “issue.” This is when I first really became aware that the whole “women in IT” thing was an actual issue for a lot of women. Besides a couple guys that enjoyed discussing the topic I didn’t really experience any of the issues you commonly hear about.

I started my second job as an application/web developer consultant about a year later. There were more women on my new team and a larger focus on the “women in IT” topic, which lead me to speaking at a developers conference about the “issue.”

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed learning a little about me.

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