Week 5 — Is it too late to become ‘A Woman In Tech’ at 45?

Ada Lovelace — 1840 — considered to be the first ever computer programmer. Image painted by Alfred Edward Chalon and available courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I have started to learn to code.

I feel that I’m very old to be doing such a thing. I’m almost 45 (I think — hang on, I have to work it out. I can never remember how old I am anymore, the years go by so quickly. Born in 1971, haven’t had my birthday yet, that makes me 44 now, right? Is there an app for this?)

When I was at primary school I think there may have been some computers on site, but the only people who had access to them were boys who wore glasses and played Dungeons and Dragons. I remember being taken on a visit to a friend of my mother’s and they had a computer in their house. It was that whole flashing green curser and lines of text thing. I wasn’t very interested.

I also had a friend who had an Atari. I wasn’t really interested in that either.

So why do I now have fantasies about becoming ‘A Woman In Tech’?

Several years ago I wanted to create a website which helped people find books in particular countries; to help them read fiction related to places they were travelling to. And I didn’t want to pay someone to make me one.

So, I had a go, with the help of t’internet of course.

It is pretty rubbish in terms of design (very 1992 someone told me once) — but I did do it all myself. Today Packabook desperately needs an overhaul and is on The List of things to do now that I don’t have a proper job.

I’ve since played with WordPress a bit more, and think my latest venture, a website to help people find homewares in a particular color is quite a bit more stylish.

(BTW — you may notice a trend with those two sites. It seems my mission in life is to categorise things!!)

But I’m still not satisfied. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, I want to do more. I want to know more. I want to arm myself with UX, I want to get my Ruby on its Rails, I want to bathe in CSS. I want to be a Woman In Tech!

Women In Tech seem to be having all the fun these days. I keep reading about them in the paper. They are glamorous and get to go to Hackathons, run companies and give TED talks. They are Anna Patterson and Camille Fournier. They don’t even all wear glasses. They are changing our world.

At first I thought I just wanted to learn to code to keep up with my 11-year old niece who is starting to do this stuff at school. But it’s more than that. I’ve realised I just might be good at it. I have a logical, strategic mind. I like to figure out problems. I have patience. There’s a market for these skills. Who says I can’t do it at (almost) 45? I may not end up running Facebook, but at the very least I’ll do a better job on my own websites. And maybe I’ll learn enough to be able to charge for it.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing this week. I have signed up to a course at Skillcrush, which, bless them, is obviously designed for people like me. It’s a lot more girly and cheaper than some of the other (scarier) coding schools, and if they have any dungeons OR dragons they are keeping them well hidden. They promote it with a woman sitting at her laptop, holding a baby. She has tattoos. I like that. Is it the best coding school out there? Quite possibly not, but it’s a start. I assume it takes years to get really good at this stuff, and this is just a very tentative beginning. I’ll let you know how I go. (By the way, I’m not an affiliate for Skillcrush, but I guess I better figure out how to become one if I’m going to be talking about them this much!)

So — the upshot of all this is that I need to allow for at least two pomodorini of coding in my normal ‘at home’ days from now on.

And thus (for those of you who have been following along) here is the updated Grand Master List of Daily Routines (GMLODR).

Bugger — My days are beginning to fill up. How am I going to fit everything else on my list in?

Last week’s DONE List…

And now to last week’s wins. Not bad. A few big jobs out of the way, a fair bit of Skillcrush action, War and Peace watched and wine order placed. All the important stuff then…

And the water drinking went well. It’s hard not to stick to your plan when anyone you speak to on the phone ambushes you with a ‘Did you drink your glass of water this morning?’. See — these are the advantages of putting it all out there on Medium where everyone can see it. Accountability strikes when you least expect it!

Other good things that happened last week…

  • I led a mini workshop for my Startup buddies, based on my reading of the book Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares. It was fun. I even had visual aids. Please note the effort that went into creating perfect circles. Also note that it is not easy to get Sharpie residue off salad bowl rims.
Image credit: Chris Newman
  • After about thirty years of talking about it, I finally attended a women’s self-defence workshop. It was confronting and illuminating. I have a new respect for how well you can protect yourself with a teaspoon.
  • I realised that as I am going to Doha for most of March, I really only have about a week of winter left. I don’t mind the winter, but I’m ready for the light!

Today is a new week! Lots to get done my friends. May your pomodorini be ripe and full of juiciness, and your Fly Lady 15s fruitful…

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FOR HANDY REFERENCE: 2016 habits glued to the Jenga Tower so far…
The post that started it all — For the first time that I can remember, I’m not waiting for something…
Week 1 — Get up early, ignore social media/email/news-infused mobile phone with special dopamine enhancing features and head straight to old-fashioned pen and paper for writing of Daily Intentions and identification of day’s Peace Mission
Week 2 — The keeping of the ‘Done List’ predominantly made up of achieved Peace Missions.
Week 3 — Breaking the day down to a magic formula of 45 minutes of Pomodoro Technique + 15 minutes of movement (housework/exercise/dancing etc)
Week 4 — Getting a glass of water down you first thing in the morning!

(Thinking you’d like to hop aboard this slow-moving ‘make the most of your day/productivity/I have to justify giving up my job’ train? Just click the ‘Follow’ button and we’ll do it together.)