I would first like to Thank You for taking the time out to read my first “official” blog post! Since this is THE FIRST I think I should give a somewhat brief introduction on who I am, why I decided to start blogging, what you can expect from my blog, and why I chose to title my blog “The <B> Word”.
I am originally from Washington D.C. (born and raised), but decided to relocate to Charlotte N.C at the beginning of 2018 to start a new life in a city that I was somewhat familiar with. I had heard that the Tech scene in Charlotte had been developing and since my contract with Georgetown University was ending soon I felt like that was the universe giving me the green light to take a chance and start over fresh. I was able to secure an apartment for my boys and I and immediately started the dreaded JOB SEARCH after. I had been meeting with different recruiting agencies, sending out hundreds of resumes, and it always ended with similar if not the same results…
“ Dear Ms. Ball, we appreciate you coming in to interview with us but at this time we are looking for a candidate with a little more experience.”
Can you say discouraging! I began to doubt myself and my decision to move my little family to Charlotte. One day, I decided to try a different method of getting my foot in the door of one these tech companies. I decided to research companies in Charlotte and find the top five that I would like to work for and look up developers who were already working there on LinkedIn and introduce myself that way! Hey, they say sometimes its not what you know but who you know that gets you in, and what did I have to lose? Luckily, the first developer I messaged on LinkedIn immediately responded back. He informed me that the company he worked for was currently not hiring but he recommended that I join a local meetup group called the “Charlotte Devs”. He said that they might be able to assist me on my job search. I wasted no time joining the meetup group and was added to the slack workspace. I introduced myself right away and shared how the interview process had lowered my confidence and how I really just wanted to find a great company that saw my potential and would be willing to invest in my growth. Moments later I received a private message that reassured me that Charlotte was where I belonged.
“ Would you be interested in interviewing for a position here at SKOOKUM?”
Ummm, YES PLEASE!!! By this time I had heard amazing stories about the Skookum culture and how it was voted one of the number one places to work in Charlotte. I was soo excited!
Ok, let’s fast forward 6 months into my internship at Skookum, which was originally suppose to only be a 6 week contract role (big smile)! At this point I’m full of nerves because the internship is almost over and I didn’t know whether or not I was going to have a job offer in the end. I couldn’t sleep. Anxiety started to set in. I turned to twitter for motivation and to reassure me that “I’VE GOT THIS”. As I sat in bed reading everyones testimonies about how coding had changed their lives I decided to post a tweet to remind myself of how far I’ve came and to let others know that with determination and desperation you can change your situation. I woke up the next morning and my tweet have went viral! I was amazed that what had seemed like such a simple tweet to me resonated with soo many people. This was thousands of strangers telling me how proud they were of me, that they were rooting for me, and had NEVER met me in person. My day had been made.. or so I thought. I went in to work and shared what had happened with a few of my coworkers who were just as excited and shocked as I was. By the end of the day I received the message I had been anticipating…a slack message from the Engineering Director asking to meet with me. I instantly thought “aww man let me find a box to toss my stuff in” LOL. I can’t remember how long we talked honestly because I was soo nervous that it seemed like everything was moving in slow motion and then I heard it… we would like to keep you on FULL-TIME as a Software Engineer!! Tears of joy burned my face because even though my learning journey wasn’t over I had finally found a company that believed in me and wanted to help me grow! A viral tweet and I was brought on full-time that same day!! November 28th was honestly the best day for me in 2018. Since I was now officially a Skookum employee I had decided to share my story with my coworkers since the tweet sparked some curiosity and they were already aware that I had taken a non-traditional route into tech (Self Taught). After hearing my story I was asked if it would be ok to publish my story on the Skookum blog and of course I said “YES”. Since then the article and my tweet have been shared all over the different social media platforms, it’s been featured in different tech newsletters, and shared on other websites. You can read the article HERE.
Which brings me to why I decided to start a blog. It wasn’t because I’m a millennial and almost every millennial wants to be a successful blogger LOL. It was because I feel like I have something important to share with others. I want to show people what my journey through tech looks like as a working SINGLE mother, as a minority, and as a woman who happens to be self taught without a college degree. I want to continue to inspire those that may think that they can not succeed by sharing my truths no matter how ugly. I want to show people tech through my eyes. As I learn I will share my methods of learning, the difficulty level, and what I struggled with. I also want to give my thoughts on important nontechnical issues that matter such as diversity and inclusion in tech that often gets swept under the “rug”. Majority of the time when I read tech blogs and feel intimidated because the authors seem so senior and robotic. I can’t relate or really follow what they are trying to teach because it doesn’t seem like they are writing for the newbies. That’s where I plan on picking up the slack (ha ha). My plan is to make this blog the “watering hole” for developers of all skill levels.
And now i’ll explain the why I chose to title my blog “The <B> Word”….
It honestly took me two weeks to find a name I liked that correlated with my blogs purpose. It had to be edgy, punny, and simple. After being smothered in brain fog I decided to use one of those name generating websites LOL. The first name that came up was The B Word. I thought “hmm I like it” but how can I incorporate tech? Presto!!! I turned the B into the <B> tag!! Which gave the title soo much more meaning!! I knew that seeing the title peoples immediate thought would shift to the profane word most commonly used to degrade women, and I wanted to challenge that way of thinking by adding a positive twist. The <B> is bold, strong, and demands attention and that’s EVERYTHING I want this blog to be.
So there you have it! A brief introduction of what you can expect from my blog in 2019! I hope I piqued your interest and you continue to come back. Thank you for being apart of this journey with me and HAPPY NEW YEAR!