Becoming a programmer wasn't my 1st choice either🤷🏽‍♀️

Not passionate about a career in programming? Neither was I, but this is what changed that.

Let me start off by saying- you're not the only one who put aside their true passions for something more practical.

I wanted to become a famous writer and actress. I went to school in NYC for film and screen studies. I moved to LA to try my hand at breaking into Hollywood. Obviously, I didn’t make it very far 🙃

Like many people, since trying to achieve my dream wasn’t paying the bills, I decided to go after something that’d be easier to obtain. Choosing programming was…smart😂Hard, but smart. Not only is it a desirable skill set that pays well, and can be done from anywhere in the world, but it’s the field driving the digital era, and I didn’t want to be left behind.

However, sitting behind a laptop for 8 hours a day writing code is not the type of writing I’m passionate about. And I sure as hell can’t integrate acting with programming. For awhile, it felt as though I was just tolerating being in this industry for the benefits since I couldn’t find much joy in it. Until I did.

Listen, life is all about perspective. I swear. I arrived at a crappy hotel in Miami once that looked nothing like the pictures. I had such a negative attitude the first day of that trip, until I learned that this crappy hotel was actually in a wealthy area full of celebrities and millionaires. After I learned that new information, my entire mood changed and it was one of the best, boujee trips of my life.

See? Perspective. Shallow, but you get my point.

I’m not saying that I absolutely love programming now, but I did find a way to intertwine it with my passions, which helped me to change my perspective.

Think not of programming, but what you can do with it- a side project💡

Software Engineers solve problems. We solve big problems, small problems, in all industries and communities. Maybe you’re passionate about beauty or music. How can you use your programming skills to build something more convenient for influencers or consumers in those industries?

Maybe you can build a mobile app that allows shoppers to scan foundations in Sephora, and it pairs their skin tone to the correct foundation shade of every brand. Now they don’t have to manually test shades by touching the tester makeup. Nice way to prevent getting in contact with germs! And that’s just MVP, you can continue to build on that idea🛠

I’m not passionate about coding, I’m passionate about the ideas that I can bring to life with it.

For me, I thought of an app that allowed users to easily find and follow one another on social media platforms. The features of the app were really dope, and the interface was sexy. It was my golden egg idea. My way into wealth! I was extremely passionate about building it, and I needed to get better at programming to complete it.

This is what kept me excited.

Your job is your chance to learn and grow✨

Even if what you’re building at work doesn’t really relate to your side project, your experience there will be a huge contributor to it. It may not be the technical aspect of your job that contributes to it either, but maybe it’s the business aspect. Maybe you want to make money off your side project- you’ll need to learn things like marketing or sales. Take full advantage of what you’ll get exposure to at your job!

Personally, whether I loved what I was building at work or not, I knew I loved learning. I HAD to learn. The more I learned at work, the better a Software Engineer I became. My skill set would grow, which meant that I could build more, better, and faster. All of the knowledge I gained could be thrown right into my side project, which I treated as my baby. I couldn’t wait to go home and implement the things I learned at work.

This is what kept me motivated.

Find your community to keep you inspired🤩

“Your” community can fall into dozens of categories. The goal is to find people who are like-minded or resonate with experiences similar to yours.

#BlackTechTwitter is the community that keeps me inspired. I love seeing what my community members are currently learning or working on. It’s a great feeling to be able to engage with them, understand tech jargon and jokes with them, and learn from one another. It’s even better that it’s a community of people who look like me, and also have these same technical skills that give us the ability to create. It’s magical! #BlackTechTwitter truly makes me want to stay in this industry and continue contributing to it, simply because the community exists alone.

This is what keeps me here.

And remember, kids👂🏾

Technology is not limited to programming. There are soooo many fields within the industry that you may end up being passionate about! Do you love painting? Maybe you’d love UX/UI Design. Do you wish that you could build a world of your own to escape to? You’d probably love Virtual Reality!

I love writing, and I was able to continue doing it in the tech industry by blogging about things I learned, or experiences I had, and by starting a newsletter 😁As for acting, I plan to start a comedy vlog channel about how I micromanage my fiancé (who’s also a Software Engineer) and make him implement all the coding things that I don’t want to do myself. This industry allows you to fuse your technical skills with your passions and talents. There are no limits, so don’t be afraid to get creative!