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How I changed my life forever

I’ve said the words “I can’t believe it’s all over” about a hundred times in the last 24 hours. Wednesday was Demo Day at Hackeryou and today is both Hiring Day and the last day of the program. It’s been an extremely intense, sometimes stressful, often incredibly fun experience. And definitely, definitely the best decision I’ve ever made. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of development, learning All the Things, pitching, presenting, cross-browser testing, and, of course, a bit of celebrating.

I think more than anything it’s going to be so strange not to see the other 23 students every single day, but I’m extremely confident they’ll all find success moving forward, and I can’t wait to see what they all go on to do. I’ve been continuously inspired and challenged by all of them from the beginning.

What I learned outside my text editor

Besides all the technical skills I’ve gained, I learned two key things about myself that I think are even more valuable. First, I learned about who I am as an individual – being in such close proximity to a group of people who are all simultaneously very similar and very, very different has shown me what makes me unique – something I struggled with before. My dry sense of humor, my passion for advocating for more diversity in tech, and my professionalism really shined through at Hackeryou.

The other thing I learned was that I love love love love LOVE development. A concern I think most of us shared going in to Hackeryou was the thought of “oh no, what if I don’t like to code?!?”. That concern, for me, quickly disappeared. I discovered that coding is a lot like creative writing – the feeling you get when your mind is going too quickly and being too involved to think of anything but the problem at hand – you’re completely immersed in it. It’s an amazing (and honestly kind of scary) feeling that you can only get if you’re really stretching yourself with complex thought. It’s just super fun. Although I’d tried my hand at programming on and off for years before Hackeryou, I’d never sustained it enough to get to this, and I’m so thankful I’ve found it now. I never want to do anything else.

What’s Next for Me

Moving forward, I want only one thing: to go to work every day and work on building things and solving interesting problems through code. It sounds insane, but I can’t wait to spend my spare time learning about UX and design, to polish older projects and work on new ones. As much work as I’ve done in the past nine crazy weeks, I honestly want to keep up the momentum I have right now and jump in to projects. It seems pretty likely that this will happen in the form of a career – Hackeryou is a very well-connected organization and I seem to be getting a lot of interest from some pretty great places. I’m really just looking for a great fit, as is anyone who’d want to hire me. I’d like to work in an agile company that values my previous professional experience, and sees both how far I’ve come and how far I’m clearly going to go. I’m finally confident in myself and my abilities enough to say that I’d honestly be an asset to the company that hires me, and that’s an amazing feeling.

For that and EVERYTHING else…thanks Hackeryou <3

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