Finding Networks & Communities
My Personal Experience As A Self-Taught Web Development
Hello Fellow Codenewbies 👋
Networking is essential at any level in web development or any other field.
People are encouraged to go to meetups or conferences or join communities.
I am a stay home mom who started to learn to code almost two years ago when my daughter was nearly two years old, and I am self-taught.
Even though I know how important it is, attending an event for networking wasn't a choice for me.
The major problem is that I can't leave my daughter, and I can't bring her along with me. And prices for the events are way out of my pocket as someone without income.
I won't sugarcoat it. Self-taught with a toddler is very exhausting.
I have no one to ask when I have questions or share my struggles. I must cut off my study time here and there because of "unexpected" moments. I could only manage to learn 2 hours max in a day.
It is a lonely journey.
How I Found My First Community
I have had an account on Twitter for ages, but I rarely use it.
One day, out of a massive burnout, I tweeted about my struggle with learning.
Many people (and most are moms!) gave me motivations, and one of them was Bekah.
She introduced me to the Moms Can Code community, where I finally joined. I found my first circle of community. I learned with some moms from MCC in the European timezone until today. Though we are learning different tech, each other company is what I need the most. I no longer feel alone. I can learn with other people, with my daughter by my side. And since everyone is a mom, they welcome her even when she demands attention during the co-work sessions.
(You are my rock, Girls! ❤)
I realized that the web development community on Twitter is big, helpful, and friendly!
Due to life, I took an almost six months break from learning.
Then when I decided to come back, I started fresh and created a new account on Twitter. I get more active in logging what I learned using #100DaysofCode.
I met many amazing people on Twitter who helped me a lot during my journey.
This year is sad and challenging for the world due to COVID.
Lockdowns were everywhere. People are forced to work from home as much as possible. Some people even lost their jobs. A year full of anxieties and depression.
I'm not an exception.
Being in lockdown where schools are closed, I have to be able to keep my sanity to educate and entertain my daughter in this uncertain time.
One day I saw Bekah tweeted about holding a virtual coffee. She invited developers from any background to join the Slack group of Virtual Coffee. It took me a while, but then I decided to join.
I didn't say anything at all in the beginning, even a simple "hi." I had no confidence at all in introducing myself.
"I am not a developer yet. I'm still learning. Would it be okay for me to be here amongst people who already work in this field?" That's what I was telling myself.
That was one of the reasons that were holding me back from networking. I feel like an "outsider" because I am a beginner.
After a few weeks, I finally found the courage to introduce myself, and to my surprise, I instantly feel the warmth!
It doesn't matter at what level I am in this web development journey. Still, everyone welcomed me with open arms.
And I am now one of the proud members of Virtual Coffee community.
2020 is a black year, but a blessing for me.
Because here I am now, with all my limitations, not only found networks and be in communities. But I make friends with amazing people and found warm support systems! And I become much more confident in my journey with them by my side ❤
People indeed say that networking and community are important.
Being in a community can boost your confidence whenever you feel down or cross paths with imposter syndrome.
They can help you in many ways; support systems, sources of information, and a place for you to contribute, grow, and many more.
These days, there are plenty of (free) remote events and communities, such as Virtual Coffee. Grab these opportunities!
You can start small. Try becoming more active on Twitter, put yourself out there,
and see where it will lead you.
Or if you are self-taught like me, in online platforms such as Udemy, most of the courses there offer you to join a Discord channel for their students. Try to make the most out of it by being active, or ask other students to be your study buddies.
Sometimes it's not easy due to the massive number of students in the course, but it's possible.
Thank you for reading!
Last, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊