Finding Networks & Communities
My Personal Experience As A Self-Taught Web Development
Hello Fellow Codenewbies 👋
At any level you are in web development or any other field, networking is very important.
People are encouraged to go to meetups or conferences or join communities out there.
I am a stay home mom who starts to learn to code almost 2 years ago when my daughter was almost 2 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 most of the time 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 have to cut off my study time here and there because of "unexpected" moments that arise. 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 an account on Twitter for ages, but I rarely use it.
One day, out of a massive burnout, I tweeted about my struggle in learning.
Many people (and most are moms!) gave me motivations and one of them was Bekah.
She then introduced me to the Moms Can Code community where I finally joined. I found my first circle of community. I learn together 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 are all welcoming her even in the times when she demands attention during the co-work sessions.
(You are my rock, Girls! ❤)
I started to realized that the web development community on Twitter is huge, helpful, and friendly!
Due to life, I took an almost 6 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 help me a lot during my journey.
This year is such a sad and hard year for the whole world due to COVID.
Lockdowns everywhere, people are forced to work from home as much as possible, some people even lost their jobs. A year full of anxieties and depressions.
I'm not an exception.
Being in lockdown where schools are closed, I have to be able to keep my sanity so that I can 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 to introduce 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.
This was one of the reasons that are holding me back from networking. I feel like I'm 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, but everyone was welcoming me with open arms.
And I am now one of the proud members of Virtual Coffee community.
2020 is a black year, but also 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 ❤
It is true what people say that networking and community are very 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. As support systems, as sources of information, as a place for you to contribute, to 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 simple. Maybe with starting to be 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 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 huge number of students in the course, but it's possible.
I hope you enjoy this article and can take benefits from it. Last but not least, feel free to connect with me on Twitter 😄