#MotivationMonday Series: From Back to Front-end…Again

This guest post is part of Our Code’s new #MotivationMonday series.  In this series, featured writers will be documenting their coding journeys as they prepare to become established and seek jobs in web development.  Our guest today is Rashida Thompson, who’s love for blogging and design fuels her ambition to become a front-end developer.

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My name is Rashida, and I guess you could call me the comeback coding kid.  I *officially* declared my desire to learn to code at the beginning of 2014.  It’s now nearing the end of 2015 (what?!) and I’m in the same place that I started…at least it feels that way.

So begins my struggle story…

I’ve had a love for tech practically my entire life.  From constantly upgrading gadgets, creating numerous blogs, and considering majoring in engineering in college, I just knew I had to find my place in the tech world.  Flashback to 2011, I became serious about blogging and created my first WordPress blog.  Personal branding was a super big deal at the time, and I needed something to get my name out there so I could get my dream job.

I’ve always loved writing so I thought I’d be great at blogging.  Instead, I found myself becoming more interested in tweaking my theme than I did actually creating content.  Hmm…maybe I was on to something. I continued playing around with WordPress off and on for the next year and a half, but I needed more.

Enter Codecademy in 2014.  I discovered Codecademy online and decided to give it a shot.  I finished the HTML & CSS courses like a boss.  All of a sudden, I felt more confident that I could actually learn this scary code stuff and get a job!  Soon after Codecademy, I took the Skillcrush Web Designer Career Blueprint and sharpened my HTML & CSS skills even more.  I’m a visual person, so seeing the fruits of my efforts directly in the browser was exciting.  Until something didn’t work, and then it became frustrating.  Nevertheless, it was a rush.

Later into 2014, I kept hearing amazing things about a programming language called Ruby and how it encouraged developer happiness with its syntax.  Oh, and if you also learned Ruby on Rails, there was an abundance of jobs waiting on you for the picking.

Did someone say abundance of jobs and they pay well?  Where do I start?!

Long story long, I joined Rails Girls Atlanta, started looking up Ruby and Rails tutorials online and got to learning.  Except, it wasn’t very fun. This back-end stuff was supposed to be fun and exciting…right?

Regardless, I continued to spend copious amounts of time studying and set unrealistic goals for myself to really learn Ruby on Rails.  It just wasn’t sticking.  I kept taking hiatuses for coding in ridiculous acts of desperation.  Was I that desperate for a dev job that I forgot the real reason why I wanted to learn to code? It seemed so.

I had to reassess my priorities and my own reasons for beginning this journey.  Of course I want a job as a developer, but after having so many jobs that I didn’t like, it was time to actually spend my time on the things that I wanted to do.  So I’m back on the front-end track.  I love HTML & CSS and though JavaScript scares me, I’m ready to take it on, too.  The point is that there’s no point in doing anything if you don’t love it.  With the upcoming birth of my daughter in 3 months, now more than ever am I dedicated to pursue the thing that I love and create a career from it.  This isn’t just for myself anymore. This is for my daughter, who will grow up to see me as a role model, and potentially become interested in STEM herself.   I would be doing a disservice to the both of us by giving up now.  So I’m committed every day to learning even just a little bit.  My goal now is a junior front-end developer position by the beginning of 2016.

Is it lofty?  For me, it definitely is.  Is it possible? Absolutely!  I have a direction, purpose, and nothing can stop me now.

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Rashida is a marketer & mom-to-be transitioning into web development after many years of denying her techie roots. Despite numerous coding hiatuses, she has become the ultimate comeback kid. When she’s not knocking out front-end tuts like a boss, you can often find her on Twitter @rashidathompson.