Hi, Could you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Mabel. I am an Afroitalian living in England. I’ve been working in tech for the last year as an IT customer support analyst that deals with bug fixes and I am currently on a self-taught coding journey.
What are you working on?
I have taken on the 100 days of code challenge. During the challenge, I have been focusing on front end development specifically React.js as this is the library we use at work.
When I am not coding, I read and educate myself on the racial biases in tech and the ethics behind AI.
What are the challenges and successes you’ve faced being a self-taught dev?
At the beginning of the journey, I felt lost.
So, I did what anyone else would have done in my position, and I started researching programming languages, YouTube videos, and other resources to start learning how to code. However, after a while, I found myself stuck in a Google search cycle; always Googling new courses, books etc. but never coding or learning through the resources I had found. This is a phenomenon called paralysis by analysis, which is the state of over-analysing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken.
One day I decided to act, I opened my laptop and started learning about HTML and CSS with Freecodecamp videos on YouTube. I had to come to terms with the fact that it was okay if I didn't know what I was doing, I just had to take the first step and actually start coding after months of research.
Since starting my self-taught development journey, I have created an Instagram page to document my experience in tech and this has allowed me to connect with so many people in the tech industry. I have a community that has been of great support, which is amazing being a self-taught coder.
I was also given the opportunity at work to put into practice what I had been learning.
What are your goals?
My goal is to keep developing myself in my career to become a full-stack developer, while, being present on social media to help and support people that are new to this industry who may not know where to start from.
I'm currently doing that on my Instagram page, but I plan to start making YouTube videos soon.
I want to be that someone that I wish I had at the beginning of my journey for someone else.
I also want to continue to share my experience working in tech as well as the lessons I am learning along the way, hoping that sharing my journey will inspire other women to find their voices in an industry where women are still neglected.
Do you have a mentor?
I do! I have just recently gotten into the @codecollab mentorship programme and I have been paired with an amazing mentor.
Do you mentor anyone?
I have been mentoring some of the girls I have met online informally. I have recently been invited to mentor in a private Facebook group that was created to help connect black women in tech who may need mentorship.
I would love to start mentoring officially at some point, but for now, I am just focusing on developing myself so that when the time comes, I will be well equipped to take on the challenge.
What could the tech industry do to better foster female talent?
The tech industry should create a safe environment for women where they feel accepted and comfortable, ready to share their opinions and thoughts without hesitation, a culture that gives women a sense of belonging.
This can be done by taking into account women's ideas and opinions, putting women in leadership roles, or not making a woman feel that going on maternity leave will hurt her career.
What advice would you give to people getting into your field?
You can do it! It doesn't matter if this is new to you and you've never done anything tech-related, just remember to be patient, Rome wasn't built in a day!
What’s the best and worst advice you have received?
The best advice was "Ask for help! Everyone is ready to help because they were once in your position."
I haven't received any bad pieces of advice, so far, everyone has been extremely helpful and supportive.
Who do you follow? What blogs do you read?
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?
I am very active on my Instagram page @mabel.tech. I post nearly every day sharing things I have experienced at work, my progress with the 100 days of code challenge and motivational posts.