"It's just another language"

How I transitioned from a Language freak to a dev


4 min read

Hello everyone πŸ‘‹

For some still not very clear reason to me, I decided to start blogging about my dev experience πŸ˜„And what better month to start doing so than in March with so many initiatives about more inclusivity in the IT world!

Who am I?

I'll quickly present myself, I'm Awenath, woman in my thirties and currently Senior Software Engineer in a multinational company. However, that's clearly not where I was expecting myself to be 10 years ago, as my background doesn't look like the standard dev path (or so I thought, but more about that later).

The call to adventure

During my studies, I had chosen to proceed with Languages & Literature, because I loved learning languages (real or fake) and reading. I was hoping that this would end up leading me somewhere as I hadn't a very clear objective in front of me. But hey, I was young, I was at University, I would definitely find something. I was full of hope.

Sadly for me, that didn't last : I miserably failed to complete my license in Languages & Literature (up to the last year), my love for reading was gone, and I still did not know what to do with my life. At that time, the answer to the typical interview question "Where do you see yourself in x years ?" would have been something close to "Nowhere" ; and to be fair the answer wouldn't have been different even with the license in my pocket.

The "funny" part is that I had both my parents working in IT, but for some reason I considered that wasn't for me. Even worse, I wasn't considering IT as an option but at the same time:

  • I already had taken a look in some online courses (namely Coursera and Codecademy)

  • I had completed several of the aforementioned courses

  • I had created a website

But here I was still blindly thinking "not for me" πŸ˜…

The road of trials

It took me a bit of time before finding the courage to register to that "Introduction to creative coding" workshop that was aimed to help young people to get back on track and discover a bit of the IT world in a fun way.

That's how I was really introduced to coding : by playing around with an Arduino, building T-rexes πŸ¦– in Blender and printing them on 3D printers. There I discovered that I quite enjoyed playing around with functions. I took a follow-up 6-months training to learn about JS, CSS and PHP where I not only enjoyed myself, but I found out I was even good at it.

I ended up being hired in my current company as a Junior, and today I'm a Senior and that probably won't stop there. On the way, I met a ton of different devs, and a good chunk of them do not have a strong IT background either. I discovered that we're all more or less fighting with our impostor syndrome, and that doesn't stop as you gain experience. I also learned quite some new languages and am now specialized in React and Typescript!

The awakening

I will always remember the interview exercise during that 6-months training, because this is where things clicked in for me. The interviewer asked me to explain how I came from Languages & Literature to IT. I spontaneously answered : "I'm a language freak ; this is just another language". Since then, this has become a bit my "signature" every time I need to present myself and talk about my journey into the dev world 😊

What's next?

Now here I am sharing my story to all of you, in the hope that it might help someone out there. That maybe someone who felt as lost as I was will read it and feel a spark of inspiration ✨

Don't be scared to try something new even if this feels quite different to what you're used to do, because who knows, you might find some weird connection that will make so much sense to you, and this will open a whole new world of adventures 🀠

Take care everyone, and see you hopefully in a next post in the future! πŸ˜‰

(PS: I should also soon be blogging in french as I feel that having resources in your native tongue can be a huge plus, so maybe that might interest some of you out there πŸ‘€)