First some background:
I am a 47 year old mother of three.
I graduated with a 1st class honours degree in Information Systems (with French). I worked for more than ten years as a developer. I coded in 6502, Cobol, C, Pascal, Smalltalk. I was on teams where we wrote: real-time process control systems for nuclear power stations and the water industry; commercial systems for large supermarkets; CRM systems for major banks etc… and then suddenly I didn’t code any more.
I stopped coding because:
- Java came along and broke my Smalltalk-loving heart
- I kept being pushed towards less and less technical work
- It seemed like the only way my career could move forward
- I got disillusioned with the industry
- I had wanderlust
- I took time off to have kids
- I wanted to do a PhD on the Psychology of Programming
- I fell in love with agile.
Like many women (and men) who take a prolonged break, I felt that my technical skills were too rusty and dated to ever return.
Earlier this year, fuelled by both the “gateway drug” of a short mob-programming workshop and by interacting with a wonderful group of friends happy to share their “geek joy”, I decided to run an experiment. I would try and pair with different developers and blog the process as I went. Logistics meant I could start mid-October 2017. And here I am.
My aim with the tour is to experience a variety of programming languages in a number of different environments with some of the amazing technical folk I know. Each stop will be with different people, in different companies, doing different stuff, often in different programming languages. I intend to blog openly and completely about the process as I go. I hope to provide some insight into how easy (or difficult) returning to coding is, particularly from the point of view of a woman who has taken an extended break from being technical and (to be perfectly honest) isn’t getting any younger.
I also hope I will inspire others, particularly women who have taken time out, and agile / lean coaches and trainers, to return to the trenches as a participant, at least from time to time.