What the heck is a Coding Tour anyway?

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.


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