I attended a web developer meet up and survived

2015 must be the year of pushing the limits of my comfort zone. 

On Twitter I stumbled on an Introduction to the Austin Developer Community through General Assembly in Austin. 

3 words caught my attention: Introduction. Austin. Developer. 

web developer

Several days of inner debate ended with me signing up for the event, semi-spontaneously. I’m spending some time in Houston right now and so a side trip back to Austin for a few days immediately came in order. 

Side note: I’m pretty sure some of my favorite things have happened during my “spontaneous bursts.” Driving to LA by way of the Grand Canyon with the best friend, flying to a new friend’s house that I met on Twitter, and driving to Houston to meet a guy for dinner last August, just to name a few. 

There are lies I could have believed that would have prevented me from going:

  • I’m not a real web developer, I’m just now learning CSS!
  • I’m a girl and girls can’t code. Coding is for boys.
  • I don’t know anyone in the coding community. 

Thankfully that dose of adrenaline kicked in and I fully embraced my own awkward and decided to fake it until I make it. 

So here’s what I got out of my first web developer meeting:

  • I met a friend. She’s a girl. She’s brand new to this world too and I now have a real person to keep in contact with, go to meet ups with, share online resources, and just darn relate to.
  • Girls can code. I knew this going in, but even though 25% of the attendees were women, it’s very obvious that women are capable at everything that was discussed and can kick butt at coding. 
  • Austin has a very friendly web development community. The focus of the meeting was to show people where and how to get involved in the community and the biggest way to do that is to GO and meet up with others who are coding too! Even if they’re lightyears ahead of you (or it feels as if they are). Everyone starts at zero and everyone is always learning something new. Embrace it and find your people. Because these people will become your mentors, co-workers, future bosses and future employees. Oh and friends! 
  • I have a next step. It’s very overwhelming to hear of 50 different meet ups around the city over various programing languages, but I’ve chosen one to attend the next time I’m in town, Women Who Code. Kind of a no-brainer there. Especially because the the director of the Austin chapter was one of our panelists. 

So what if you’re not studying to be a web developer? Find people who are learning what you’re learning or know more than you and be their friend. It’s as simple as that. 

Next week, I’ll give you a detailed look on what life learning to be a web developer looks like 2 weeks in. I can tell you this, it is definitely not always pretty but every time that line of code works just right, it’s magic.