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4 Lessons I’ve Learned As A Self-taught Woman Developer

I’m a former registered nurse who founded, owns, and runs a WordPress plugin business. My business helps clients, small and large, create complex forms. There are plenty of form tools available in the marketplace, but when my clients kept asking for solutions that helped them calculate data or use conditional logic, we couldn’t find anything […]

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I’m a former registered nurse who founded, owns, and runs a WordPress plugin business. My business helps clients, small and large, create complex forms.

There are plenty of form tools available in the marketplace, but when my clients kept asking for solutions that helped them calculate data or use conditional logic, we couldn’t find anything that helped. So I built a solution and that led to the creation of my business, Formidable Forms.

My journey from being a nurse who loved what she did into a developer and business owner was unplanned. 

I took time off when I had my first child and found myself with more time on my hands than I knew what to do with. 

I ended up helping my cousin when he needed some help with his own business. He gave me a crash course on HTML and CSS and I began to pick it up on my own. 

Today, I feel comfortable solving customers’ problems and continuing to develop my product to help people. I’ve learned a lot of lessons going from working as a nurse to managing motherhood and a SaaS business. 

I’d like to share what I picked up on the way so that other women, especially those who are SAHMs, feel confident about getting into coding as a possible career. Let’s get started. 

Dive in

Learning to code can be very intimidating at first. There’s the fear of the unknown and a worry that you might find it too hard. 

I think that you should just get into development without worrying about whether you’ll be good at it or not. 

Dive in and focus on the process of learning rather than the outcome. You’ll find that you can understand more than you realize and will cover a great deal of material sooner than you think.

Use a method of learning that works for you. I’ve always been comfortable with memorization, so I simply learned all the tags that I could when I started out. 

You may prefer to do online video courses or to work with an instructor on a one-on-one basis. 

Start small

As I said in the previous section, focus on the process rather than the end goal at first. 

Take small steps to learn how to code. 

Women who are stay-at-home moms or who are working and running the household have very little time to spare for other activities. 

It’s important to value your efforts even if all you can do is code for 10 minutes a day or half an hour on weekends. The time you spend working on this skill adds up. 

By focusing on small goals and beginning to learn in a small way, you’ll sustain your motivation to learn. 

Problems are opportunities to boost your skills

Even though I created a plugin and run a successful business, I don’t have all the answers all the time. 

It’s common for customers to ask me for solutions or bring up problems where I don’t know the answers. 

When this happens, I look for answers online and come back and resolve the issue. This is something that most people don’t know about development and coding work. 

You don’t have to be ‘perfect’ or know every single thing there is about a coding language or building a product.

But you do have to know enough to troubleshoot issues whenever they come up. 

The only way to get good at coding is to continuously practice and solve problems. So, when you’re creating your own website or building a product, welcome hiccoughs in the work. This is your opportunity to look for solutions and to build your knowledge. 

Documentation is critical

Even when you’re starting out as a developer, it is important for you to keep notes and document what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. 

This is a keystone activity that every developer needs to carry out. 

There will always come a time when you need to go back to your previous work and make changes or fix bugs. When this happens, you will most likely have forgotten what you coded and why you made the choices you did. 

Documenting your work and leaving comments in your codes will become lifesavers in the future. 

If you decide to start your own business, you’ll find that the documentation and commenting you did will enable you to transfer the work to other people while you can focus on bigger picture matters. 

Women can benefit from learning to code

I strongly feel that learning to code is a great option for women, especially moms. Women who take time off in their careers to have children and raise them often struggle when it’s time to go back to work. 

Coding is something you can do from home. And it’s a valued skill. You’ll create more options in life for yourself when you take up coding as a career. 

And more than anything, coding can be a way to express your creativity. There’s no limit to the kind of websites, apps, and products you can create when you know how to code. 

You can fulfill your personal and professional goals. And change the lives of other people too. 

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