What Influenced And Inspired You To Learn How To Code?

Take the time to think through this question and become comfortable and confident answering it. Was there a problem you were looking to solve or change? Do you enjoy problem solving?

What influenced and inspired you to learn how to code?

Take the time to think through this question and become comfortable and confident answering it. Was there a problem you were looking to solve or change? Do you enjoy problem solving?

When I was in elementary school, my goal was to become a vet. I was 10, I had just gotten my first dog, Nefer, and I was just hooked. Before this period, I had never considered a formal career choice. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. But when I found out I could take care of them for a living, I thought I was set. I realized later I don’t actually like every animal out there (like cats, for example) and I realized vets had to like all kinds of animals. It became out of the question.

So, later in middle school, I turned to focus on biology. I was sure I wanted to become a biologist, venture into the unexplored fields of pathology and find the next great vaccine. It also didn’t hurt that my biology professor was so inspiring.

However, in high school, biology alone felt like it had a limited scope, and so once again, I pivoted my attention to bioinformatics, the combination of biology and computer science. “This is where all the innovation is happening!”, I thought.

And that would be that.

Or so I thought.

As much as I loved the field of biology (and I still do), I couldn’t actually see myself getting a bachelor’s degree in biology.

To me, a bachelor’s in biology would equate to 4 years of drudgery involving busy work where I would be competing with a whole bunch of aspiring medical school zombie students.

Also, I was starting to resent the overall formal education system even though I doing well academically by my family’s standards.

My junior year of high school, I figured, well, why don’t I just major in computer science? It’s the other half of bioinformatics that I have little to no experience in. And once I finished my degree in CS, I could still do on to work in bioinformatics. It was a win, win!

So I went out on my quest to learn how to code. The holy grail in question was enough programming experience to be able to fly through my freshman year in college. And fly I did. Through the learning, anyways.

I realized after roughly a year of venturing into the land of Lisp (that’s a joke), Python, JavaScript`, HTML, and CSS all on my own virtually that I LOVE CODING.

I loved feeling like this kind of digital wizard that could literally create something out of thin air (or with a good text editor).

Computer science turned into something I wanted to do for the long-term, not just this stepping stone to a higher learning quest.

This big change in mindset had small beginnings, but it’s changed me for the better, and I find myself delving deeper into the infinite cave that is covered with digital hieroglyphics.

There are no regrets. I’m not looking back. There is no pivot.

By Frances Coronel

Frances Coronel is a software engineer specializing in UI development on the Customer Acquisition Team at Slack where her mission is to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

She has been working professionally as a developer since 2015 and holds a Bachelors in Computer Science from Hampton University and a Masters in Computer Science from Cornell Tech.

Outside of Slack, Frances is an Executive Director of Techqueria, a 501c3 nonprofit that serves the largest community of Latinx in Tech in the US.

She also supports Code Nation as a member of their Bay Area Leadership Council and the Latino Community Foundation as a member of their Latinos in Tech Giving Circle.