The Tech Industry: Riding Roller Coasters

The Tech Industry: Riding Roller Coasters

      Just sitting here eating cheerios, listening to Jazz and contemplating my life.   I’ve come to the realization that working in the tech industry is like being on a roller coaster ride.  You have your ups, your downs, rides ending quicker than you thought,rides you wish would just end and rides you wish would last forever. Two years ago I decided to quit my job to attend a coding bootcamp in hopes of becoming the next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I haven’t reached Girl with the Dragon Tattoo status yet but you know what.…I’m ok with that.  Instead I’ve become the Girl with the WordPress Wappuu and it has been quite the ride. Four rides be exact.

The first ride was one that I wanted to get off the second I got on.

    My very first job straight out of the bootcamp was working for a web agency that built custom websites for the hospitality industry.  I kinda knew right from the get go that it wasn’t the place for me to be but I had been looking for work a little over 2 1/2 months and was getting antsy. It was my first offer so I decided to take it.  The job itself really wasn’t bad, I was just ignorant of my skill set and had terrible performance anxiety. I laugh when I look back on it now but at the time I was expecting to be trained, mentored, have awesome documentation to refer to and most importantly an understanding team of  co-workers that were ready and willing to help me succeed. I would say these expectations were a little unrealistic, wouldn’t you?   As I unfortunately came to find out the tech industry doesn’t work that way. You are thrown in with the wolves and  you are either eaten alive or become part of the pack  Well I was eaten alive.  I ended up lasting for about six months.  I saw  the writing on the wall pretty early but decided to hang in there because… well… that is who I am.  The day they told me it wasn’t working out I was completely relieved.  I knew it hadn’t been working for a few months so it was a welcome blessing.  I was happy to finally be out of there.   

The second ride was fun until they very end.

    Next came the internship.  Again I found myself  at a web agency but this time as a paid intern.  I thought for sure that I would be mentored and trained.  Again it was the same scenario you are thrown in with the wolves and you are either eaten alive or join the pack  However this time around I did have co-workers that were actually  ready and willing to help me. The environment was a lot more friendly and welcoming which I really appreciated.  However towards the end of my time as an intern I started getting really stressed about a particular project I was working on. In addition to being stressed the Project Manager I was working with started to become hostile pushing me to get my project done. So that night I went home and was up until 3 or 4 in the morning working aimlessly trying to get things done.  I was so frustrated that I ended up going to Twitter to vent my frustration.  Word to the wise don’t ever tweet anything at 3 in the morning unless it’s a funny meme.   The  next day at around 11pm as I was trying to finish the up project I was working on with a co-worker my slack went dead.  I was locked out.  I thought…hmmm…thats kind of weird then about five minutes later I got an email from my boss saying  that I was no longer an intern.  That was that.   Moral of the story kids, don’t ever mention anything about work regardless of  how vague.…ever!  Someone…. is always watching.

The third ride helped me to see that roller coaster rides really are fun. You just have to find the right one.

     After two failed attempts I really started to wonder if web development was really for me.  On the one hand I knew that I enjoyed tinkering with web development as a hobby.  I found it to be a fun creative outlet.  On the other I knew that I had some deficits that I needed to overcome in order to be a worthwhile hire.

     During an influential conversation I had with a recruiter I decided to look at what my innate skills were and combine them with the tech skill set I had developed over the last year. This led me into a position where I consulted and taught entrepreneurs and hobbyists how to build their own WordPress websites. It ended up being a great experience for me.  I would have  25-30 minute phone calls sessions back to back helping people with their WordPress websites. This was critical for two reasons the first being I was able to learn the ins and out of WordPress through repetition.  When you talk to people about WordPress for forty hours a week you start seeing the same issues time and time again.  If you don’t remember how to solve it the first or second time you will for sure remember by the 5th or 6th time.  The second was that I was forced into having to solve problems faster by being restricted to 25 minute time frame.  Knowing how to problem solve as well as doing it quickly is paramount when it comes to web development.  The role started out like like my last two where you are thrown into the deepens and you either sink or swim. Luckily  I was able to come out of this one swimming and finally find the confidence I had been lacking.   The consultant role was great in many ways but I was itching to get back into development work.

The fourth ride was fun. It had a lot of ups and a lot of downs but I was never really sure if the ride would continue forever or end at any moment.

   So here and there I would scourer the job boards hoping to find that diamond in the ruff.  Then one day I found it.  A small web agency looking for a remote WordPress Support/Developer based out of Utah.  I applied, interviewed, tried out the position as a contractor and was then offered a full-time gig.  I almost felt like every opportunity I had had up until this point had been preparing me the role all along.  I loved working from home.  I felt a great sense of pride in the websites we were building for our clients and for the first time since starting my journey into wide world of web development I finally felt like a true blue owner.  It was great!  I worked hard, learned a lot, and relished my time as a remote worker.   Unfortunately all roller coaster rides do end.  When working for a startup the end of the ride can come at any moment but you enjoy the ride for as long as you can be a part of it.

What kind of ride will I go on next?

My first job exposed to me to WordPress and helped me learn the dynamics involved in web agency life, my internship restored my faith in developers as empathetic human beings and taught me a very valuable lesson about social media. As a WordPress consultant I gained a deeper understanding of WordPress and how to problems solve under pressure. And working for a small startup I learned the value of entrepreneurship, accomplishment and ownership. Will my next roller coaster ride be one I’ve been on before or a new ride all-together? As I continue my journey as a developer  I encourage us all to be mindful of those who are taking their first roller coaster ride and ask that we  make it as fun and exciting as it looks to those on the outside 🙂

Thank you.

Summer 2017

Summer 2017

In this edition, I thought I would share with you what I have been up to the last couple of months. Not just because I have blogger’s guilt but because I have been up to many exciting things.  The summer of 2017 has been a busy one.  Read on to see what I’ve been up to:

Pokemon Go

Once again my husband and I got sucked into playing Pokemon Go.  We have spent more nights and weekends than I would like to admit fighting gyms and slaving away catching Pokemon just to collect that oh so precious stardust. The Fire and Ice Festival is really what revived our interest. It brought a renewed sense of hope and vigor to our hearts that we may finally attain a Charizard. I was beyond thrilled. I would finally be able to collect enough Charmanders to be able to evolve them into a Charizard.  Up until that point, Charmander was my Pokemon Go buddy and I had walked many kilometers only to collect a few Charmander candies. Now with the festival,  I would be able to catch enough Charmanders to hopefully evolve them into a Charizard. Game on!.  My husband on the other hand became obsessed with collecting Quilava along with Charmander.  Anytime we saw a Quilava the pressure was on.  We didn’t know if Quilava would be around after the festival so we had to collect as many as we possibly could, thanks to the law of scarcity.  As soon as  I would get home from work we would venture out to our nearest park or neighborhood catching as many fire-type Pokemon as we could.  I literally spent so much time catching Pokemon during this festival that it was like having a part-time job.  The good news is that by end of the Fire and Ice Festival I caught enough Charmanders to evolve them into a Charizard so all that hard work paid off.

Raids, Legendaries, and Pokemon Fest

After the Fire and Ice Festival, we were burnt out!  Yet a few weeks later we were back at it again during the Pokemon Go Fest.  This time the goal was to play as much as you could because Pokemon candies, stardust, and XP points were all doubled.  The game makers had just introduced raid battles and had released the first legendary Pokemon Lugia and Articuno. Unbeknownst to me, my husband had a friend who enjoyed playing Pokemon GO with his wife.  We ended up teaming up with them and 15 other people to catch Lugia.  It took us quite a few tries and my womanly wisdom before we were able to catch him. I had read somewhere that you were able to get more XP if you threw curveballs so I thought why not?  I will give it a shot,  and on my last attempt, I threw a curveball and captured Lugia.  I advised my husband to do the same thing and Botta bing botta boom we both had Lugias.  After we had our Lugia’s we went to test them out at a gym battle and we were pleasantly surprised.  One Lugia was equal to three or four Pokemon.  We were now on our way to becoming the ultimate Pokemon masters.  Slack had also become a very revolutionary tool for Pokemon Go players.  Our friends who were a part of the Slack group didn’t even know what it was. I was excited.  Now we would be able to meet up with other Pokemon Go players and take on the raids with success.



This was the second year that I attended OpenWest but the first year I attended as a speaker. How does someone get to speak at OpenWest?  They submit a speaker proposal on a topic(s) they want to speak on and then these topics are voted on through “blind voting.”  Since this “blind voting” is open to anyone I told my boss about it at work and he was very supportive.  He voted for my talks and got others to vote for me too.  I also promoted my talks on Twitter and Facebook getting anyone who I thought might be interested to vote and voila I got accepted.   OpenWest was from July 12 through July 15th.  I presented two talks.  One talk was on Flexbox.  Which is a talk that I have given at a few meetups so I figured hey, why not.  The second talk I gave was on WordPress and why you should consider it as an entrepreneurial web developer.   As a WordPress Consultant, I spent my week talking to newbs about how to debug, build, and market their WordPress sites.  It’s a great gig with the exception of back to back calls 40 hours a week, day in and day out.  So like any unhappy Millennial I started looking around for other “potential” possibilities.  After about a month of scavenging the job boards, I had found what I was looking for.  I met with the employer and we decided to try things out on a temporary basis. So along with my WordPress Consultant gig, I began consulting.  I was pulling about 50 + hour weeks