Mallory Brewer

My path in tech

May 12, 2020

In the last few days, people on Twitter have posted about their paths into tech. I originally wrote my timeline thinking about what a privilege it is to 1) know that computer science even exists; 2) be able to go to college (of course); 3) feel confident enough to major in CS.

But it’s also just fun to map out where I’ve been and where I hope to go.

Here’s a timeline:

2004 (17)

  • Encouraged to take yet another computer applications class in high school aka where the most technical thing we do is make ASCII art
  • I swear that teacher docked points for out-of-place ASCII characters in said project; this class SUCKS
  • Meanwhile, my male friend (and future ex-boyfriend) is taking a C++ class, whatever that is

2005 (18)

  • Tricked out my MySpace profile with HTML, CSS, and graphics I created myself in Photoshop Elements
  • I have no idea this counts as programming (HUSH, REPLY GUYS. I hear you already!)

2007 (20)

  • Finally learned computer science is a thing and you can major in it???
  • Wait, upper level math classes?! No thanks, I will stick with my French

2010 (23)

  • Got a job on campus doing graphic design and learned Drupal because we were building a website
  • I bought my first domain and decided I wanted to learn HTML/CSS at some point

2013 (26)

  • Hate job, everything
  • Looking for a way out, I hear about Ruby/Rails and start to learn it

2014 (27)

  • Start going to Rails Girls Atlanta meetups!
  • I meet people in the Atlanta and Athens dev communities!

2015 (28)

  • Ready to burn it all own, I quit my job as an office manager
  • I go to a 12-week code bootcamp

2016 (29)

  • I become an organizer and board member for Rails Girls Atlanta!
  • I put together I've been suffering from PTSD because trauma since late 2014
  • I get a 6-month developer 'apprenticeship' at Adult Swim--yeah, I saw some stuff
  • I only put 'apprenticeship' in quotes because while I really liked my manager, he told me to use whatever language that 'didn't suck'
  • My mom tells me that my dad, an accountant, minored in CS in college
    • He confirms this when I confront him and says he doesn't talk about it because he was bad at COBOL

2017 (30)

  • Coding makes me cry and have panic attacks, but so does everything (hi PTSD)!
  • I get my first salaried job in tech as an application support engineer at VMware
  • I get to troubleshoot application deployments on Windows, Android, and iOS and work with our REST APIs!

2018 (31)

  • I can’t shake the idea that I want to be a developer.
  • Let’s try coding again!

2019 (32)

  • Maybe not coding? Maybe UX?! I spend months learning Sketch, InVision, and develop a portfolio
  • Hold up, my life is falling apart, time to end a 5-year relationship, move out of my home, annnnnd now I live with my parents?!
  • I don't think I can take starting all over -- let's try being a technical support engineer again!

2020 (33)

  • Lots of interviews for TSE roles! I talk to one company for two whole months and make it all the way to the end.
  • Noooooo, COVID-19 strikes and there are layoffs and freezes everywhere!
  • Let's start coding again and keep interviewing as TSE

Sometimes the road looks like this

Written by Mallory Brewer who lives in Atlanta and is for hire as a support engineer. Follow me on Twitter!