dev.to has started doing a #shecoded compilation every year, and the following is my submission for this year.

I began to code because...

To be honest, I began to code because I needed a stable job and a stable income. I knew that if I was going to go into debt to go to school, it needed to be something that would actually pay my bills afterwards.

What I never expected was that I would completely fall in love with coding. As I mentioned in my last year's #shecoded post, I chose Computer Science as my major after attending a SWE event at the University of Central Florida where I got to code some routines for a little robot. It made me so excited and so happy in a way nothing else in STEM had before. I still feel so grateful every day to have a job that makes me happy and pays my bills.

I continue to code because...

Every day I go into work, there are new challenges and new problems to solve. I love that coding continues to exercise my mental muscles even outside of a university setting.

I'm an expert at...

Test automation. My first internship was a QA internship where I began to learn how to write automated test suites. Based on my success there, I was offered a job to build up a new project's test automation suite. I've been doing test automation for quite a few years now, and finally sort of feel comfortable saying I'm an expert at it.

I recently overcame...

The fear of taking on my first non-testing related ticket! It was a small bug fix, but everyone starts somewhere!

I'm excited about...

Learning new types of coding! I expressed my desire to transition out of only working on test automation and moving into feature development, and the leaders at my work have listened and are working on helping me transition.

I want to brag about...

Shortly after my post from last year, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with my BS in Computer Science. I landed a pretty great gig immediately after and have been working there happily ever since.

I deserve credit for...

I work relentlessly hard to ensure that everything gets done and done well. I don't often brag on myself, so this was a hard question, but one that I'm glad was proposed as an idea.

I look up to...

Every single person who is underrepresented in tech (especially those I've befriended on Twitter). You all inspire me every single day and I feel a little less alone because of you.

My advice for allies to support women and non-binary folks who code is..

Advocate for women and underrepresented groups everywhere you go. It has made a world of difference for me to be in an environment where I'm respected and empowered to do my best work and be my authentic self. Use your privilege to speak up if you see others being disrespectful towards someone or creating an uncomfortable situation. Make sure you're building a diverse, welcoming team both in your hiring processes and in the day-to-day work environment.

My advice for other women and non-binary folks who code is...

You are intelligent, worthy, and capable. You deserve to not only be in tech, but to be comfortable here and to take up space here.

I also want you to remember that you don't have to be strong all the time. It's okay to get tired and worn down from what you deal with just to be here. Just remember that you deserve to stay and you should stay as long as you want to.