Time to write what I know about Cloud, Tech Entrepreneurship, Teamwork and Motherhood
I've always wanted to write what I know. Like each of us, I have unique experiences that are worth sharing to the world. After all, I've been a software developer for almost two decades, a team lead for fifteen years, a businesswoman for five and a mother in that entire span of time.
Time. I began this blogpost with this elusive word. Time was the reason that I only have a handful of published blog entries, that are now buried deep in the trenches of the internet. Ironically, it's also the same reason that I've come to know and understand much about computers, businesses and raising human beings. It does take years to fathom such complex topics. It may even take forever.
If you are a young person reading this, then let me speak to you as the person I was when I started this journey. Tech is a playground. The question is what kind of a kid are you? When I was sixteen and a college freshman, I didn't know the answer to that. I don't expect that you can give a straightforward reply either. I want to encourage you to discover it on your own. Go ahead, run all over the sandy ground, hop on all the fun equipment and pick up any toy that is most irresistible to you. For me that's code. For others it's the way a disk spins or a signal flow to connect two persons in each side of the planet. What fills you with a child-like wonder? What makes you want to play? I have a theory that if our soul has a face, it would be our ten year old self. And that soul would race a friend to the last empty swing, traverse the monkey bars to the end, and dig the deepest hole to find a hidden treasure.
Tech is indeed a treasure trove. In it you'll find valuables of all sizes, from a simple, time-saving calculator to a time-killing social app. If we work harder, we might even unearth society's last hope at having more time to exist. But if you have been in tech for as long as I have (or even longer), then perhaps you share my sentiments. You ask yourself everyday, how much longer should I be away from my loved ones, just to figure out what is wrong with technology, before I find gold.
There are many things that go wrong in tech. And the reality is there are too few that contributes to a solution. Not to discount the immense achievement of our industry and the honorable soldiers behind it, but I fear that there are still way too many people like me around. And that's not a good thing. People like me have good intentions that fall apart due to lack of agency. We spend long days in the dark, not comprehending half of the puzzle before us. What does this algorithm do, why doesn't it work the way we drew it on the diagram. We fumble and click around to solve a problem. We rely on luck, or worse give up on it.
I myself have been on the verge of giving up several times. It's not easy learning nonstop and feel incompetent again after three months. It's heartbreaking to ask your team to spend late nights and weekends on a committed backlog. It's discouraging to be around people who think their solution is better than yours because you don't look like them. But for me, the most difficult of all is meeting a customer face to face to tell you that your precious creation is of no use. You might as well stop trying. These may all be a part of a normal professional life, but it can take its toll if it happens too often. And if you stay long enough in this industry, you will know that it does. People do leave the tech world. Or wish they could. I've been on that exit point many times. Ready to step out and try a less volatile career. One that won't make me burst into tears at four in the morning when nothing works. But if you're still reading at this point, then you know that despite those attempts of quitting, in the end, I didn't give up. Why not? Because I do love tech and the cool, hardworking people here that I respect. So if you do love it too, please stay.
I'm writing because after twenty years, I'm still here. Here in today's context is a land of scaling containers in the cloud, of neural networks and virtual universes. Of solutions that are yet to be built on it. I am but a farmer on a tiny piece of this land. But I still have something I would like to talk with you about. One side of it is what I learn from day to day out on the field. The practical stuff. How to build cloud native apps? How to tackle complexities in the distributed realm. How to write pretty code. Let's talk about the difficult matters that eat our time. Finding obscure bugs in the jungle. Understanding authentication and authorization systems. Delving into orchestration and synchronization. Elastic and bitemporal databases. Tracing interdependent http and socket calls. Running CI/CD pipelines that just work. These are the topics, plus many more, that I struggle with everyday and where I make so many mistakes. I'll write it not because I'm an expert, but the opposite.
Then there is that side that's dearer and yet more challenging to me. The People. The ones we work with and the ones whose lives we want to change. The ones like me who need to be enlightened and find their own agency. I'm in the tech business because of them. To dream of a solution that solves problems, to write code that actually does the job, and to run a caring company doing what you love, is the treasure I found in this playground.
People, animals and the environment, are more important than tech. I just want to say that out loud. It sounds naive but that's how I feel. I want to write not only what I know, but also what's in my heart. There is a great divide that must be bridged among us, between the privileged and the marginalized. It permeates our schools, workplaces and our communities. It prevents us from achieving more out of the technology that we are supposed to harness, so our children can live better lives. I can speak the language of both worlds. I understand abundance and scarcity. I know deeply that despite the huge difference in our circumstances, it is possible to co-exist and benefit from each other. We can open a channel where teamwork can do its magic and great ideas can flourish. We all want the same thing after all. And we will achieve it. Everyday I hope to shorten the gap. We must expand the space that fits more diverse people that can contribute to the solution. But its no job for just one woman with little resources in her to hands to begin with.
Hence, I start with giving more time. Time to share what I know and what I have. My hope is that this little blog will someday grow and help others solve tech problems, sustain a business, or even unite talented folks in tech from all backgrounds. But most of all I hope it can inspire others to become happier working adults, who spend less time on luck and more time on creating wonderful tech products that my own children will benefit from one day.