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Barriers to Entry

Abstract

I will give an account of my experience as a brand-new dev without a technical background, and offer tips for ways to help newcomers feel included and safe, so they can ask the questions needed to become effective contributors to the community without fear of ridicule.

  • Do not assume that a new dev--even one who has acquired a job--understands tech jargon.
  • Nothing is transparent or intuitive. Newcomers need to ask many questions that might seem obvious to an experienced dev.
  • Learning to code is the easy part; learning to set-up a dev environment, however, is frustrating and without adequate support in many cases.
  • When assumptions about all of this are repeatedly made, new devs can feel embarassed to ask important questions, increasingly the likelihood of mistakes and failure.

My presentation will include many examples of the unrealistic expectations I encounter as a new dev, as well as the support and guidance that has made my story one of success and fulfillment.

Speaker Bio

Ruth has two months experience in web design, 14 years experience being married to a developer, and 35 years experience feeling afraid to ask stupid questions.