I'm Hopeless with Computers, There I Said It

This weeks blog post is inspired by an embarrassing moment at work this week. When asked to set up our new team member's computer; I not only managed to install the operating system on the attached external hard drive (after 3 attempts I should add) but also managed to configure the whole god damn thing in United Kingdom defaults making the keyboard misconfigured and time zone out of sync... Good one Ally... urgh!

Everything that could have went wrong DID go wrong and although my colleagues and I made light fun of the situation I was actually really embarrassed and worried they'd judge me on my ignorance. This got me thinking...

Is it OK to be hopeless with computers but be a good programmer? Can the two be mutually exclusive? 

Not everyone gets into programming through the conventional avenue of being a computer wizz who likes taking computers apart and rebuilding them. Typically boys love this kind of stuff and I think it stems from their childhood and the toys they grew up playing with. A typical christmas swag for a boy would be computer games, remote control cars and lego... And girls? Baby dolls and barbies. Boys have always felt comfortable with technology so its no wonder that they would fall into the tech world as adults. 

My first experience of programming was jazzing up my MySpace page! #emokid4eva. Before computer science I studied Art and was almost sure I'd be the next big fashion designer! It was by sheer accident that I fell in love with programming and it wasn't because I was good at putting a computer together, that's for sure. I loved the problem solving aspect,  being creative with code and that 'hello world' moment.. what a feeling. As a late computing-bloomer I've always felt behind in the area of hardware and systems. But I don't believe this makes me any worse or better than any other programmer. I think we (including myself) need to stop making so many assumptions about programmers and be more open to the idea of people coming on board from different backgrounds. I for one need to start being proud of my unconventional background and stop trying so hard to fit in with the boys. 

With all this talk of hardware I've been getting very inspired in my plans for the Code like a Girl events and hope to be hosting workshops for girls in raspberry pi, nodebots and wearable technology. Stay tuned, very exciting times ahead. 

Photo credit: flickr awee_19

Post written by Ally Watson.