A Non-Tech Girl In A Hi-Tech World

When I got the idea to write this blog, I circled the idea around to friends and family. And every time I explained the premise- mainly, it being my experience (or lack thereof) that I was writing about- I received deep belly laughs in response. Because everyone I know knows how much of a hopeless case I was tech-wise (or still am, the jury is out on that one), but hey, a girl’s gotta spread her wings. Or her writing powers. Or whatever. In this case, share her experiences. Because if they can get a good laugh- so should the rest of the world. 

Most people have basic technology skills, whether it means knowing how to connect your keyboard to your desktop computer or figuring out how to get the wifi working again when it goes down. But for me? The furthest I knew was to turn your laptop on and off when something went wonky. And trust me, that isn’t an exaggeration. 

I’d blissfully slid through 24 years of life, chilling with the knowledge that I was surrounded by people more competent than I who would be able to take care of all my tech woes. Whether it was my uncle recommending which phone to buy, my father fixing whatever piece of tech had gone wrong (including many shouts of “DAD THE WIFI IS DOWN AGAIN”), my friend being a coding goddess who just knew things, I was rarely without someone nearby who could help me with whatever I needed. And if I was? I just waited until they came around. 

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a lazy thing. Quite honestly, technology freaked me out. I was scared to mess something up and create the next technical apocalypse. So I sat back and enjoyed the extent of my technical prowess being how to stalk people on social media. And by people, we all know I mean ex-boyfriends…or friends’ ex-boyfriends…but I digress. I also exaggerate, but just a bit. 

And then suddenly one day in 2019, I found my whole world turned upside down. I felt like I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and some magical hurricane had carried me home. Except I wasn’t wearing sparkly red shoes and holding a dog named Toto. While many dogs will be in this story, I’m sorry to report that Toto isn’t one of them. Instead, I was wearing a pair of Converse, had a pair of Bose soundproof headphones around my neck, and was holding a Macbook Pro. 

That fateful day was the day I began to work at my company. I was hired for a marketing position. As cliche as it may sound, I remember it as if it were yesterday. 

I had suddenly found myself in a world in which words like “serverless”, “deployments”, “microservices”, “breakpoints”, “Kubernetes”, and “observability” were thrown around in everyday language. Gone was normal English. In its place was something I personally refer to as ‘dev-ish’. It’s a language that developers speak. It’s a mix of whatever that country’s native language is and super technical terms that have somehow been turned into verbs.

And Toto, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Because hi-tech is everything I was not: techy. I suddenly had to learn how to use a Macbook (that’s another story for another day of how a devout Android believer has now become a Macbook adopter- don’t judge!), had to connect a ton of cables to god knows what, and more importantly: I had to understand what my company offers. And let me tell you, that was the hardest part.  I had thought that I just finished my degree, but really it was just starting. I’m pretty sure the onboarding process of learning the tech was scarier than my basic training in the army was.

But I hid it. I was too scared to let anyone in the office know that I wasn’t one of them. So I stayed quiet and kept to the shadows. I watched and I listened and I learned. To the point that I pretended for two months that I didn’t want to use a mouse or keyboard because I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t working for me (I had switched them out 4 times at that point). It only took my VP R&D stopping at my desk for the fourth time, very concerned about why I wouldn’t type from my keyboard and inquiring as to whether I was uncomfortable with my odd setup for me to get up and swallow my pride and figure out what was wrong. Spoiler alert: they were bluetooth and had to be charged. *cue facepalm*

It took three months for me to stop feeling like I was an imposter and that one of our developers was going to jump out from behind a huge rubber duck screaming “SHE DOESN’T FIT IN”. And they’d be right. I don’t. But that’s okay. I’m cool with it. I’ve become this new hybrid version of me. I now know that the best thing to do when something goes wrong IS to reboot your piece of tech. I also now know what “hello world” is, what a Kubernetes cluster is (super complicated, don’t ask if you don’t really want to know, you’ll be bored to tears), and I’ve spoken to my own personal rubber duck once or twice. Yes. I have my own rubber duck.

But I’m still the girl who social media stalks, drinks endless gallons of coffee (venti Starbucks, hit me with it), and I really can’t ever seem to get the WIFI to work (ask anyone I’m ever on a Zoom call with, having my camera off sadly isn’t an excuse to just not show which PJs of the day im wearing).

So, in this new awesome hybrid version I’m finding myself in, I’m going to chronicle my experiences as I go through them. Just for fun. So grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and read away…and bring me a cup too while you’re at it 😉

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