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Arit Amana
Arit Amana

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I’m Arit Amana — Engineer, Founder, Mother. Ask Me Anything!

Hi CodeNewbie Community!

I'm Arit Amana — Engineer at Forem/DEV Community and Founder of Our Time For Tech. I've also been a member of this Forem community since it launched earlier this year, but I'm excited to be chatting directly with all of you now.

This week, I got the chance to kick off season 16 of the CodeNewbie Podcast with @saron . It was a lot of fun and an episode that's close to my heart.

Listen:

play pause CodeNewbie Podcast

Saron and I chatted about what it's like to navigate the challenges, thrills, and curveballs of a career in technology while also being a parent (first and foremost!). I know there are so many people here that can relate to this subject so I was glad to share my personal experience.

Now, I’d love to answer any questions you might have about my career, my work at Forem, my insights into being a mother who codes, or anything else!

Here are a few things about me to get the ball rolling...

  • The nonprofit I founded, OurTimeForTech, is all about empowering women breaking into tech careers.
  • Before becoming a software engineer, I worked as a public health analyst and then as a stay-at-home mom
  • When training to work in tech, I completed an online bootcamp and landed my first full-time dev role after a grueling 6-month search

Feel free to ask me anything in the comments below!

Discussion (10)

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gracie profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her)

Hi Arit! Great episode!

I'd love to know your thoughts on getting kids involved in coding at a young age. I'm not a mother (yet) but I've found that there are many different attitudes about exposing kids to coding early and often vs allowing them to find it naturally. All of these opinions are very interesting to me. If you don't mind sharing where you fall as a parent on the subject of kids and coding, I'd be fascinated 😊

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aritdeveloper profile image
Arit Amana Ask Me Anything

Absolutely Gracie! My son (who's 9) got into coding after being inspired by my career transition. He loves it! He started off with Scratch, and is now building whole web apps with (basic) user authentication and all 😅

Coding has made my son more analytical in his thinking; also his tenacity at problem-solving at school has increased, because coding bugs are teaching him to slow down, talk through the code, the rubber-ducking technique, etc.

Getting kids into coding needn't be about whether that's what they'll do as a career, not at all. Coding exercises so many competencies and abilities that serve our children no matter what they end of doing.

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mogsta profile image
Brett

Hi Arit, that was probably one of THE most inspiring interviews I've listened to in recent times.

I can identify with you on so many levels - despite that I'm a white male from Australia! I am a dad to six, I love tech and desperately wanna break into the dev scene, and I'm a late-comer (I'm 45).

I do have a couple of questions that you could help me with.

How do you pick a path? There are SO many pathways into dev, but how many of them are obscure paths leading to little demand? How many lead to high demand skills but with an over saturation of talent?

Like you, I never know if I'll get enough sleep the night before (our 3 year old is still clambering into our bed every night). But unlike you, I am working in my own graphic design business around 20-30 hours per week at nights.

So I'm wondering if cramming in a Bootcamp is viable. If you think it's the most direct way (especially for someone easily distracted by shiny new dev toys), do you have any recommendations where to start looking?

Oh, and in the interview, you said during the day while caring for your daughter, you were watching videos etc to absorb info. Can you recommend some of the sources which satisfied your hunger for knowledge?

Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed by Saron, and also for offering to answer our questions.

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aritdeveloper profile image
Arit Amana Ask Me Anything

G'day mate! (in my best Aussie accent 😅)

Seriously, thank you for your kind words, Brett! I will answer your questions best I can.

How do you pick a path? There are SO many pathways into dev, but how many of them are obscure paths leading to little demand? How many lead to high demand skills but with an over saturation of talent?

Excellent question!

The short answer is: pick a path that will gain you in-demand skills , so you can better compete for jobs.

With the barriers to entering a dev career as low as they are, it has also led to higher numbers of early-career devs, which increases the competition for jobs seeking 0-2 years experience. Peruse jobs boards, identify companies that sound great to work for, and take note of the tech stacks they advertise. What comes up again and again? (psst! React!) That's where you want to focus your learning.

So I'm wondering if cramming in a Bootcamp is viable. If you think it's the most direct way (especially for someone easily distracted by shiny new dev toys), do you have any recommendations where to start looking?

Hmmm, bootcamp. So sexy, right? Promises of a shiny six-figure income after 6 months of learning-to-code. No money due upfront, remote classes, the whole nine.

I'll keep this short: in my humble, bootcamp-educated opinion, the most consistently positive result of coding bootcamp is a (hopefully) comprehensive portfolio. That's it.

Now you mention working nights, 30 hours a week. If you could spare another 30-35 hours, then most of the bootcamps out there could work for you.

However, if you'd like something very self-paced, perhaps take a year to complete, I recommend LaunchSchool. You can also search Google for "self-paced coding bootcamp".

Oh, and in the interview, you said during the day while caring for your daughter, you were watching videos etc to absorb info. Can you recommend some of the sources which satisfied your hunger for knowledge?

Oh this was all YouTube. I love the TraversyMedia channel. Also FreeCodeCamp's channel is great as well.

Good luck my friend! Hit me up @aritdeveloper on all platforms. I'll help any way I can.

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mogsta profile image
Brett

Hi @aritdeveloper

Thanks for the golden advice! I knew you'd understand me ;)

As a busy parent, yep, an extra 30-35 hours per week might exist in theory, but even if it did, I doubt they'd be productive hours... so your suggestion of self-paced bootcamps would be more on the money in my situation.

LaunchSchool sounds great, though I checked and they're only for US-based learners. But I'm sure I could find something similar available to Australians if I dig a bit, and ask in the right forums.

I know there's a lot of talk about six-figure incomes, but that has never attracted me. I'd be happy enjoying a coding career on a waiter's income. But of course, happy to accept the tips :P

And thanks for putting me onto TraversyMedia. I've been through his CSS, Flexbox and Grid crash course videos in tandem with FreeCodeCamp to help consolidate what I was also learning there.

I really need to watch the Git crash course, cos I have no idea about that beast. I'm afraid Git requires one to be the careful, tidy, planning type. If so, there's another skillset I'll need to master :P

Thanks again,
Brett

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rachelscakes777 profile image
Rachel GT

Hi Arit,

Thanks for sending me the link.

A lot of what you said resonated with me. I am a mum looking to start a new career in tech so my questions are as follows:

  1. Any advice for someone like me starting out and juggling studying, working and running a home.
  2. You mentioned that working from home was not as helpful as being in an office working in a team. Is it feasible to do both? Childcare is difficult for me and I was hoping to combine the two.
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aritdeveloper profile image
Arit Amana Ask Me Anything

You're welcome!

Answer to Question #1

I think the best way for moms to prepare to transition to tech is to streamline and automate as much of your home life as possible, so that you have as predictable study times as possible.

For the most part, work life and responsibilities are fixed. But home life is more tweakable.

Are your kids on a schedule? Can your partner or adult household members take more chores and responsibilities? Study time is a precious resource when learning to code, so do your best to create consistent time-blocks that are as uninterrupted as possible 🧡

Answer to Question #2

I have been working remotely for over a year now (with an actual remote company, not just due to pandemic) and I will say, if I needed to keep my kids with me during the workday, I probably wouldn't get much work done during the day 😅

Let me ask: would you have more childcare support in the evenings?

If yes, I would see if my job would be okay with some of my work hours being in the evening and into part of the night (like maybe 7pm to 12am or 1am). That way, I could just be a mother during the day, attend meetings on mute, respond to emails and messages, but not really do any deep work until I could have some support.

I would also have my kids take a nap (or dedicated quiet time if they are older) so I could make up some sleep during the day lol.

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mccurcio profile image
Matt C

Welcome Arit! ;)

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andy profile image
Andy Zhao

Woo hey Arit! So cool to see you doing an AMA :D

Your nonprofit sounds really cool! What's the most rewarding thing you see happening in your work?

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aritdeveloper profile image
Arit Amana Ask Me Anything

Thanks Andy! Mentoring through Our Time For Tech is most rewarding when I see our fellows gain confidence and boldness over their Tech careers. 😍

Imposter syndrome is usually at a high for our early-career fellows, and they come in with self-doubt and insecurities about their tech skills.

As I work with our fellows, I try to dispel myths and demonstrate the realities of learning-to-code, and that the trajectory is anything BUT a smooth, upwards-sloping curve. 😅