and now: why (notwithstanding) tech is awesome and you should do more of it

Yesterday I posted about reasons why tech is hard to get involved in. And honestly I’ve been surprised how hard it is — not necessarily because of the tech itself (okay sometimes that too) but in terms of emotion and identity and diversity. I’ve spent a lot of my life (happily, by choice) in male-dominated environments. I usually try to avoid having impostor syndrome. And yet, there it is.

I don’t want, however, to give the impression that all of tech is an uphill fight or that there aren’t fantastic fun reasons why, if you’re interested in technology, you should do more of that. So let me tell you about those! I’m going to talk from a vocabulary of code, because that’s what I do, but I think this is equally applicable to hardware hacking or game design or whatever triggers your “ooh, shiny” reaction; swap in the nouns that work better for you.

Why tech is awesome and you should do it:

  • Without minimizing or discounting at all the negative experiences that many have had, or the fact that it can be really hard to be in a minority, I’ve found nearly everyone I’ve interacted with in tech, particularly library tech, to be friendly, accepting, fun, smart, creative: good mentors, co-conspirators, idea generators, conversationalists, partners in crime.
  • Code lets you see. Learning code means software stops being magic, it stops being an immutable fact of the status quo, and it stops victimizing you. You can learn which changes are hard to make, and which aren’t. You can see where problems that aren’t being solved by software could be. You can see things you hadn’t even realized were undermining you.
  • And then you can change them.
  • Seriously, people, you get to take raw noosphere and extrude it into real things that people can interact with. You get to take a nothing and turn it into a something. Basically you get to be the demigod of your own pocket universes. How is this not great?
  • You get to solve problems. And sometimes they’re really hard and frustrating and impenetrable but if you stick with them for long enough, if you deal with the frustration and read the docs and ask questions and try stuff and break it and hit it with rocks and unbreak it and try again, then it works. And you know more for next time. And you get to feel the way people feel when they surmount real challenges. Unstoppable.

There’s whole universes out there. Let’s go.

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