Nicole is a Senior Product Designer & Front End Developer based in Brooklyn New York, working at Sawhorse Media, as well as co-organising Django Girls NYC.
What made you decide to work in tech?
Working in tech was something that I fell into; it wasn’t exactly a conscious decision. As a teenager I ended up teaching myself how to code and fell in love with it. From there, it turned into a career.
What was an obstacle you faced and how did you overcome that obstacle?
I think the biggest obstacle I faced was ageism in the industry. Being a young person of color, it was tough for people to take me seriously at first. I still deal with it today in different capacities, but not as much, as I’m older now. Not having a degree and being taken seriously was hard to overcome even though in our industry a college degree isn’t necessary to do good work
Where there any hacks you used to help yourself be taken seriously at a young age?
My website and portfolio aside, I felt like I had to act really mature to be taken seriously. I learned the hard way not to put my age anywhere–even removing it from my Facebook.
What is your experience being a POC in Tech?I think it’s incredibly frustrating. Being self-taught, I didn’t really have teachers or mentors who could push me. I ended up looking to my peers, who a lot of the time were mostly white men and didn’t really understand anything about what my life was like or anything I was going through.
What was your perception about the tech industry before entering it? What is your perception now?
I don’t think I understood what the tech industry was before I got into it. Now looking back, I’m happy to be here. Even though it’s hard, this industry offers a great amount of opportunity. A lot of the time you can have flexible work schedules, are given cool perks, or do work for an overseas company.
What advice would you give to a young person who wanted to enter tech?
You shouldn’t let people walk all over you. As POC in tech it’s too easy to let that happen. Whatever someone thinks of you, you shouldn’t take that as gospel. You can still do whatever it is you want to do.