As a teenager, Aishah Newson was good at coding and math, but she didn’t think that her likes in school would eventually be the career path that would satisfy her ever-curious spirit. Now at 29 and living in Santa Monica, Newson is pursuing an MS in Information & Data Science from UC Berkley. It took a while to figure out what she wanted, but it was worth the effort.
Like many teenagers, Newson didn’t pay any attention to her mother, who had already noticed that her daughter was gifted in coding and math. This wasn’t a surprise because, after all, which teenager listens to their parent? However, Newson did not go around partying and being reckless with life. She chose to try out different career paths that eventually landed her to her passion.
Experiment Your Way To Contentment
While Newson scouted different careers in her 20s, most people must have thought she had lost focus and was doing anything to survive. However, according to the almost graduate from Berkley, she was experimenting with careers to find what would feed her curious soul and make her happy. When her peers were settling for whatever came their way, she was busy searching for fulfillment. In her words, “Once I moved to LA, I began trying several different careers paths. I truly spent most of my 20s trying something different every year from a career standpoint. Some might say that’s reckless, I would say it was perfect for my curious soul.” And she eventually found it. Now, she’s almost done with her degree and couldn’t want to be in another profession.
Coding Is Hard, But Is It?
Well, nothing is easy. It all depends on the mindset you adopt and the energy you are willing to invest in achieving your desired results. When Newson was searching for a career to settle for, she tried out many careers, but she never gave up. She once started teaching herself Excel and Python and even went to a boot camp to try and solidify her skills. That didn’t go so well, as she comments, “I kind of sucked at the boot camp, but I made it through.” You need to be willing to try until things work out for you. As Newson says, “While the journey is not always clear, it can be quite the eventful ride if you keep going!”
Coding needs you to be organized and have excellent communication with your clients. Newson admits that whenever she takes up new projects, she asks a lot of questions. She always wants to know what the client expects from her and how well she can use her knowledge and skills to meet her client’s expectations.
It is essential to have a roadmap whenever you take up a new project as a data analyst. Newson always creates one to make sure she meets all her clients’ needs and beats deadlines. However, to survive in the industry, you have to keep your curiosity up. According to Newson, “Curiosity. The field is always evolving. There are always new technologies coming out, and if you aren’t curious about them or always willing to learn, I think it could be a challenging road.” Always lookout for new technologies, familiarize yourself with them, and stay prepared for any new client demands.
Is Coding An Ideal Job For Women?
Even though the figures have shifted upwards regarding the number of women in tech jobs such as coding, the field could still accommodate more women. Newson has observed the low numbers in the industry and says, “I think the biggest challenge in my profession is that there aren’t enough women. From time to time I volunteer for orgs such as “Black Girls Code” to hopefully generate more awareness in the space, but once I finish up school my hope is to develop tools and programs to help more women get into this space.”
The women in tech are a great inspiration to young girls. However, a lot more has to be done to recruit more women into the industry. You could be the next coding sister and make your way up to the top of the ladder. All you need to do is commit yourself, put in the work, and be willing to make the sacrifices.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Newson says that the best lesson she has learned in her professional journey is that failing is part of the process. She says, “Don’t be afraid of failure. Working in this field is a forever learning journey.” Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from making your dream a reality. Be open to learning from your mistakes, and learn from the mistakes of those ahead of you. If you can, get someone to mentor you so that the journey isn’t as lonely.