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S1 E39: Take a break and do something that makes me feel good (Ar'Niqua / @ACole893)
Episode 39 β€’ 20th January 2023 β€’ WebJoy β€’ Eddie Hinkle
00:00:00 00:16:10

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Ar'Niqua Colman joins the show to talk about her origin story, from working in higher education to diving into the world of programming, bootcamps, and #100Devs.

We discuss how hard it can be while trying to learn how to program, and how important it is to take care of yourself throughout the journey.

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Transcripts

Eddie:

Welcome to episode 39 of the web joy podcast.

Eddie:

I'm your host Eddie.

Eddie:

And in this podcast, we interview guests about their origin story and

Eddie:

what makes them excited and joyful to be part of the tech community.

Eddie:

I hope you enjoy today's episode.

Eddie:

Take a break.

Eddie:

And do something that makes you feel good with Ar'Niqua Coleman Welcome

Eddie:

to another episode of Web Joy.

Eddie:

I'm excited to have our Nico today speaking with us.

Eddie:

Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Ar'Niqua:

Of course.

Ar'Niqua:

Thank you for having me.

Eddie:

Absolutely.

Eddie:

So, yeah, I think as we get started with each episode, we always just

Eddie:

like to say, Hey, like who are you?

Eddie:

What do you do?

Eddie:

A brief intro.

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah.

Ar'Niqua:

So, um, as mentioned, my name is Arika Coleman.

Ar'Niqua:

I'm from Texas.

Ar'Niqua:

So currently I actually work as a college advisor.

Ar'Niqua:

Um, I've worked in higher education for the past eight years or so

Ar'Niqua:

in various college advisor roles.

Ar'Niqua:

Started out working in financial aid, transitioned over to working with programs

Ar'Niqua:

that focus primarily on first generation and low income college students.

Ar'Niqua:

So that's where my focus has been for the.

Ar'Niqua:

Five years I believe.

Ar'Niqua:

But I'm looking to transition into, uh, becoming a full-time software developer.

Ar'Niqua:

So yeah, that's just a little bit about me.

Ar'Niqua:

I'm currently in the process of making the career

Eddie:

transition.

Eddie:

That is super exciting, cuz I know it's interesting because.

Eddie:

People here, like, oh, this person like transitioned in their career like

Eddie:

years ago and like, oh, this person transitioned over the last year and

Eddie:

they're in their first, second job.

Eddie:

Or, or things like that.

Eddie:

But I think, yeah, it's really nice for them to actually hear from someone

Eddie:

who is actually in the process.

Eddie:

Right?

Eddie:

It's not like, oh, that's a bad memory firm.

Eddie:

Like a, a year or two ago it was like, no.

Eddie:

You're in the trenches right now,

Eddie:

. Ar'Niqua: Yes, definitely.

Eddie:

And I feel it

Eddie:

for sure.

Eddie:

Well, what kind of got you interested in becoming a programmer and tech?

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah, good question.

Ar'Niqua:

So actually one of the perks of working in higher education is we get to, well, with

Ar'Niqua:

most of the colleges that I've worked for, you get to take like free college courses.

Ar'Niqua:

That's just one of the benefits of being a staff member.

Ar'Niqua:

This time last year, last fall, I decided to sign up, uh, just to take one

Ar'Niqua:

course, just because I had been out of school for a while and I signed up for

Ar'Niqua:

a intro to probe cramming course, and at the time we were learning Python.

Ar'Niqua:

So that was like my introduction and honestly like.

Ar'Niqua:

What chose, um, what caused me to choose, like, the intro to programming courses?

Ar'Niqua:

It is just, it was just so different from everything I've done before.

Ar'Niqua:

Like for my bachelor's degree and my master's degree, they've been

Ar'Niqua:

more, um, like, I guess psychology focused, like more focused on human

Ar'Niqua:

development and things of that nature.

Ar'Niqua:

So I was like, this is just something different, like completely different

Ar'Niqua:

from what I've done in the past.

Ar'Niqua:

So I'm just gonna try it.

Ar'Niqua:

And I signed up for the.

Ar'Niqua:

It was super challenging just because I felt as if I was learning a new language.

Ar'Niqua:

I mean, well basically you are . Um, but it was just so different from what

Ar'Niqua:

I've done in the past and like what I do for work and I just found it to be like

Ar'Niqua:

just a lot of fun just because it is so different and it was super challenging.

Ar'Niqua:

So that was kind of my introduction and once I got into it, Like I started to

Ar'Niqua:

realize like, number one, I'm really enjoying this, but also my professor

Ar'Niqua:

for the course, he like held me after class one day to let me know like, Hey,

Ar'Niqua:

I know you worked for acc, but I think you're not utilizing your full skillset.

Ar'Niqua:

Like you should seriously consider getting.

Ar'Niqua:

To software engineering.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I know you're just doing it just to be doing something at this point, but

Ar'Niqua:

I think you really should consider it.

Ar'Niqua:

And I was like, I was kind of thinking the same thing.

Ar'Niqua:

So to hear from you, you know, that you feel the same way, like I feel like I'm

Ar'Niqua:

on the right path to potentially, you know, transition into something different.

Ar'Niqua:

So that was kind of my introduction and how I ended up here

Eddie:

today.

Eddie:

Wow, that's so encouraging.

Eddie:

You know, like a lot of people are just like, oh, I like this

Eddie:

so I'm going to try to do it.

Eddie:

But to actually.

Eddie:

Start off with someone saying, Hey, like you're doing a really good job.

Eddie:

You're leaving skills on the table, not

Eddie:

If you don't do anything different, like

Ar'Niqua:

that's cool.

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah.

Ar'Niqua:

I was surprised like one day when he was like in class, he announced

Ar'Niqua:

like, Hey, ARITA, can you stay after?

Ar'Niqua:

I'm like, oh gosh, what did I do wrong?

Ar'Niqua:

And then, yeah.

Ar'Niqua:

So for that to be the conversation, I'm like, oh wow, okay.

Ar'Niqua:

Well, that conversation went in complete opposite way of what I was expecting.

Ar'Niqua:

But that's great news.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I'm happy to hear.

Eddie:

Well, cool.

Eddie:

So how has that journey been so far?

Eddie:

Right?

Eddie:

You kind of took that class and kind of got that feedback like,

Eddie:

oh yeah, you should actually think about giving this more of a focus.

Eddie:

How have you gone about, yeah.

Eddie:

You know, trying to continue to increase your skills and start job

Eddie:

hunt if you have, or things like that.

Eddie:

Like what has that journey looked like so far for you?

Ar'Niqua:

Yes.

Ar'Niqua:

Honestly, I feel like my journey has been all over the place just

Ar'Niqua:

because, like I said, initially I started out with the Python course

Ar'Niqua:

and then from there I was kind of confused as to like where to go next.

Ar'Niqua:

Just because like I was initially thinking about just going back to

Ar'Niqua:

school to get my bachelor's, they offer, um, a bachelor's program in.

Ar'Niqua:

Software development at the school that I work for, but I was like going back

Ar'Niqua:

and forth on whether or not I wanted to, you know, dedicate another four

Ar'Niqua:

years of my life being in school just because I've, I feel like I've been

Ar'Niqua:

in school literally my entire life.

Ar'Niqua:

So I went back and forth on that for a while and then I started to talk to other

Ar'Niqua:

people and they were mentioning like, Hey, you may consider doing a bootcamp.

Ar'Niqua:

You know, like that's a more expedited, uh, way to get into

Ar'Niqua:

software engineering without having to go through like the four year.

Ar'Niqua:

Coursework route.

Ar'Niqua:

Um, so I feel like I went through like a few months of just going back and forth

Ar'Niqua:

and like trying to study and figure out which route would be best for me.

Ar'Niqua:

And then from there I was in like a Facebook group for women in tech.

Ar'Niqua:

And someone mentioned that there was like a upcoming, I guess it

Ar'Niqua:

was similar to like a bootcamp, but it was like a program for women of

Ar'Niqua:

color that were interested in tech.

Ar'Niqua:

And basically you get paired with a group of like four or

Ar'Niqua:

five other ladies and you get to.

Ar'Niqua:

Basically work with an organization and help them to develop an app.

Ar'Niqua:

So I started out with that program and while in the program I was

Ar'Niqua:

kind of discouraged just because we weren't doing much coding.

Ar'Niqua:

Like the first, it was supposed to be for six months and like the first three months

Ar'Niqua:

or so that I was in the program, like we did know coding, we were going over

Ar'Niqua:

a lot of like project management type.

Ar'Niqua:

Stuff.

Ar'Niqua:

And I was just like, uh, I don't feel like I'm getting, gaining from

Ar'Niqua:

this program what I expected to.

Ar'Niqua:

And one of the girls that I was paired with to work on this app,

Ar'Niqua:

she mentioned that she completed 100 devs the year before.

Ar'Niqua:

And she was just telling me like, it seems like you're looking for

Ar'Niqua:

something more hands-on to, uh, gain more technical experience.

Ar'Niqua:

So I think you really should consider 100 deaths.

Ar'Niqua:

And she told me about this in like December of last year.

Ar'Niqua:

Cohort was gonna begin in January.

Ar'Niqua:

So I was like, oh, like it's right around the corner.

Ar'Niqua:

I definitely should look into it and consider it.

Ar'Niqua:

So yeah, that's what kind of led me to just going into the bootcamp route,

Ar'Niqua:

which, yeah, I was still kind of pouring on whether or not that was the right

Ar'Niqua:

route for me, but I'm glad I did so.

Ar'Niqua:

From there, jumped in 100 desks.

Ar'Niqua:

And I can say this has been one of the most challenging things

Ar'Niqua:

like I've ever done in my life.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I mentioned before, like I've been to school, I have my bachelor's

Ar'Niqua:

and my master's and I feel like the, this time with the bootcamp has been

Ar'Niqua:

more challenging than both of those wow degrees and yeah, it's just been a lot.

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah, cuz I'm also doing it while I work full-time and I feel like I'm working

Ar'Niqua:

two full-time jobs , to be honest.

Ar'Niqua:

Like it's just like,

Eddie:

no, that definitely makes sense.

Eddie:

I can imagine that feeling like.

Eddie:

Two full-time jobs.

Eddie:

And that's a, yeah, that's a, a big load.

Eddie:

So congrats on, you know, sticking with it and, and doing it so far.

Ar'Niqua:

Thank you.

Ar'Niqua:

I appreciate it.

Ar'Niqua:

It has definitely not been easy.

Ar'Niqua:

And it's funny cuz I feel like once you make up your mind that you,

Ar'Niqua:

you're going to like, pursue and, you know, do something different.

Ar'Niqua:

So go back to school, whatever it seems like everything in.

Ar'Niqua:

That could potentially happen, like everything outside starts to happen.

Ar'Niqua:

So like I've dealt with, you know, like my mom being ill for a bit, then I move.

Ar'Niqua:

It's like, okay, like what more can happen during this time?

Ar'Niqua:

Like I'm already super busy and then everything like life is

Ar'Niqua:

just coming at you all the time.

Ar'Niqua:

, Eddie: I can definitely understand that.

Ar'Niqua:

I often look back and.

Ar'Niqua:

A year.

Ar'Niqua:

You never know what a year's gonna hold.

Ar'Niqua:

Right.

Ar'Niqua:

It feels like a year isn't that long of a time, but when you oftentimes

Ar'Niqua:

look back at where you were a year before, it's like, whoa, like.

Ar'Niqua:

You would not expect to be there.

Ar'Niqua:

And I feel like every year just my life has changed so much and it's like

Ar'Niqua:

all these unexpected things happen.

Ar'Niqua:

Mm-hmm.

Ar'Niqua:

good and bad.

Ar'Niqua:

Right.

Ar'Niqua:

It's, it's a mixture, but it's like you look back and you're

Ar'Niqua:

like, how has this been the year?

Ar'Niqua:

You know,

Ar'Niqua:

, Ar'Niqua: right.

Ar'Niqua:

. Exactly.

Ar'Niqua:

It's not what I was expecting, but I'm glad that I'm here

Ar'Niqua:

. Eddie: Exactly.

Ar'Niqua:

Well, cool.

Ar'Niqua:

On this podcast, you know, we always like to dive into talking about something

Ar'Niqua:

that brings someone joy, and so I just wanted to kind of ask what brings you

Ar'Niqua:

joy kind of on this journey and stuff?

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah, so for me, like I mentioned, like it's, there's

Ar'Niqua:

just been a light, uh, number one, just trying to balance.

Ar'Niqua:

To going back to school or being in the bootcamp while working, and then just

Ar'Niqua:

having life constantly coming at you.

Ar'Niqua:

So I found like just prioritizing self-care and just taking time to focus

Ar'Niqua:

and just, I guess do something for me.

Ar'Niqua:

So prior to starting the bootcamp, like I was really big into fitness,

Ar'Niqua:

so like my self-care was like going to the gym, like I would work out.

Ar'Niqua:

Four or five times a week.

Ar'Niqua:

And then as the bootcamp started, it's funny because like right before I started

Ar'Niqua:

the bootcamp, I had the conversation with another software engineer that I randomly

Ar'Niqua:

met in the gym and he was telling me, like when I mentioned that I was getting ready

Ar'Niqua:

to start the boot camp, he was like, yeah, like I see that you come to the gym a lot.

Ar'Niqua:

But once you start the bootcamp, I can guarantee you like you

Ar'Niqua:

won't have the same amount of time . And I was like, yeah, right.

Ar'Niqua:

Like that won't be me.

Ar'Niqua:

And then sure enough, like once I got like the first two months, like

Ar'Niqua:

I was going strong, I was, and then after like the third month, I'm

Ar'Niqua:

like, oh, now I see what he's saying.

Ar'Niqua:

So it went from like five days a week to, I'm lucky if I can work out.

Ar'Niqua:

I'm lucky if I work out like maybe two days a week.

Ar'Niqua:

But, Taking the time to focus on and doing something nice for me.

Ar'Niqua:

So whether or not this is like just schedule a time to me with my therapist

Ar'Niqua:

and then going to get facials, like going to get my nails done.

Ar'Niqua:

Just things like that.

Ar'Niqua:

Just making sure that I take a break and do something that I

Ar'Niqua:

feel like just makes me feel good.

Ar'Niqua:

So even if this is like going back home to visit family, spending the

Ar'Niqua:

weekend with them and not focusing on coding yet, all that weekend.

Ar'Niqua:

Because I feel like that's what I need at the time.

Ar'Niqua:

That's something that has brought me joy throughout this process, just because

Ar'Niqua:

it can be a lot, and I feel like as a, I guess a entry level developer trying

Ar'Niqua:

to get into the field, like we all want it to happen, you know, right away

Ar'Niqua:

and just learning to pace yourself.

Ar'Niqua:

It'll happen eventually.

Ar'Niqua:

Like this is a, a marathon, not a sprint, you know?

Ar'Niqua:

Just continuing to remind myself of those things and.

Ar'Niqua:

Trying to take a breath, enjoy the rollercoaster,

Ar'Niqua:

ride , the rollercoaster ride.

Ar'Niqua:

So yeah, self-care has definitely been something that has

Ar'Niqua:

brought me joy throughout this

Eddie:

process.

Eddie:

I love that because when it comes to, you know, a lot of times people are looking

Eddie:

at Yeah, like what are they trying to accomplish for the next year, right?

Eddie:

And it's like, oh, if I wanna, you know, have a job in a year or things

Eddie:

like that, like I gotta go, go, go.

Eddie:

But it's like, really, you should be looking at five years.

Eddie:

. And so it's like if you're looking at the five next five years, it's

Eddie:

like, okay, yeah, you may, you know, it may take you another six months

Eddie:

longer than you thought to complete the program and to be able to find a

Eddie:

job and stuff like doing programming.

Eddie:

But it's like, yeah, if you pace yourself throughout and you learn

Eddie:

things deeper because you had more mental bandwidth, right, because

Eddie:

you took that time and you took that self-care, you may be able to get a job.

Eddie:

At like a better company or a better team because you're more centered rather than

Eddie:

kind of just go, go, go, go, go and kind of grabbing the first thing you can find.

Eddie:

And because you're kind of at burnout and then you realize like, oh,

Eddie:

okay, I got the job, but it's not as satisfying as I thought it would be.

Eddie:

Right.

Eddie:

If you're like going into it, yeah.

Eddie:

Kind of half burnt out already.

Ar'Niqua:

No, that's a great point.

Ar'Niqua:

I totally agree.

Ar'Niqua:

And I feel like initially when I started, because I had set this

Ar'Niqua:

hard deadline in my mind, like I'm gonna be job hunting by May.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I plan to have a job before August.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I just knew this was gonna happen.

Ar'Niqua:

So like with that timeline in my head, so like that was causing me

Ar'Niqua:

to like, Stressed and like I wasn't enjoying the process as much.

Ar'Niqua:

And then if May started to roll around, I'm like, okay, well the

Ar'Niqua:

likelihood of having a job around this time probably is not gonna happen.

Ar'Niqua:

And then I'm like, well, how about instead of just setting a deadline, how about I

Ar'Niqua:

just take time to like focus on continuing to learn things and like you said, dive

Ar'Niqua:

deeper into topics that maybe I didn't understand initially in the bootcamp.

Ar'Niqua:

Like once I removed.

Ar'Niqua:

The timeline from my head and I'm like, okay, whenever it happens, it happens.

Ar'Niqua:

Like that's what's meant for me.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I feel like I've definitely started to enjoy it a lot more and

Ar'Niqua:

I feel like whenever I'm coding it's because I want to, not because

Ar'Niqua:

I feel like I necessarily have to.

Ar'Niqua:

So I don't know.

Ar'Niqua:

I feel like I'm able to get more accomplished because like you said, you're

Ar'Niqua:

not just constantly going, going, going.

Ar'Niqua:

So I definitely agree with you on that.

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah,

Eddie:

I love that.

Eddie:

One thing that you said there that really stuck out to me was that

Eddie:

coding, cuz you want to, and I think there's this interesting.

Eddie:

Where like on one side of the spectrum you have people who kind of espouse, oh,

Eddie:

if, if you're gonna be a real programmer, quote unquote, you have to like program

Eddie:

all the time, not just your nine to five.

Eddie:

Mm-hmm , but like all day long you have to be in love with the code.

Eddie:

And of course that is hyperbolic insanity.

Eddie:

But at the other end, like sometimes people are like, Hey, code just provides,

Eddie:

like pays the bills and like, yes, code can provide the bills, but I think no

Eddie:

matter what your job is, whether you're in code or design or construction, if you

Eddie:

have a passion, For the thing that you're doing, it's gonna kind of run background

Eddie:

processes in the back of your mind, even when you're not like focused on it.

Eddie:

And so like you're going to naturally like want to learn things without like Yeah.

Eddie:

Burning yourself out and doing what the crazy code bros.

Eddie:

Over on the other side are saying, right, like there's a balance to it

Eddie:

where it's like, okay, you can be passionate about this thing, right?

Eddie:

You can enjoy it and it can also pay the bills, but you also can

Eddie:

have a life and and do all the self-care you're talking about.

Eddie:

So I love that kind of balance.

Eddie:

Yeah,

Ar'Niqua:

no, I totally agree with you.

Ar'Niqua:

I feel like I had to learn that the hard way because like you mentioned, like

Ar'Niqua:

seeing on Twitter, other people post, I'm like, oh, I have to be going like 24 7.

Ar'Niqua:

I need to code all the time.

Ar'Niqua:

And I'm like, well, this is not fun.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I don't wanna imagine spending the rest of my working years like just

Ar'Niqua:

being glued through the computer 24 7.

Ar'Niqua:

Like there has to be more to life.

Ar'Niqua:

So yes, I agree with you on that.

Ar'Niqua:

, there definitely has to be balance.

Ar'Niqua:

Yeah, for

Eddie:

sure.

Eddie:

Great.

Eddie:

You know, In every episode, we love to kind of end it just saying, you know

Eddie:

how we love to hear what people are involved in, things that they've worked

Eddie:

on or participated in, and I'm guessing it'll be a surprise to no one what you

Eddie:

want to give a shout out to, but yeah.

Eddie:

What would you like to give a shout out to that you've been

Ar'Niqua:

involved in?

Ar'Niqua:

Yes, I would love to give a shout out to one.

Ar'Niqua:

Des um, as mentioned before, it is a free coding bootcamp.

Ar'Niqua:

Um, I'm currently a part of the 2022 cohort.

Ar'Niqua:

Like I mentioned before, it's completely free.

Ar'Niqua:

It's interested.

Ar'Niqua:

You can visit online@leonnoel.com slash 100 des.

Ar'Niqua:

Also, you can just reach out or follow Leon Noel on Porter for more information.

Ar'Niqua:

But yeah, if you're interested in coding, software engineering

Ar'Niqua:

and making the transition, I'd highly recommend 100 D is awesome.

Ar'Niqua:

Well,

Eddie:

yeah, so.

Eddie:

Anyone, you know, if you're thinking about getting involved or you've tried

Eddie:

other ways to learn code and get involved and just nothing stuck with you, we'll

Eddie:

have links in the show notes to be able to check out hundred devs and maybe

Eddie:

get involved in the the next cohort.

Eddie:

So.

Eddie:

Awesome.

Eddie:

Well, Aqua, thank you so much for joining us today.

Eddie:

It's just been a pleasure just chatting, hearing about your

Eddie:

story, hearing about self-care.

Eddie:

I think that's such an important concept and topic that we just don't focus on.

Eddie:

So thank you.

Ar'Niqua:

Of course.

Ar'Niqua:

Thank you for having me.

Ar'Niqua:

This has been a

Eddie:

joy.

Eddie:

Thank you for joining us for episode 39, take a break and do

Eddie:

something that makes me feel good.

Eddie:

With our NyQuil Coleman.

Eddie:

You can find links to everything we talked about in this episode, as well

Eddie:

as a link to our Nico's website and social media accounts in the show notes.

Eddie:

If you enjoyed this episode, help others discover it as well.

Eddie:

Give us a shout out.

Eddie:

What are your favorite social media platform, maybe tag a friend or

Eddie:

coworker that you think might enjoy it.

Eddie:

And don't forget to follow us wherever you hang out online or, you know, subscribe

Eddie:

to our newsletter to stay up to date.

Eddie:

Thank you for listening and have a great day.