One year ago, if someone mentioned “coding,” I pictured a turtleneck-clad man peering intensely through thick-rimmed glasses as he typed away gibberish computer jargon before a blinking monitor. To me, coding was an esoteric hobby enjoyed by an elite boys’ club. At school, the boys would flaunt their newly designed programs as if they were yachts and they were inviting their fellow programmers to join them for an afternoon cruise. On the television, I would watch shows like Star Trek and observe as men crowded around computer screens in an attempt to solve a complex system malfunction while pretty women flitted about in the background. Although I was never explicitly told that computer programming was not an appropriate pursuit for a girl--in fact, I was encouraged by so many people not to live by the expectations of society--the subtle hints were all around me. They had penetrated what I had thought to be my thick I-can-do-whatever-a-boy-can-do skin. I felt that I was undeserving of m...

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