Software Engineering: My First Step

Software Engineering: My First Step

Hey there! I'm Michelle Mounde, a self-taught software engineer from Nairobi, currently working as an Outreachy intern at Mozilla.

Growing up, I have been fascinated by the rapid evolution of the tech industry and how it’s transforming our lives. I've always dreamt of being part of this transformation and this blog is a reflection of my journey, from my initial interest in technology to my current role as a software engineer.

My personal values—Creativity, Growth, and Effectiveness—have guided my journey and continue to influence how I work on software engineering problems.

Creativity is about finding innovative solutions to problems, while Growth is about continual learning and improvement. Effectiveness, on the other hand, is about optimizing resources to ensure better resource distribution in a world that's constantly changing.

But how did I get here?

I started my career in construction, a field that didn't align with my work style. Then COVID started and the world changed dramatically. This was the push I needed.

The mass layoffs and the shift in how we work pushed me to learn programming, a skill that I believed would better suit my abilities and aspirations. The economic crisis added another layer of complexity to my journey, but it also fueled my determination to succeed.

I discovered Outreachy before I ever learnt what programming was. It was incredible to learn about remote internships at international companies working on free software. Once I had completed my learning, the opportunity to contribute to open-source software that I use daily was too exciting to pass up.

My first application to Outreachy was not successful, but I didn't let it discourage me. I continued to refine my skills while building my portfolio, and on my second application I got selected as an Outreachy intern.

The Outreachy internship is a transformative experience for me. It has given me the opportunity to learn from senior software engineers, work on real-world projects, and collaborate with people from all over the world. I am currently contributing to Mozilla's Balrog, the Firefox Update Server, working on both front-end and back-end code.

My future plans involve continuing to contribute to open-source, working on growing my skills, and securing my first job as a software engineer.

In conclusion, my journey from self-taught to programmer has been a journey of growth, creativity, and effectiveness. It's been a challenging journey, but every step I've taken has brought me closer to my goal of becoming a software engineer.

So, if you're an Outreachy applicant or just getting started on your programming journey: don't get discouraged by rejections or challenges. Keep pushing, keep learning, and most importantly, keep coding. Remember, success is not about getting it right the first time, but about never giving up.

I'm excited for the rest of my journey and I hope you'll keep exploring with me. Whether you're a seasoned programmer or just starting out, your insights would be invaluable. Feel free to share your journey and connect with me on LinkedIn.