Learning to code with my disability: One learner shares her story


We recently rounded up some of the big wins from our community in 2020. One of these wins came from Rosita — a learner from the Netherlands that went all-in on learning to code when the lockdown began in March and is now working as a front-end developer.

Rosita decided to use the lockdown as an opportunity to invest in herself and, 227 days later, it paid off. In October, Rosita shared that she landed her very first work experience position, doing front-end development at a marketing agency.

We spoke with Rosita to find out more about her learning journey, her new job, and her inspiring 2020 accomplishment.

Discovering code

Rosita shared the story of how she became interested in learning to code in a post on the Codecademy Forum called My story, learning to code with my disability:

“About 4 years ago I started a blog about living with cerebral palsy, because I had just quit my bachelor study social work and I didn’t know what to do next. I was getting treatment in a rehabilitation center because of cerebral palsy and found out I couldn’t become a social worker anymore. But I liked blogging and I learned to type blind with just my left hand.”

“Through blogging, I discovered I liked the technical stuff behind my self-hosted WordPress website and in November 2017 I became a free member at Codecademy and started to learn the basics.”

Rosita started with HTML and CSS and was hooked. “In 2017, I got a free account at Codecademy and started to learn just a little bit and just the basics,” Rosita told us. But in March of 2020, she says, “I got the idea that I wanted to become a developer so I would have to really learn. Because of COVID-19 everything was closed and everyone was at home, so I decided to pay for Codecademy Pro. I decided, if I don’t invest in myself, I’ll never learn to code.”

Overcoming the challenges of learning to code

When asked what the biggest challenge was in learning to code, Rosita shared, “I have slow information processing in my brain, so I just can’t learn fast. If you’re on a forum or in a Facebook group, you hear from people that are learning all day, everyday. But I don’t have the energy to learn all day. So I don’t compare myself to others and their learning journeys. I just take my own time to learn.”

Even with taking her own time to learn, Rosita stays accountable by learning a little bit every single day. When we spoke with her, she was currently on a learning streak that had lasted 258 days. “How much time I spend every day depends on how much time or energy I have. Some days I don’t have much energy, so maybe I practice for 5 minutes in the app. Other days, I may spend up to 2 or 3 hours learning.”

Finding work experience

“I have cerebral palsy and, because of that, I receive disability benefits from the government so I don’t have to work. But I want to work,” Rosita told us. She started by sending letters to different companies, but had trouble finding a job because of a lack of work experience. That’s when she turned to LinkedIn and Twitter.

“I made a post telling people what I was looking for, what I was working on, and what I can do — I shared that I know HTML, CSS, and a little bit of JavaScript and am learning React. I think that helped people to decide to give me a chance. A lot of people shared my post on LinkedIn.” Ultimately, that LinkedIn post led to Rosita’s work opportunity.

When asked what she’d like to see change about the job seeking process to make it more accessible, Rosita told us, “I think people have to know that people with disabilities have talents too. We’re also able to work and participate in society, and I think people don’t really know that. There’s a lot of misconceptions about having a disability and what it feels like. My disability is not a problem for me behind the computer.”

Join Rosita and the other members of our community on the Codecademy Forums. Find inspiration from other learners and share your own experiences. We hope to see you there!

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