WCW – Shanise Barona

I can’t really remember how or when I met Shanise, but I can tell you that I was crushing ever since! We used to work together lifetimes ago and ever since always remained friends through social media. Shanise has always been one of my favorite friends to “keep up with” via social media because on top of all the cool things she does, she isn’t afraid to show up and out for the issues she believes in. In recent years, I’ve watched her dive into the tech world and her journey into becoming a developer. She’s already making a name for herself and I’m so excited to see where she goes next!


 

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Shanise Barona

Job Title/Position: Web Developer
Degree(s): B.A., Psychology
Orgs/ Extra Curricular you are involved in/ Projects you’re working on:


Ela Conf, Co-Organizer
Girl Develop It, Teaching Assistant
Tech Girlz, Instructor
Tech Ladies, Philly Organizer
I have a couple projects in the works and they will be posted on my personal site: shanisebarona.com

How did you get into tech and coding?

As a kid, I lived on the internet. I was on the computer all the time. Probably way more than was acceptable at that age. It wasn’t until the Myspace and Tumblr days that I saw what ‘code’ actually looked like and even then I had no idea what it was. I knew how to tweak my Tumblr theme to do what I wanted but I had no idea that it was a job that existed or that I could be good at. I wrote about why I decided to become a developer here.

What has been your biggest challenge as a woman who codes? 

 Obviously the sexism, racism, and discrimination in the industry. There is a lot of conversation happening right now about ‘diversity in tech’ but unfortunately a lot of it is performative and there’s been little change. I have to be very intentional and careful with my time, where I apply for work, and with whom I associate. It gets to be exhausting. I have a wonderful support system and community that I have built around me, both locally and virtually, but it is impossible to avoid the pervasive ugliness that still affects the tech world.

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How and where do you find motivation?

Motivation is a funny thing. As a psych nerd, I’m familiar with the numerous theories of human motivation. It is an interesting phenomenon to read and learn about. No single theory can fully explain motivation but seeing how a bit of each can contribute is pretty eye-opening. I am definitely motivated by the financial freedom that working in tech offers, which is extrinsic motivation. I am also deeply passionate about what I do and would do it for fun anyway. My enjoyment is an intrinsic motivator. Identifying my motivators whether external, internal or somewhere in between, has been helpful on those rough days when frustration seems to win.

How do you maintain work/life/activities balance?

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That’s a great question and when I figure that out, I’ll let you know. LOL. In all seriousness though, sometimes things are balanced and other times it’s tipping too far on one side of the scale and that’s okay. It’s a continuous challenge that needs to be actively worked on. I try to fall asleep around the same time every night. I drink water all day long. My partner does all the cooking and he makes sure I remember to eat. Yoga is one of my favorite activities and I prioritize this time. The weeks that are heavy with tech events and engagements, I balance out by taking the following week to spend time with loved ones or simply stay at home and relax. I am still learning to find that sweet spot.

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What values are you committed to?

Transparency. I think it is a good umbrella for other values that are very important to me (respect, genuineness, and vulnerability). I am transparent about my learning journey and experiences and I am invested in striving to be a better person and make the community around me better.

Any time you took a risk that paid off?

Attending a coding bootcamp. The big price tag and high time commitment were risky. Bootcamps can be a controversial topic but I am happy with my choice and have felt like it’s paid off and I haven’t even graduated yet.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Lately, it’s been all the time. So maybe like yesterday? Really. Things change so fast in tech that every day there is an opportunity to be doing something you’ve never done before. I love that.

The first time I made a bot. Pizza bot! 👇🏾

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 Any lessons you had to learn the hard way?

Oh many, I’m sure. The first that comes to mind however is, do not sell yourself short. Ever. Don’t. Always value yourself, your skill set, and what you have to offer and walk away* from anything that threatens to harm that.

*Being able to “walk away” (i.e. quit a job, speak out, turn down an opportunity) from harmful or negative situations is a privileged act and a lot of us do not always have the luxury of doing so.

 

Who has influenced you the most?

No one particular person comes to mind because it varies all the time. My mother influences me daily. I recently attended a conference and saw an amazing talk by a developer who makes hardware projects, something that I am curious about but also intimidated by. Her talk gave me the boost I needed to want to give it a try. The young girls I teach are so inspiring, smart, and more advanced than I ever was at that age. Women and girls in general influence and inspire me. I am constantly in awe at the things we accomplish despite the circumstances we are up against.

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 What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as someone who left things better than she found them.

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