Becca Stevens


How many years have you been in tech?


Tell me about your background. What were your early years like?

I was placed in an apprenticeship through LaunchCode. LaunchCode is a non-profit education and placement agency that started here in St. Louis to place candidates with tech experience and knowledge who might be screened out of the job placement process because of lack of formal education or credentials, etc. After three months in the apprenticeship, I was offered a regular salaried junior dev position at the same company, and I have been there ever since.

How were you exposed to tech?

My first experience with coding was writing a program to do my physics equations on my TI-83+ sophomore year in high school. For one reason and another, I never did any further coding until I found myself in charge of a company website while working in an office manager position six years ago. It was a terrible site that the owner had built in Yahoo sites, and the header was not consistent, elements jumped around when you clicked through to different pages. And I just remember thinking, there has to be a better way to do this. So I started teaching myself html, css and javascript.

What is your current role?

Web Developer

What is your proudest accomplishment?

The first site that I built at my current company. Looking back at it, there are so many things I wish I’d done better, but it was the best feeling to have built and published a whole professional site while working for one of the best progressive digtial agencies around.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Tell us about a time that this applied to you.

Happily, I am very well supported at my current job. I could not ask for a better team of progressively-minded techies to work with. However, I do feel that my whole adult trajectory, from teen mom married to a guy she’d known for mere months, to college-educated tech professional, is one that could not have happened twenty years ago. I know that there are people who thought I’d “ruined my life” when I got pregnant and married at 19. And now I have a B.S. (granted it’s in Education, not CS, haha), I own my own house, I have a promising career in a growing field, a comfortable salary and more earning potential that I previously thought possible for myself.

What are you learning right now?

We are moving to a new technology stack on some projects at work, so I am working on learning Roots (static site generator) and Pug (templating engine).

Describe a time where you solved a problem in a creative way. For example, did something in your personal life trigger a solution to a problem at work?

I created a scrolling function for a site with several long sections on the front page. Clicking on the menu links scrolled down the page to the relevant section. Because we wanted the scroll to be animated smoothly (and not just jump to the relevant id), it was a challenge to keep track of where each section started on the page, because it would be different for every screen size. The script I wrote used a few switch statements, among other things, and was the most complicated javascript I’d ever written.

What was the last fear that you faced? How did you feel after you conquered it?

I asked for a raise in my last performance review! Which was terrifying for me. Talking money is always uncomfortable, and I have no prior experience with salary negotiation. Talking with other women in tech helped me prepare myself, I made my case clearly and calmly, and it went well. I didn’t get the raise immediately, but I am set to discuss it again in 90 days with my managers, who have given me clear goals to work on between now and then.

What advice do you wish someone had given to you? What advice would you give to others starting out?

Imposter syndrome is real. Find a group of techies for mutual support. Performance reviews are amazing for reflecting on how far you’ve come. There will always be more to learn, don’t freak out that you don’t know enough yet. You are awesome and amazing and you have within you what it takes to succeed!

What are your hobbies?

Reading, currently rereading the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, and singing (around the house, in the car, and sometimes at karaoke).

What do you like about St. Louis? The midwest? Why do you live here?

I was born and raised in the St. Louis metro area. Born at Barnes hospital, raised in Webster Groves, and I’ve lived in the Bevo Mill and Lindenwood Park neighborhoods, Affton, and now in Maplewood. I’m sometimes frustrated with Missouri, but I love St. Louis and all our unique neighborhoods, museums, and wonderful people.

Who inspires you?

Women in tech everywhere inspire me, we are here and we demand workplace equality. I have met so many amazing women in tech who are done taking crap. Brogrammers, we’re coming for you!

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