Thanks for an amazing piece, Amina! I truly respect self-taught engineers like yourself! Having been one myself until I officially took it as a major in later school and college years, I could certainly relate to your story.
I will also just go ahead and say this to everyone:
STOP waiting for opportunity to happen and for other people to help and open doors for you — that mindset is holding people back today. I’m not undermining anyone’s struggles (having some of my own in the past) but in the age of internet for over a decade now, there should be no excuses on your part.
Self-teaching should be the norm and is becoming easier and easier everyday with MOOCs, Udemy, EdX and similar websites coming up. If nothing, there’s good old YouTube and StackOverflow filled with a plethora of information.
If you are keen enough to master a subject, not a force on this planet can keep you from excelling.
If you are a woman, minority, person of color in Tech who are being held back or think you lack the natural advantage your counterparts may have, chances are your counterparts are doing the same in their private time! I speak from experience and having interacted with people from all backgrounds, and bring different perspectives having lived on 3 continents now for years.
I say this because whether you are privileged or not, everyone of us likely have a lot of advantage and all it takes is a little motivation to Google, “How to build a node app,” instead of dwelling on mainstream politics and what we don’t have.
Go, kick ass, own Technology and become your own master! 🙌🏿🙌🏾🙌🏻🙌🏼🙌🏾