I didn’t mean to become a web developer, it just happened

Today I’m sharing a video of a talk I presented twice recently, once at Girl Geek Sydney and another time for one of Campaign Monitor’s lunch time #BreadTalks (which is when the video was recorded – there was a hiccup, which is why it cuts at the beginning).

This talk is about pursuing what you want to do, as I tell my story of how I lived out all of my childhood dreams despite everyone telling me not to, and how I came to be a web developer today.


I would love to hear what you think. I don’t really like my recorded voice, it makes me sound really brash, and my voice isn’t really like that. :P

🎥 Watch the video! [Dropbox link]

The talk is only about 10 minutes, but I promise it’s worth watching and listening to. I’ve linked to a transcript below, if you would like to follow along.


You can download the slides as a PDF on Dropbox. The slides aren’t necessary to download though (it’s mostly pictures).

The password to open the file is cmrocksgemstones.


I didn’t want to put the full text for the transcript in my post, but you can view the .txt file.

Why I did this talk

Everyone needs to know that they should do what they believe in, and do what they love, even if their parents, society, and ‘everyone else’ doesn’t agree. Everyone should give things a chance and not do things because someone else said it would be good money, or would guarantee some kind of success.

People have often asked me how I got a job in web development, and what inspired me. I often say, in short, that I played games and wanted to know how websites were built, and among all the other things I wanted to do, web development was ‘the only one that was left’, and so nature took its course. But beyond that, I had aspired to be so many other things.

Old-time readers of my blog will notice that this talk was inspired by my old post What I could have been from 2013. I was also inspired in part by my own mother, who, for over a decade, put aside her career to care for myself and my brother, yet found the strength to enter the workforce and pursue a career she knew she would love, despite having doubts along the way.

Comments on this post

You’ve definitely inspired me Georgie!

One of the reasons I took geography at university and not something related to computers was because I let people tell me it wasn’t a good choice for me, both in terms of income and job availability. It’s funny because I only know one person (out of 60) from my degree course that actually went on to take a job in something related to geography. Everyone else is either unemployed still or not working in a relevant field at all.

I’m lucky that I got a job as a web developer with a completely unrelated degree, but then that just goes to show if you are passionate about something then you will find a way to indulge in that passion.

You are very lucky indeed! (And you did the degree I would have wanted to do, haha.) A lot of web development jobs get you to do tests and look at the work you have done rather than any qualifications, which gives people like you a chance. I am sure you are impressing the people at your company big time. :D

I think it goes to show that we should study what we want to study, and know that it may not 100% guarantee a job, either.

Amazing talk, Georgie! Very personal, but also very meaningful and relatable. And yayyyyy! I finally hear your voice! I love, love, love your accent :3 (And thanks for the transcript, btw, that helped)

Really, though, I give you kudos for doing this talk. You’ve got way more courage and confidence in doing public speaking. I avoid it as much as I can myself. Perhaps one day I can get over my fear of public speaking, but it’s definitely not something I can get over right now. Baby steps is all I can do right now :)

Thanks for sharing your talk. You did a fabulous job!

You would laugh if you saw one of my first talks! I think practice definitely helps. I hate practising and preparing, but it makes a whole world of difference. I am still trying to say ‘um’ less. :P Listening to yourself talk is actually painful, but I do that to see where I can improve.

You’ve got a lovely accent Georgie!! I know about how we do hate our recorded voices but trust me, your voice is fine. Do you do vlogs? haha!

I love how you’re able to spread your passion and your inspiring story. You’re one of the lucky ones who are passionate at their work and it’s right that you’re inspiring others who are not able to do what they want. People should forget about what other people think and just focus on what they can do.

Thanks for sharing this talk! :)

I did many video blogs in 2010 actually, but I didn’t enjoy it, so I deleted my YouTube account at the time. I didn’t like that as much as writing blog posts. I couldn’t make them interesting or entertaining. But with these talks, I feel like it forces me to prepare a talk and write about something with cohesion and flow. It makes me think of more interesting topics. :) I am glad you liked it!

<3 This is inspiring and I must add, great talk! It's nice to know how you sound also. :D
Keep up the good work and the good fight. I hope you continue to inspire more people to pursue their passions in life.

Wow, you’re such a great public speaker. I loved listening to your talk. I think everyone should be allowed to follow their dreams, but it does take a lot of courage sometimes. It’s great that you get to do what you love every day!

I wanted to be an actress when I was a teenager, but I’m glad I didn’t try very hard to follow that career path. I’m so happy with the job I have now!

I love love love this Georgie! You’re such an inspiration, I absolutely loved this talk! I have had an internship over the last week with a creative company, I worked specifically for their web-development team. The first things I noticed were I was the only girl there, I got comments about this throughout my internship from other people in the company and although I’m sure they didn’t mean anything negative with it, it made me feel like I didn’t belong there.

Your blog, your talk and just YOU has always inspired me to follow my dreams in this heavily male dominated field! Keep on inspiring Georgie! And also, keep posting your talks – I’d love to hear more from you! (I love your aussie accent, it’s so cute!)

I really loved this talk. I want to do/be many things—not just adhere to a few things—and sometimes, all the talk from people who don’t know how passionate or serious I am becomes really overwhelming. But it’s really hard, because I was one of those kids with the family who tried to map out their whole life: I was supposed to get a part-time job in high school as soon as I was of legal driving age (with a permit at 15 and a license by 16, to boot), graduate high school with honors and scholarships, be accepted into a university for either a law or medical career, attend uni, graduate, lease an apartment, find a boyfriend, get married, buy a house, and raise my siblings/be available to finish raising my siblings. The older I grew, the more obvious that plan my Mimi had dreamt up for me was never going to happen. It was really overwhelming, and because it didn’t happen, I’m like this problem “child” everyone seems to pretend they’re proud of, but aren’t proud of in actuality.

Actually, as little as five people in my family know I’ve modeled; if any of the others found out, they’d go ballistic. :( The idea of me writing a memoir/anything about my life is practically grounds for shunning alone. 😓

But…after I while, I began to see things more clearly: People are going to say shit and want what they want for you. Maybe they mean well, but maybe they’re also being selfish, or just being selfish instead. It’s their problem, and if they can’t accept what makes me happy, it’s not my problem. I can do what I want; it’s my life. I can be a writer, blogger, series creator, artist, gardener—anything I want.

My favorite thing to hear and be told is “Jobs aren’t supposed to be fun or loved; that’s why they’re a job”, or something along those lines, because so many people have grown accustomed to hating their jobs and accepting that as the norm, so it is viewed as the norm, but…it doesn’t have to be.

I really liked this talk. :) It feels a lot less like the plethora of fluff out there by other…what to call them…leading(?) bloggers and web developers and people in the industry of doing what they want, but then telling others what the “right” way to do something is, that they can only choose one thing (niche), and that if they’re not doing x and/or y, they’re going to fail.

It’s refreshing. :) And I liked your talk. :)

…on the family/shunning stuff: both sides of my fam are different, but still…the idea of me doing stuff, like publishing stories about my life, is often perceived as this horrible act of disrespect (or that is how it feels). My mom’s side would be appalled with both modeling and publishing a memoir; my dad’s side would likely be more appalled by the modeling than they would the book.

Thank you. :) That quote makes me laugh a little. A lot of things become the norm if we let them – the same goes for ‘computers are for boys’. They weren’t always (or ever). Before we were both born, computer games were marketed at all ages. The ratio of women to men in the tech industry was closer to 1:1 than it is now. Unfortunately, people have changed over time such that things like these are considered the norm.

In my parents’ culture, some things like moving out before getting married (or even having a child) or dating people from other races could be classed as disrespect or rebellion.

It feels like I have rebelled for part of my life. I feel like it isn’t just an issue of culture, but of times changing. The Internet was not around when our parents were young, and writing books was not as easy as it is now. Self-publishing was not a thing. At the same time, I feel like older generations need to become more accepting of times having changed. If they were, I doubt your family would look down on what you did/do/want to do, and I doubt it would have been that hard to convince my parents that my interracial relationship was not the nightmare they initially expected it to be.

Love this post. When I started on Webs.com in 2008, I had just lost my grandmother, and was struggling to stay sane. Web design and this world I found became something for me to focus while I had all that time to think. I came across you blog in 2008, right before highschool, and you were my idol. I do not think I ever told you that.

Thank you for being my role model a 14, thank you for showing me this world. I have one more year of my computer science honors degree thanks to you, and basically showing me that no matter how I looked I did not have to fit in with my peers to survive in this industry. I still have a long way to go but seeing you succeed, just gives me hope. One day I will come visit you in Australia and give you a giant hug. Even though I have not had time to comment with school being nuts, I have been keeping up with your posts. Thank you again Georgie! For being an inspiration. :’)

Finally watched your talk, and I loved it! Great humour and great advice! You speak well :)
You definitely inspire me, with your go-getter attitude, and pursuing whatever the hell you want to do, which has resulted in strengthening your various talents. You’ve got something you can always fall back on, which is fantastic. *applauds*

Awesome, I really loved watching the video and hearing your talk. :D

I want to read your novels and hear you music. Kthx. :D

You’re truly inspiring Georgie, talented in everything you do, and I admire you for standing up there and speaking (public speaking has never been my forte). You were glowing!

I loved how you made it so personal and relatable. It was wonderful!

Thank you for posting this. I really really enjoyed it!

Thank you Bran! Public speaking has always been something I hated, but when it comes to sharing your story, it can give you a bit of confidence. I also felt a bit strange about talking about myself so much, but I think a lot of people could relate and they really did want to listen. Looking at other speakers on the big stage I know that they started out somewhere too. :)

I just watched the video, and man, it was so awesome, Georgie!! You totally inspired me!

It was so nice to hear your voice! Well I have heard your songs, and ya that voice was a little different than the one in the video but I loved it!

It is so nice and cool to work with what you are passionate about. While I was hearing you talk I could relate every word, cuz that’s what people have been telling me when I decided on my career path. I still haven’t found the perfect “niche” for myself like you have…. but I know I’m pretty close now! :D

Aww I am so glad Bhairavee! And yes, my speaking voice is quite different to my singing one haha.

I know you as one of my blogger friends who studies or is interested in computers and technology, and you guys are the kinds of people I want to encourage and inspire. Keep on pursuing your dream and just make sure you always do what you love!