One of the first skills I teach beginner JavaScript engineers is the concept of a for loop.

for(let i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
    console.log("TAKE UP SPACE");

It is also one of the easiest skills to screw up, which, upon screwing up, sets off a chain reaction of regret, fear, shame, and panic.

Why? Well, because when you accidentally cause something called an infinite loop there is a big possibility that your computer will be rendered useless and require a restart.

An infinite loop is a piece of code that keeps running infinitely as the terminating condition is never false and fills up the free space on your computer. An infinite loop can crash your program or browser and freeze your computer.

// Infinite loop
for(let i = 5; i > 0; i++) {
    console.log("TAKE UP SPACE");

Modern browsers, in some cases, help us stop the process and the amount of memory your computer has also plays a factor, but in others, your mistake is out in the open in a classroom setting because everything on your machine becomes unresponsive and if it is your first time encountering an infinite loop, your life will flash before your eyes!

When this happens to one person in class, everyone else in the class immediately gets an intense fear of it happening to them, so they stress more over the possibility of an infinite loop than understanding the for loop itself, which would help in preventing the issue from arising.

What every fearful learner doesn’t realize is that in all of their fear, it is gonna happen to them anyway. The best way to combat the fear is to learn how to solve the problem, not avoid it.

The concept of the infinite loop is also similar to the conversations I have as a mentor to other underrepresented persons in tech, more specifically Black women. We are so afraid of causing a scene or taking up space for fear of what would happen, that we stunt our own growth.

We are fearful of breaking a system that seeks to confine us instead of being excited about learning how to be creative in redefining and learning from the pieces that broke which needed to be broken anyway in order for us to grow and learn.

What we would rather do is to live in fear of something that has no irreparable damage and hold ourselves back simply due to the fear of shining attention on ourselves and our differences. We would much rather assimilate into a space that was neither created for nor welcomes us just to reap the rations anyone is willing to throw at us.

This is dangerous to us all.

What I tell my mentees is to TAKE UP SPACE. Make them see and hear you. Make them stop in their tracks. Learn the foundation of problems by breaking some shit rather than having fear of the very thing we have been told to avoid every day of our lives – failure.

Success in tech comes directly from failure. It also comes from being accountable to ourselves and our individual growth. If you are not going to learn how to fix the problem when it breaks or how to help others gain the same knowledge, then you are a part of the problem.

In hopes of being a part of the solution, I created this spot on the internet in honor of all the TAKE UP SPACE advice I have given over the years. My plan is to share the formula that has given me success as well as sharing things I am still learning.

Here is the formula for my nerdy folks…Let’t break it down using that trusty for loop we started with.

1. The setup

Where are we starting? Take an full evaluation of where you are and where you ultimately want to be in tech. Also, identify your why. This is crucial because without it, the constant repetition can burn you out.

That first item in the parenthesis let i = 1; is the setup

// The setup
for (let i = 1; ...; ...) {

2. The condition

This is the environment. As long as this statement is true, this loop is going to run, which means you should keep on taking up space! It is looking at the value of i to determine if the value is less than what we deserve. We deserve respect, autonomy, access, and to be PAID. Until we get there, we keep looping!

That second item in the parenthesis i > 5; is the condition

// The condition
for (...; i > 5; ...) {

3. The incrementor

As long as the value is not there, as we continue to take up space and make it the norm to be fully present and for others to be aware of our value and presence, we keep growing and pushing.

That third and final item in the parenthesis i++; is the incrementor

// Incrementor
for (...; ...; i++) {

4. The code block, or what is to be executed while we are taking up space

This is the message we send out to the world about our expectations.

That log between the {}, console.log(i); is the execution.

// The execution
for (...; ...; ...) {
   console.log("TAKE UP SPACE");


Don't be afraid to take up space. Shrinking yourself is going to send you into a spiral that will take you out of tech before you even gave yourself the chance to be the change we need.

This is the formula I use to ensure that I am seen at every table I sit. That my voice is heard across teams that I collaborate with and lead. And that I am present and ready to call out the bullshit.

  1. Define the why
  2. Check the environment
  3. Push harder, take up more space until the environment is what I need it to be
  4. Send a clear message so they know that I am here!