Starting Over Does Not Mean That You Have Failed

By Kellyn Duarte

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Kellyn Vianna Duarte, I’m 28 years old and I’m from Brazil. I graduated in pedagogy, but a few years ago I was attracted to the technology side. My career in this field started as Product Owner/Manager of digital products, but I always liked the technical side and I was a little disappointed because I couldn’t fix things by myself. I had the ideas, but not the knowledge to apply them. So I decided to change everything to be a developer and be able to create things that can be useful to others.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I am a very introspective person, most of the time I like to be and do things alone, I like to be silent. Too much talk and noise bothers me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A very special one from my mother. It means a lot to me, and I even have a part of the message tattooed on me. She didn’t have the opportunity to tell me, but she left it written in a diary:
“Be very happy. Always seek the path of good, always be authentic in your life, do good for people. Life is short, it is important to enjoy it as long as we can, but without harming or offending others. And above all, be sincere and responsible with your actions.”

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Don’t worry so much about everything, don’t be afraid to be happy, do what you want without worrying about what others will think. Practice a sport, live in the present moment. The internal collapse will pass and you will discover the love you have always needed, your self-love.

What is your greatest fear?
Fear of disappointing the people I love and of getting into old age, looking back and seeing that I didn’t do things I wanted to do because I didn’t have the courage.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I don’t remember any specific situation, but I started working very early and some people doubted my abilities because I looked younger. To be honest I felt terrible. I even dressed up to look older than I really was, to look more professional. But over time I realized that my skills are not related to my appearance, and we shouldn’t care so much about other people’s opinions. Our value is not defined by what others say about us or to us.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
We have to face criticism and show the world who we are. Stop being what you think others think you should be. And more importantly, don’t be intimidated by being in a world where you’re different.

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Not always. I have this feeling of “impostor syndrome” many times. I was much more insecure, but today I try not to compare myself to others. We are not perfect and we always need to improve. I try to be kind to myself.

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
Nature for sure. I have the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful cities in southern Brazil. With beautiful beaches and cliffs.

What do you love most about yourself?
I love my determination. I have always been a person with goals. I go after what I want and I encourage everyone around me to do the same. No matter how many times I have to try or how many obstacles I have to overcome, I will always try again and again. 

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
When my mom passed away. She was young and it was very difficult to accept what had happened. I was also young, I was 20 years old and I had to take on a big responsibility which was to run the School of Early Childhood Education that we had. I had to be strong and present for my little students.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned that there are things I can’t control. I can’t control the events of destiny, I can’t control the future and I can’t control other people’s decisions. Therefore, by giving up control, I live a much lighter and happier life.

What motivates you most?
Grow and be the best I can be by following my goals and inspiring others to do the same. As long as you try with dedication and perseverance, each failure is a learning experience, a step towards victory.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
There was a time when my work was the main focus of my life. But I believe that success and happiness is a balance between personal, financial and professional life. So today I see my work as part of my life. I try to be happy in other areas and not just focus on my professional achievement. Finding what you love to do is only half the equation. I focus on the things that bring me joy.

What is your favorite meal?
I love all the vegan foods.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
Never stop learning, writing down my goals, practice a lot. You can’t grow without consistency.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
My husband is my mentor. He has taught me how to program. And he’s been giving me all the support I need since I decided to change careers. He is my model as a professional.

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I’m a skeptical person. I question everything that is presented to me as truth.

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
I’ve always had a lot of doubts about my career. When I was younger I wanted to be an astronomer, oceanographer, biologist, psychologist. But if there was one thing I was sure I didn’t want, it was to be a teacher. But from the circumstances of life, I ended up doing guess what? Pedagogy. Yes, I became a teacher. I graduated in pedagogy and taught for a few years. But about 5 years ago, I left classrooms and started working in technology companies, most recently as Product Owner / Manager. But I still had the feeling that something was missing. I wasn’t really in love with it and didn’t feel fulfilled. So I decided change again. Now here I am again on this beautiful and confusing journey to becoming a developer.

Were you scared to start the process? 
Of course, every time I changed careers, I got scared. And this last time it was no different, mainly because I had a good, well-paid job, and yet I decided to start all over again. I have a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere, right?! Sometimes you have to take a few steps backwards or sideways to reach your real goal. Starting over does not mean that you have failed, but it is a way to recognize that you may be following the wrong path and finally decide to take another path and face new challenges. Being happy is a matter of choice, finding a purpose and leaving what no longer fits you.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
Maybe something related to nutrition. I love taking care of my health, playing sports, looking at what I eat, reading about how I can be healthier. And I like to talk to people about it and encourage them to do the same.

What is something on your bucket list?
I have many things on my list, but first I want to become a great full-stack developer and develop a lot of things that can be useful to a lot of people. I also want to travel, a lot! There are many places in the world that I want to see. And I want to live a minimalist life, I want to have less and less stuff.

Who is your biggest role model? Why?
Whenever people ask me this I don’t know exactly how to answer, because I wouldn’t say I have a major role model. There are so many people who have passed in my life, who have been successful, who have been brave, who inspire me to always be better. It would be unfair to choose only one.

Where do you find inspiration?
Meditation is a way to clear my mind to create space for inspiration. Going to see the sea, connecting with nature as well. Being motivated by others doing things like watching TED talk, reading blogs, books, watching videos on youtube, following inspiring people on social networks. 

What are your biggest passions?
Technology, personal development, my cat – and ALL animals, my husband, coffee, Crossfit, wellness, vegan food, the sea.


Kellyn Duarte

Kellyn dedicates her time to learning and getting closer to her goal of becoming a coder

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