Navigating ADHD and the Tech Industry: My Personal Journey and the Path Forward

I’m a 53 year old stay at home Dad who has issues. I tried self help books. Eventually I sort out a therapist. A couple of months ago, we figured out I was ADHD and I’m now formally diagnosed. This was a huge discover and put so much of the way I work into context. I knew very little about ADHD and most of what I thought I knew was just wrong.

ADHD is a full spectrum of traits and I am predominantly inattentive, so less of the hyperactive. This manifests itself in many ways and in the context of Code Academy, makes it almost impossible for me to stick to learning, keep with the program. I know this because this is the fourth time I’ve signed up here. This time is so different. I have decided to take meds and explore how that changes my state of mind. Yesterday I completed two long four hour sessions and had to set an alarm to make sure I took breaks. And I was covering stuff that wasn’t problem solving, something I love, I was learning about Data with lots of words and concepts and no code, the necessary but less interesting part of the course.

Why share this? Diagnosed ADHD with or without meds is a super power with many paradoxes. Not knowing and living with those paradoxes, in my case, was a curse . . . even though I still had the super powers. My ADHD is driven by interest, novelty, the new. That is how my decision making works. The meds dial this down and now I’m goal driven, doing what needs to be done. I need to get a job. I need to refresh my existing IT skills and learn new ones. I ‘d like to know about ADHD in this environment and the work place, peoples experience living with ADHD or working with people with ADHD. And in the context of seeking employment, do I keep it quiet, do I put it out there, do I go looking for companies that actively seek out neurodiversity? This feels like the right place to start the conversation.

Here are some blog posts I found on Code Academy that others might find interesting:
How I Learned to Code With ADHD & Got Hired As a Trainee Software Engineer
Helpful Tips For Learning To Code If You Are Neurodivergent
5 Meaningful Ways To Advocate For Your Mental Health At Work

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When you apply for any job online, there are usually voluntary legal forms at the end of the app. One of them is about Disability. Whether or not you choose to disclose that, it’s called a “disability disclosure” and it’s a voluntary disclosure. But know that employers cannot discriminate with regards to disability.

ADHD is covered under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act, 2008, https://www.ada.gov/topics/intro-to-ada/ This includes hiring practices and that employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for persons w/ADHD. See: https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/resources/your-right-reasonable-accommodation-your-disability.htm

See:
It was amended with this rule in 2016:

And here’s another resource:
https://www.disabilityresource.org/47-adhd-and-the-protection-under-the-ada

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Thank you @lisalisaj - that is great information and much appreciated.
I am originally from the UK and this is the first time I’ll be applying for job in the US.

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Wow, it was superb actually! I’m 27, and I just understood that I have ADHD too. I never had problems at school since I was running from home and I loved school. So at that time, my grades were always A+, but a bit after there were some lessons that I didn’t like at university, and that was the start of falling my grades.

When I started my first Job as a fresh Business intelligence developer I was working more than 12 hours every day, since I liked it. after three years now I’m a data scientist at the same company. they were seeing my exponential growth and so they gave me the opportunity. If I wasn’t ADHD, I couldn’t learn all of those topics in two years and implement them. To be honest it is a two-edged sword that can kill your enemies (help you reach your goals) or cut your own hand(to stop you from reaching the things you need to reach).

meds are good in general, I’m using meds also but not for concentration, I’m using them because I had depression behind me. After progressing too fast my lifestyle and everything changed so much, so I couldn’t and sometimes didn’t want to hang out with my old friends and It was a bit hard for a person like me. About the meds and ADHD again I have to mention that mind tricks work better than meds some times. some people can control their mind with music but I myself can’t really do that.

I get distracted a lot and I improved a lot in the workforce when I learned about Agile: it breaks big problems down into small chunks and everyone works together in coordinated magic to bring together a really great large-scale product. For me, problems with planning and carrying out tasks are traits I have that are characteristic of ADHD and the Agile Methodology almost perfectly matches the tips and tricks recommended to me by my educational tester.

When you start talking to HR during the interview process, you can disclose to them that you have ADHD and they will keep that a secret by default (plus you can ask them to not mention it to the rest of the team) and that way you can bring in an ADA letter from your doctor and only HR knows about it. I recommend this approach of keeping it private and if you find a really great dev team go ahead and open up about it if it makes sense to; you don’t have to though.

Congratulations on getting back to CodeCademy!