Ashley Esposito

Ashley Esposito, 38, didn’t graduate with her degree in software development and security until last year. But that didn’t stop her from working as an IT programmer for the State of Maryland for close to a decade, relying on coding skills she taught herself.

“I’ve always had to rely on different senses to make up for not being a strong reader,” Esposito told “During that time period, I learned about databases. We had access to [the] Microsoft Access database course, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. This can help me because then I can automate things so that I don’t make mistakes.’”

The reason that she’s not a strong reader, had to take night classes to barely graduate high school and repeatedly (until last year) flunked out of every four-year institution she had attended was a mix of undiagnosed ADHD and dyslexia.

“Every job that I had, I was building my own databases to make my work easier and to not get in trouble for making things that people saw as stupid mistakes,” said Esposito.