I plan to write a few blog posts detailing my MotherCoders experience thus far and as the program continues. I hope you’ll follow along. This post will serve as a little background as to what it’s all about and why I joined!
First things first, if you haven’t read the piece “The Secret History of Women in Coding” which appeared in the New York Times in February, I highly recommend it. It details the critical roles women held in the early days of modern computing and explains how we got from that point to where we are today, as seen in this snapshot:
You will find more infographics at Statista
Of course, the OG ladies of coding weren’t exactly lauded as heroes. The glamour back then was in hardware, and that’s what the men worked on. Coding was considered to be “women’s work,” so women were hired to do it. Not exactly the greatest context, but at least women were there, making up a large portion of the tech industry and doing groundbreaking sh*t!
Today, as a woman, it’s a bit harder to break into the tech industry and a lot harder to do if you’re trying to change careers or re-enter the workforce after having a child. It’s not that the opportunities aren’t there. It’s the skills that are lacking. From Trilogyed.com: “By 2020, there will be millions more technology jobs than applicants who can fill them. Already, forty percent of companies have trouble executing business plans due to insufficient talent. But it’s not just companies that are struggling. Millions of workers lack the skills needed for success in an increasingly digitized economy.”
So where does MotherCoders come in? And why did I join?
MotherCoders was founded in San Francisco by Tina Lee, a mother, who saw the need to support moms who had a desire to be a part of the tech industry. From their website:
“MotherCoders is expanding the tech talent pool by activating women with college degrees and work experience who are ready to contribute — mothers. Through our part-time, 9-week technology training program, which includes on-site childcare, as well as community events and workshops, we provide women with kids the opportunity to build the skills, knowledge, and professional network needed to move into our economy’s fastest-growing employment sector.”https://mothercoders.org/
I first become aware of MotherCoders when skimming a newsletter that I usually delete without reading. For some reason, I decided to look through it and noticed a link to apply for this program’s first NYC cohort. I was pumped. “I’m a mother! I’m a coder! I live in NYC!” I applied, had a phone interview, and then an in-person interview and was ultimately selected, out of something like 250 applicants, to be one of 24 women in this cohort.
I was drawn to it because of the purpose, and wanted to be a part of it for two primary reasons: 1) so that I could get out of the house (freelancing hermit, right here) and connect with other moms who were interested in tech and 2) to have some exposure to some real, live women in tech here in NYC through our guest speakers, program sponsors, etc.
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this program to level up my coding, because the curriculum is for beginners, and though I still feel like a newbie, I’m a few years past the beginner phase. That said, I have found it to be a helpful refresher, especially since I’m able to help others with questions as we go along. I’ve also picked up a couple of CSS tricks that I wasn’t really aware of or had just never used (hello variables!) and learned about some handy tools, like Balsamiq for wireframing.
We’ve just completed week 4 and overall it’s been a wonderful experience so far. For Part 2, I’ll talk about the launch party and the guest speakers we’ve had, and the project I’m working on for demo day!