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Girl Code: Meet four influential women in tech



Technology is not the same as it was a decade ago. Neither are the people building it.


As more programming and technology career opportunities are created, more women are stepping up to the plate, filling the roles, and starting their own tech companies. From website development to sharing digital art as NFTs, there’s room for everyone in the digital world.


Here are four influential women in the tech industry you should know:

 


Operations Maintenance Engineer and visual artist


What does your day-to-day look like?

I start by waking up around 6:30 am and I’m at work by 7:30 am. I have lots of planning and leadership, and a one-hour lunch break. I use my lunch to go to the gym or draw on an iPad to make digital work. I come home around 4-5 pm and get on Twitter to learn, host interviews with new artists and coach them, create my own work and market.



How did you get started with NFTs?

I came across the idea of NFTs and learned how artists were successful in NFTs. I was hesitant originally to dive into the world of digital art. People I was following were talking about it and I decided to try it for myself. I released my first NFT in Oct 2021. It was a digital drawing I created for a personal 30-day challenge. I wanted to build up my digital art skill set.


I used to be unnecessarily snooty about digital art. I used to think “Digital art is not real art…” and other negative beliefs about digital art before NFTs. Learning about NFTs opened my mind. The world doesn’t have to be just one way. Learning about NFTs and challenging my beliefs about what art is and what art isn't, helped open my mindset.


What schooling or training did you have to complete to get to where you’re at now?

I learned all of my knowledge of NFTs on Youtube and following Twitter conversations. Twitter is definitely the platform to learn NFTs. I learned everything the long and hard way. That’s why I created a course for other artists wanting to make NFTs so that it can be easier to learn.


What advice do you have for women interested in a tech career? Or wanting to make NFTs?

The world of NFTs is stepping beyond what is shown on social media. This is the perfect time to get into NFTs as a woman or minority. There are so many groups ready to help and be your advocate. Some groups include World of Women, Flower Girls NFT, Women, and Weapons NFT.


What are the main tips you wish you knew about breaking into the tech industry?

The difference between the theory and the practice. We hear a lot about including women. In reality, until things really change and people's perception of women really changes and the way we’re treated on a day-to-day decision level, you really do have to do more than the male counterpart in order to receive equal or greater recognition.


Did you know Walls Project accepts Crpyto?! Click here to donate!

 

Website developer and coding instructor


What does your day-to-day look like?

I usually start by figuring out a problem that my client is trying to solve, then I sketch out the website on pen and paper, build it out in a prototype, then turn it into code.


What schooling or training did you have to complete to get to where you’re at now?

In college, I started in the biomedical field. I took a few coding classes and discovered that was my passion. I spent all of my electives learning how to code. I didn’t finish my degree. Instead, I pursued coding outside of school. There are lots of free resources online and online groups you can join to learn more about coding.


Have you experienced any challenges breaking into the tech industry as a woman or woman of color?

I feel pretty fortunate that I haven’t faced any issues. It’s important to have diversity in tech. We’re trying to build a new digital space. The more voices we have in the space, the better. In the tech industry, what people look for is competence. I try not to think about [being better because I’m a woman] and just being better as a programmer.


What are the main tips you wish you knew about breaking into the tech industry?

Imposter syndrome is real. It’s okay if you don’t know everything. Keep chugging and don’t give up. I’ve also seen a lot of people come out of college and not do as well as self-taught developers. All of the information is out there. What makes the difference is the time you’re willing to spend. It’s a difficult journey to go about alone. Build community. [To be a successful programmer,] it takes reaching out and networking and doing it with other people. It’s not a solo project.


 


Public Safety Mobile Product Manager at Oracle


Tell me about your role in the technology industry…

I help to build solutions for first responders from the ground up. The products are pre-release and in development. I am passionate about making a difference and want to improve the process with citizens and law enforcement.



How did you get started in the STEM field?

I learned to write code at a young age on a very old computer. One of my parents went to a leisure class on coding and I was interested in it. I didn’t know of any other women in that space and it didn’t seem like a career path. Coding was something I did in my spare time. Some girls like to climb trees, I liked to code. At 19, I founded my own company, Infinity Edge Software, for rapid application development. I served as CEO for 20 years. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done.


What are the pros and cons of being a woman in the tech industry…

As a CEO for 20 years, I felt good about gender representation. I had a diverse team. My gender did not have an impact on my success. It wasn't until I exited my own company that I saw what it's like to be a normal member of the workplace. I didn't see as many women in technical spaces.


As a woman, it’s been important for my leadership team to understand my capabilities and skill set. It's important to have a strong relationship with your manager. Being able to have conversations with your manager about what you want to achieve and your strengths is pivotal.


What advice do you have for women interested in a tech career?

Always look at: what is my superpower? Then, ask yourself: What [programming] language should I learn? That's context-specific. Ask yourself: What is interesting that compliments my superpower that is brand new?


Don't be afraid because you’re younger in this industry because this space is rapidly changing. Don't be afraid to try new technology.

 


Assistant Principal at Capital High School and digital literacy advocate


Tell me about your role in the technology industry…

I started as a Spanish teacher, then math teacher, and facilitator for Smart Lab (an all-encompassing course with music engineering, CAD, etc.) I was asked to fill a position so I did Coding Boot Camp with Operation Spark. In 2-3 weeks, I became certified in the course and was able to teach it to high school students. Capital High School offers a Fundamentals of Javascript course where students can receive a programming certification in high school.


What does your day-to-day look like?

I am the assistant principal and am no longer teaching the course. Now, I dabble in coding. I practice coding outside of work, volunteer with Black Girls Code, and participate in Kode with Klossy. I help students build out projects such as how to create buttons, colors, wireframing, assigning actions, link pages, websites, etc.


What schooling or training did you have to complete to get to where you’re at now?

Coding boot camps have been very helpful. I want to go back and get level 2 certification and continue my education. Free Code Camp and Kode with Klossy are amazing. During quarantine, I signed up for a free code program with She Codes.


Have you experienced any challenges breaking into the tech industry as a woman or woman of color?

Lately, no. Now, it’s open arms. Come one, come all. Companies still have a long way to go. But the door is just now being opened even wider and I have a great appreciation for that.


What advice do you have for women interested in a tech career?

Be open to exploring, don't be afraid to explore what you think is challenging or difficult. It's not as intimidating as you think. You really never know until you try.


What are the main tips you wish you knew about breaking into the tech industry?

Get started now. Do simple Google searches. Find opportunities. Once you find a person or woman in tech, network with them. You’ll come across so many opportunities. It’s like once the door has been open, I can not not see opportunities at this point. Once you get started, you’ll be more consistent about the different opportunities and pathways.


Do you need to go to college to learn how to code?

College is not necessary. You don't need a college degree to enter or get started. Companies are needing tech people to fill the roles now. They don't have four years to wait. There aren’t a lot of barriers to entry. For the most part, companies will teach you the basics and fill in the gaps.




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