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Lauren Holloway is a Teaching Assistant and Digital Marketing Specialist at We Can Code IT, a 3-month full-stack (Javascript, HTML, CSS, C#/.NET and SQL) bootcamp in Cleveland with a focus on socioeconomic and gender diversity. In today’s Employee Spotlight, Lauren tells us about her journey in education and technology, and why it’s important to get women from diverse backgrounds coding!

 

I first learned of We Can Code IT when I moved back to Ohio after completing an AmeriCorps service term at Youth Villages in Douglasville, Georgia. My service term as a math and literacy tutor was a spirit awakening experience that lit a spark in me I had inadvertently stifled. I spent my ten and a half months of service trying to inspire youth with severe emotional and behavioral issues to find the stifled spark within themselves and to feed it and to let it become the guiding light of their paths. I did not realize that over the course of those ten and a half months, I was simultaneously feeding my own fire.

 

Tucked far away, my passions for technology were not a priority to me. My fond memories of childhood technological curiosity and exploration were forced to the backmost region of my mind, so much that I studied sociology in college without consideration of a STEM career. But why?  Despite my early passion for technology, why was a career in the tech industry such a disregarded thought? Why is it that a decreasing number of women are pursuing computer science occupations? Of the women who choose an occupation in computing, why do African American, Asian, and Latina women only make up a combined 6.8% of professionals in the field--despite the fact that women in STEM careers, like software engineering, have a higher salary than their non-STEM counterparts by an average of 33%?

 

Working at We Can Code IT--a coding bootcamp and organization committed to education and programming skills development for women, diverse, and low- to moderate-income populations--has awarded me the opportunity to not only explore my own reasons for shying away from computer science, but also the national trend of women, especially women of color, shying away from computer science and other STEM fields. Working within an organization that not only understands the diversity deficit and plight of women within the tech industry, but spends every day getting things done to do something about it, has been empowering.

 

We Can Code IT’s educational philosophy is that all students have the ability to learn programming and that it is the organization’s responsibility to help students feed their spark and light their paths. It is our mission to not only change the landscape of the tech industry, but to help other women and diverse populations change the trajectory of their lives.

 

Want to learn more about We Can Code IT? Check out their School Page on Course Report or visit http://Bootcamp.WeCanCodeIT.org and apply today! Classes fill up quickly.

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