Up until January of this year I played a huge role in the Minneapolis chapter of Girl Develop It. And I still am very much involved with teaching within their chapter, but have stepped down from my leadership role so I can spend my free time finding ways to teach kids to code. Girl Develop It’s mission to offer affordable programs for learning web and software development in a judgement-free environment is a mission that we can all stand behind. I met so many amazing women and felt like I changed so many lives and I will be eternally grateful for those women being a part of my life.
In meeting so many lovely ladies who are trying to get into the development industry, I began to realize that it’s remarkably difficult to find junior dev roles. Most companies are hiring senior developers and not willing to take the time or energy to properly mentor junior developers. This is wrong in every way possible. Junior developers are our future. They are the future senior developers that you seek to bring onto your team. If no one is helping or hiring them, how are you suppose to have the pool of applicants you strive to find in the future? The simple answer is, you won’t.
I have a major passion for mentoring and training “junior” developers to help them succeed and one day become the developers they want to be, not the ones that companies want to hire. The ones that are confident and can problem-solve, the ones that companies NEED to hire. They may not have years of experience, but they have what it takes to be successful and the determination to get there, no matter what.
With that being said, if we really want to increase our pool of future, strong developers we need to get more kids, especially girls, excited about computers & coding at an earlier age. I say especially girls because no matter where I go and no matter how hard a company tries to be diverse, there is just not enough female developers, period. So upon realizing that kids are our future and that we need to start introducing more kids to coding, I made the decision to step down from Girl Develop It Minneapolis and start Coders of Tmrw (website under construction – too busy teaching kids).
My thought process behind Coders of Tmrw was to create programs that allowed kids to learning coding and find support in their community to do so. I wanted to reach kids at a school level where we could offer an extracurricular program making it easily accessible. I wanted to have resources, like laptops and books, so that kids of all income levels could be offered the same opportunities. I wanted to find kids that were presently on a path of making wrong choices and right them. I wanted to introduce more people to the joys of problem-solving and makings things. I wanted to give kids that “aww-haw” moment that we have all experienced in software development, empowering them to feel like they can do anything they set their minds to. And I WILL make these things happen – even if it takes every extra second of free time I have.
As of this week, our first afterschool program will be starting at Hiawatha Collegiate High School. I can not be more proud of this accomplishment. It’s only one program, at one school, but it’s the start to something amazing and it makes my heart so full of happiness to imagine where this organization can go and the future coders we can empower and teach.
If you are passionate about our future developers, get involved. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are presently looking to offer more programs at more schools and to do that, we need more mentors that also want to change the world. We need more people sharing our passion and our mission, spread the word about Coders of Tmrw.