Women in a Coding Bootcamp


This week’s topic is near and dear to my heart. Its one of the issues in tech: Women who code.  Our cohort is 6 women and 2 men, with 2 male instructors.  From what I know, it is uncommon for the class to be composed of more women than men.

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Up until week 4, gender and learning abilities were seamless; in the class room we were all learning in the same pace.  In fact, one of the females in the class was blowing me away.  She grasped complex material quickly and was completing exercises with impressive ease.  What impressed me the most is that she was seeing these concepts for the first time.  I am proud to see that and it made me happy.

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This proves: EVERY human is different. It is important to note that : The female brain processes information different from a male brain.  It is our strength and it can be our pitfall.  I believe it is our strength because we see things in a unique way and that brings diversity to the table.  It has already been proven, companies with female leaders are more successful.  I say it can be our pitfall because we may let our differences deter us from learning when we compare ourselves to males.

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Last week, while learning Django and stumbling our way through a tutorial, it happened that all the girls were frustrated.  In discussing thoughts we realized: all of us found the tutorial to  be ineffective in helping us understand the Django framework.  We told the instructors about our concern and asked for live coding to paint a better picture. The males in our class had no complaints.

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This scenario helped me remember: women learn differently. It was frustrating to see that others grasped by following a tutorial but I found solace in that fact that I was not the only one confused.  It is overwhelming to feel lost or confused but as a software engineer, this will be life and I have to get used to it.  The key is not to give up and to always remember that I am different, I learn differently, and I am capable of nailing this!  It is also up to me to bring up my concerns and ask for further explanation when I need it. I must help others help me. It may not be fair to be in those situations but I refuse to let myself become a victim.  All that means is: I have to work harder.

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There are coding schools focused on teaching women.  I considered them.  I decided to integrate myself into a co-ed program because learning to code with males is important to me.  The tech world is male dominated.  I alone can’t change the current state of the tech industry demographics but I can be part of the solution.  It is a two-way street:  I must adapt to my environment but simultaneously I must learn to enable my environment to adapt to me.

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4 weeks away from my family took its toll.  The frustrations of being confused in learning tool its toll. I know I am making progress, don’t get me wrong.  Despite the amazing things that I shared with you about learning in paradise, I was tired and needed to detach from the daily routines.  I packed my bags and joined a small group on an adventure to La Fortuna. It was just what I needed to return refreshed!

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Our weekend consisted of a micro-brewery visit, natural hot pools, butterflies, sangria, laughs, and a 4 hour uphill hike to see beautiful view of the Arenal Volcano.

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The time away helped me reflect and figure out how to approach the challenges ahead in a constructive way.  Knowing that there is a solution to every problem and leveraging that there is help if you ask correctly.

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4 thoughts on “Women in a Coding Bootcamp

  1. Gorgeous pitures! I’ve always wanted to learn how to code. I taught myself HTML, and I want to learn CSS in hopes that one day I might be able to be a website developer. It’d be amazing to be able to code more complicated things like games and such. I’ve never known how to get started though; I never knew there were schools for it.

    Seriously though. Those photos are so pretty.

    1. Kristina! I am so glad you shared your thoughts. Congratulations on learning html. CSS can be tricky. CodeAcademy has a decent set of tutorials. I know quite a few web developers and some courses focus on front end. Some people learn backend on their own, I was not one of them so the course was great for me. Check out my latest post and let me know thoughts. It shares the “after” of the program! http://anabelldailypics.com/2015/08/03/gocode-where-are-they-now/

      1. I think the hardest part is all the technical jargon loke fromt end and back end and jquery amd all that. It makes me so confused! Plus there’s so much conflicting information about whether you should each yourself or take classes and all that. It’s hard to know where to start! I just found codeacademy yesterday actually. I can’t believe you could go to costa rica to learn more coding!

  2. They are doing the next class in Bali!! If you like front end, work on that for a little while is my recommendation. try to implement css and look into bootstrap. that should keep you entertained for a while….if you want to build web apps then you can consider learning python or ruby. feel free to message me if you have questions! gonzalez.anabell@gmail.com

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