Mary has studied everything from Illustration and Printmaking to Math and Art History. While earning her degree in Philosophy, she took a class in Database Systems and was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. When Mary found We Can Code IT and their commitment to creating a welcoming environment for everyone she knew it was the right path for her. After attending the part-time coding bootcamp, she was able to find a job where she can utilize all of her skills.
I graduated from John Carroll University in 2015. I spent five semesters at the Cleveland Institute of Art before transferring to JCU. I took a crooked path from high school to where I am now. I graduated with a BA in Philosophy, but before settling on Philosophy as a major, I studied Illustration and printmaking at CIA and Math and Art History at JCU. What led me to computer programming was actually a summer course called “Database Systems” that I took because I was fairly certain I wouldn’t have to write any papers in that class. I ended up loving it.
I worked at a hardware store for about a year. That led to me meeting a handyman/contractor who I helped out with all sorts of jobs for about a year and a half. He wanted to get me into the house-flipping business. It was tempting.
I chose WCCI for its focus on underrepresented groups in tech. I’ve often been the only female doing a lot of things I’ve chosen to do. I was one of very few female philosophy majors and sometimes the only one in my classes. I took jobs typically filled by men because they appealed to me. I worked at a hardware store and then worked for a contractor doing manual labor. I grew up in a community that never made me feel like my gender should limit my ambitions, and I recognized after entering the work force and the adult world in general how valuable that has been for me. It enabled me to pursue my interests regardless of other people’s expectations of what I should be interested in based on my gender. In my younger life I was shielded from sexism, but I faced it often in these jobs and I took pride in standing up to it.
When I was researching bootcamps in the Cleveland area, I learned about WCCI and their commitment to creating an environment for women and minorities that was welcoming and supportive. It’s very powerful for students to have role models who are physical proof that there is room for people in this field who don’t look like the typical students in a computer science class.