COLUMBUS, OH (February 22, 2017) – Angela Lopez grew up in Columbus and “knows every nook and cranny” of the city. As one of the founders of Columbus Women in Technology, she’s earned her reputation as a passionate advocate for diversity in the tech industry, and as a change leader, creative collaborator and “aspiring geek.” With a Masters in Information Systems and years of experience as an IT innovator and consultant for firms ranging from small software startups to IBM, Lopez is excited to tackle her new role as Campus Director for We Can Code IT in Columbus.
We Can Code IT is an accelerated coding boot camp with a unique focus on welcoming women and minorities into the growing tech industry. After remarkable success in Cleveland, We Can Code IT launched a Columbus coding bootcamp in October 2016. “We Can Code IT is all about including diverse talent and people from different backgrounds into software development,” says Lopez. “It drives better solutions and smarter innovation to help companies keep up with a changing marketplace. It’s the secret sauce and magic super power at We Can Code IT.”
Columbus Ripe for Changing Demands in Tech Industry
Lopez describes a “tsunami of change” in the tech world, from blockchain digital technology for increased data security to new advances in virtual reality and artificial intelligence – all requiring companies to respond with creative and diverse tech teams. Lopez sees Columbus as a city ripe for coding academies, especially one with the We Can Code IT mission. “Columbus is a unique culture, with lots of consulting firms and large companies collaborating, with user groups and support for people who want to collaborate on best practices and cutting edge technology. It gives us Silicon Valley innovation and helps people grow networks and relationships.”
The mission of We Can Code IT is a perfect fit for Lopez, as she embraces the opportunity to “create a place where women and minorities can come and explore a new career, where they feel comfortable and safe and heard.” Lopez not only runs the Columbus Women in Tech annual conference, she’s facilitated user groups like agileLUNCHBOX and strongly believes in continuing education in her own life, having earned certification as a Project Manager and Scrum Master.
Lopez is no stranger to adversity herself and understands the challenges faced by women, minorities and those with non-traditional career histories. “At We Can Code IT, we want to open up opportunities. There’s room for all types in IT, but some companies have pigeon-holed themselves by not hiring women and minorities. We want to open the door to a bright new future for our students – and help companies become more competitive as the demand for technology just keeps growing.”
Promoting the Business Value of Diversity
We Can Code IT is building partnerships with employers in Columbus and Cleveland who want to increase their creative and competitive edge by boosting diversity and inclusion in their IT teams. Lopez cites the Harvard Business Review report that “employees of firms with 2-D diversity (different skills or backgrounds plus diversity in gender, race or age) are 45% likelier to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% likelier to report that the firm captured a new market.”
Employers get the first pick of We Can Code IT student talent during Career Day events like the one coming up on April 13 where teams showcase real-life applications developed during their intensive coding bootcamp. Numerous grads from We Can Code IT have been hired by employers like JPMorgan Chase & Co, Progressive, Hyland Software, American Greetings, Microsoft and IBM. “Our grads may start as a junior developer and in two to four years can become a senior developer and then a manager,” observes Lopez. “I would love to see We Can Code IT become one of the premier resources for companies to find highly skilled technical talent to grow their business.”
Welcoming New Faces to the Tech Table
Beyond the 12-week full time and 22-week part time coding courses taught by industry experts, We Can Code IT provides students with career services, coaching and connection with employers. They also offer loans programs and financing to help with the cost of tuition along with up to $2,000 in a diversity grant for students with annual household earnings of $47,500 or less and for women, African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans. We Can Code IT recently joined partner organizations sponsoring a nearly $100 million full-tuition scholarship fund to help women and minorities pursue careers in tech fields.
On the industry rating site CourseReport.com, We Can Code IT is consistently rated as the best coding bootcamp in Cleveland and Columbus. The Columbus location is centrally located just north of the OSU campus between Weber & Hudson at 2645 North High Street. Students can get more information and take the free online assessment test at WeCanCodeIT.org.
We Can Code IT is located in Cleveland and Columbus and teaches coding skills needed to enter the software development field. With a unique focus on diversity and inclusion, We Can Code IT reaches out to women and minorities underrepresented in the growing tech industry. Interested students can take a free online assessment and register for full time or part time courses at WeCanCodeIT.org