Tech Expert Inspires Cleveland Coding Bootcamp Students We Can Code IT’s Summer 2016 full-time coding bootcamp had the incredible opportunity to hear Kathy Golden, CTO of Original Equipment Connection (OEC), speak about her pathway to becoming a successful woman in technology. Golden spoke to the class during We Can Code IT’s Lunch and Learn on August 3rd, 2016. During Lunch and Learns, employer partners and other experts speak to bootcamp students career-oriented topics, specifically challenges that people who are underrepresented in tech face. Golden’s story began with her parents encouraging her work ethic. “Hard work has been the cornerstone of my success,” she said. Golden started her career working in a casino in her home country of Canada, and was encouraged to work in technology when others noticed her work ethic and problem solving skills. She went to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, then moved to Northeast Ohio to work on tech teams. After she gained several years of experience she moved out to Seattle to work for an organization owned by Bill Gates. It was an amazing opportunity, but she missed her friends, family, and the tech community here in Northeast Ohio. “They say the grass is greener on the other side. I saw the grass. It wasn’t greener!” She moved back for the CTO position at OEC. Kathy addressed the challenges she encountered when it came to asking for opportunities. She acknowledged her desire to help others and encouraged coding bootcamp students to recognize that others are willing to help. She attributed much of her success to asking for opportunities. At one point, she wanted to lead others on a team, and that was the first time she sat down with her manager and asked for the chance to lead. “My hand was shaking so much that I was spilling my water,” she said. “But I got my first chance to lead by asking for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.” She also advised the class to participate in company culture initiatives, and to help others around them succeed. Students in the bootcamp asked questions regarding company culture, diversity in technology, and other topics imperative to them. To find out more about joining our bootcamp and having the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers like Kathy Golden, apply for our coding bootcamp today.
We Can Code IT instructor, Lauren Holloway, speaks on The Workforce of the Future: A Policy Discussion on STEM and Computer Science Education Cleveland’s own We Can Code IT speaks at The Workforce of the Future: A Policy Discussion on STEM and Computer Science education. The panel, consisting of We Can Code IT instructor Lauren Holloway, Microsoft Executive Vice President Peggy Johnson, and STEM Coalition Executive Director James Brown, will discuss America’s long-term global competitiveness as it relates to STEM and Computer Science. Given that 2/3 of jobs in STEM will soon be in the field of Computer Science, our workforce needs to be trained. The event takes place at Hodge’s Restaurant in Cleveland on Thursday, July 21st, 2016 at 10 am and will stream live at http://thehill.com/video/events/288219-the-workforce-of-the-future-a-policy-discussion-on-stem-and-computer-science
She’s been a techie since she was a kid, writing her own programs and helping her real estate agent parents incorporate the latest technology into their business. At about 10 years old, she hooked up the family’s first modem and was uploading real estate properties to the multiple listing service (MLS). “I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” she said, adding, “Yes, I am a geek.” Now McGee is a serial tech entrepreneur and educator who’s on a mission to abolish that nerdy stigma and make careers for girls in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) more accessible. “Females are way under-represented in STEM fields, and it’s absolutely not because of any kind of innate ability,” she said. “It’s a cultural issue. (People think) it’s not feminine, that it’s geeky.” From kindergarten to 12th grade, girls’ participation in math and science nationally just about matches that of boys, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project. But in college, the disparity develops quickly, with women making up only 18.2% of computer science graduates nationally. Read more at www.crainscleveland.com/article/20140713/AWARDS01/307139989/mel-mcgee
Before taking vacation, I caught up with Mel McGee during a coding camp she runs in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She was explaining to a handful of preteens how to use red stone dust to make an electrical wire. “We try to drop some engineering stuff, real-world concepts in there and how it relates to what they’re building in Minecraft,” she says. So, if you’re using it for good, does it count as screen time? I asked Dr. Victor Strasburger, who helped write the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations 15 years ago. “We’re not a bunch of old fuddy-duddies sitting around trying to figure out how we can poke a hole in kids’ entertainment options,” he says. Research has established that kids who sit in front of TV or video for hours have higher rates of obesity and possibly other health problems. But Strasburger says it’s more complicated than just setting strict time limits. The academy has no set recommendations on educational screen time or even the use of different types of screens. Read more at http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/20/423884493/sometimes-a-little-more-minecraft-may-be-quite-all-right
Mel McGee is the CEO of We Can Code IT and the feature for this month’s Female Entrepreneur Interview. Below she shares how entrepreneurship gives her confidence and how she is empowering other women and girls through her passions for equality, software innovations and changing the world. Tigress Effect: How has being an entrepreneur given you confidence? Mel McGee: Innovating gives me confidence and entrepreneurship certainly includes innovation. The thought that I can take something that I envision and create a new reality for myself that impacts others is powerful. To hear someone say “it can’t be done,” then to go out and do it allows you to prove to yourself that you are capable. After doing that time after time, confidence grows. Sure, failure is always part of the equation, but when you learn from that failure and respond to it in order to make change, you understand that you can stand on your own two feet; you can make a difference in the world. TE: What impact have you made in other people’s lives through your business? MM: We’ve taught many adults and children how to use computational thinking to help solve problems and innovate at We Can Code IT, and the impact is palpable. The most obvious impact can be seen through our coding bootcamp students. The coding bootcamp transforms people’s lives in just a few months. I see students coming in desperate to better themselves, maybe they aren’t happy at their current job, many don’t even have a job. We help them not only learn how to program, learn skills that will help them get great careers, but more importantly we work on giving them the confidence they need to see themselves successful in life. It’s great to see them getting interview requests and job offers before the bootcamp has even finished! Read more at tigresseffect.org/tag/mel-mcgee/
By Amanda Bates | Photo by John Goldy By 2020 there will be one million unfilled jobs in the United States in the technology field alone, according to veteran software engineer and entrepreneur Mel McGee. McGee is the CEO and lead instructor of We Can Code IT, an adult education program striving to diversify the technology and engineering fields in Northeast Ohio. The idea to begin We Can Code IT gradually formed in McGee’s mind as she spoke with women after presenting at tech conferences. Very often women would ask if she would teach them to code. “It became clear that they were kind of intimidated by my male peers, so they felt more comfortable asking me,” she says. Through We Can Code IT, her goal is to fill a greater percentage of those one million open positions with women and people of color, both of which are underrepresented in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) careers. We Can Code IT offers full-time and part-time coding boot camps, which are highly comprehensive and focused on providing the relevant, practical information students will need to find employment in the technology fields. Read more at Cleveland Business Connects Magazine.