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.
Mel McGee was doing tech before many of today’s tech-preneurs were even born. At 12, she hooked up her family’s very first modem — one of those early kinds with a cradle for the telephone’s handset — to help her Realtor parents enter properties into the multiple listing service. She wrote her first program at about 10, a scroll of her name running continuously across the screen. Today much of her energy goes into We Can Code IT, a company she founded last year that provides coding bootcamps and workshops designed to teach programming to women, girls and minority groups typically underrepresented in technology and engineering. “We Can Code IT started because people were asking for training,” McGee says. “You follow the market. Which way is the current going?” Read more at http://ibmag.com/Main/Archive/Mel_McGee_12891.aspx
We Can Code IT Launches Coding Boot Camp for Minorities and Women Mel McGee has been a computer programmer and teacher for the past 20 years. Now, as CEO of We Can Code IT, McGee and community outreach director Shana Mysko are holding coding bootcamps that are targeted at getting women and minorities careers in IT fields.
Coding Bootcamp Teaches Computer Science Student Real Skills After earning an undergraduate degree in computer science, Dee felt like an impostor. She didn’t have the mentorship or support to pursue her dream job in software, so she took a lower-paying job tertiarily related to computers. After working for a couple years, she learned about We Can Code IT and attended our part-time coding bootcamp while working. Weeks after graduating, she landed her dream job at Dakota Software!