Some things really get IT folks riled up. One of them is a recent article in Wired claiming that coding is the next big blue collar job. While it sounds like a sign of hope and opportunity, it’s created a backlash amongst IT professionals -- one that uncovers the “belly of the beast.” As an industry insider, I've heard this blue collar job idea unleash fears, assumptions and what sounds like territorial sandbox whining amongst software developers, as in "Here comes more crappy code" or "These guys won't be experienced enough to do what I do."
“Hidden Figures” Film Inspires Cleveland’s Next Generation of Women & Minorities in Tech Fields CLEVELAND, OH (January 6, 2017) Most of us know about John Glenn and Neil Armstrong – but few know that a group of brilliant African-American women mathematicians working at NASA helped Glenn become the first American to orbit the earth in the historic 1962 launch in the space race against Russia. That’s the untold story behind the new 21st Century Fox film Hidden Figures, released nationwide on January 6. Here in Cleveland, the film shines a light on the growing need to include women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math – particularly in IT and software development.
This position is perfect for a consultant who also wants a steady stream of income while helping mentor new, diverse, developers learn about real-world software and web development. It is a Mon-Thurs evening, part-time / contract position.
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/