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
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