One Woman Is Closing the Tech Gap by Teaching Fellow Moms How to Code
Editor’s Note: This is part of a special series,Moms Who Wow Us, where we partnered withWoman's Day,Good Housekeeping, and theTodayshow to honor everyday heroes ahead of Mother’s Day. You can read about all the moms we’re celebrating here.
In 2020, an estimated 1.4 million tech jobs will be available in the U.S. — but 70% may go unfilled. The first step in closing this gap, according to Tina Lee: arming moms with the necessary skills.
The idea first came to the Bay Area native when she was on maternity leave from her job as a director of innovation for the California State Controller’s Office and decided to brush up on her tech skills. In her role, she frequently interacted with business and community leaders and had learned that the tech talent gap was growing — yet mothers were largely being shut out due to the lack of digital-training resources. She was determined not to be one of the women left behind.
She made a plan to attend meet-ups to learn the coding language Ruby on Rails, then practice while her daughter was asleep. “I thought to myself,Well,how hard could it be?”says Tina. One night, however, while trying to practice between breastfeeding sessions, she broke down sobbing. “You need long stretches where you can focus, and even with the help of my husband, that was impossible,” she says.
Tina knew she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, so she posted a Google poll to gauge interest in a coding meet-up where moms could learn together, minus distractions. It garnered nearly 100 responses in just a week, with interest from women all over the world. And so in 2013, MotherCoders, a training program with on-site child care, was born. Its mission: Cater to moms wanting to gain the skills, knowledge, and community needed to break into tech careers.
To date, MotherCoders has helped nearly 200 moms advance their careers and raise their salaries by an average of 64%. Sarah Doczy, an applications developer now living in Dayton, Ohio, was part of the pilot group in early 2014. “I’d been trying to teach myself to code at home in my not-so-free time,” she says. “Just a few months after the program ended, I landed a dream job as a web developer at Sephora.” She chalks up her success not only to the computer skills she learned but also to a powerful side effect of MotherCoders’ work: “They gave me confidence to go out and reach for what I wanted.”
GET MORE INSPIRATION!In the series “Amazing Moms Today,” airing the week of May 7 on NBC’sToday, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will highlight moms making positive changes in their communities.
Giving back is part ofJetBlue's DNA, which is why they're applauding these inspiring moms by providing roundtrip flightsfor their appearance onNBC'sToday.
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