7 Women Closing the Tech Gender Gap

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Women make up almost half of the labor market — yet the tech industry is largely dominated by men. In classrooms and conference rooms alike, female coders can face an uphill struggle to fit in. Surrounded by males, some fight imposter syndrome; others ultimately abandon the field altogether

Darlene Holland, Katie White, Rylie Johnson, Kaylah Malillos, and a Kansas City dream team (Rhia Dixon, Jacqueline Kolze, and Ashley Shaw) wanted to challenge — and change — that imbalance.

Across the country, these alumni of Trilogy-powered boot camps are closing the gender gap in technology: challenging conventions, instilling confidence, and changing the face of the future. Here’s how.

Darlene Holland

For years, Darlene Holland watched her husband work as a software engineer. As her curiosity grew, she finally decided she was done watching from the sidelines — she enrolled in University of Miami Coding Boot Camp and became a skilled coder herself.

One day, Darlene received an email from her career coach. Girls Who Code, a nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology, was looking for a Summer Immersion Program instructor. 

Eager to pursue the opportunity, Darlene passed her technical interview with flying colors — and spent seven weeks encouraging high school girls to pursue careers in computer science. “I was so thrilled,” she said. “It’s educating and empowering young women. It’s everything I want to do.”

Katie White

As the daughter of a robotics engineer and the wife of a software developer, Katie White has always been surrounded by technology. Despite this, a career in computer science seemed out of reach. 

“I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “There was a lack of female representation in technology, and programming wasn’t a viable career path for women. That sounds silly today, but it’s what people thought back then.”

For Katie, University of Denver Coding Boot Camp was an opportunity to break boundaries and pursue her dream profession. Now, as a software engineer consultant at CapTech Ventures, she actively works to close the gender gap at her company. “We really want to increase the diversity in our applicant pool,” said Katie. “Sourcing from boot camps is a great way to do that, since you see people from all different backgrounds.”

Rylie Johnson

Rylie Johnson was still in high school when she enrolled in her first computer science class. At the time, she wasn’t all that interested. 

Years later, after receiving a degree in communications and digital humanities, she joined the marketing team of a tech company in Minneapolis. The environment sparked a newfound interest in tech, but Rylie felt constrained by her role as a writer.

It wasn’t until she was let go in a round of layoffs that she realized how much the company had underestimated her. She was determined to prove herself. The first step? Enrolling in University of Minnesota Coding Boot Camp.

There, Rylie fell in love with JavaScript and excelled at front end web development — going on to win a 2018 Google Developer Challenge Scholarship for her technical skills. Tapping into her creative talents, she also built a platform called DevNasty where local female developers could share industry experiences and frustrations. “We even featured a quote board for Random Bullsh*t Said to Women that Wouldn’t be Said to Men,” said Rylie. “It was a fun idea for us to vent about things that we deal with on a daily basis.”

Kaylah Malillos

In 2018, Kaylah Malillos enrolled in the inaugural cohort of University of Denver Women’s Coding Boot Camp. Pivoting from a career in operations management, she felt this was the perfect place to launch her future in technology. 

“Being part of a class where everyone was in the same boat — whether they just wanted to learn something new or go through a career change — was great,” she said. “Being able to help each other out made the experience even more fun.”

In June 2019, Kaylah started a new full-time position as a web and digital communications developer in the corporate marketing department at EVO Payments, where, coincidentally, she worked on an all-female team. She is now a front end developer for digital experience at the implantable hearing solutions company Cochlear — making a positive impact on people’s lives.

The Kansas City Dream Team

Kansas City Women in Technology (KCWIT) is an organization that empowers women in tech to connect through networking events, programs, and more. 

Three of the women involved in the organization — Rhia Dixon, Jacqueline Kolze, and Ashley Shaw — got their start at KU Coding Boot Camp. Though they attended separate cohorts, all learned a great deal about programming — and themselves — through the boot camp. Still, they felt like outsiders in a predominantly male field. 

KCWIT is working to change that reality. “We bring people together and give them space to bond in a field that they otherwise might be crowded out of,” Rhia said. 

Jacqueline added, “Our goal is to provide something inclusive and informative — that attendees may not otherwise find in the industry.” 

Want to help close the gender gap in technology? Learn more about Trilogy Education boot camps in web development, data analytics, UX/UI, cybersecurity, fintech, digital marketing, and technology project management.

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