Nearly 100 years ago, American women gained the right to vote. As we approach August 26th and Women’s Equality Day, we women are working to overcome another gender barrier: workplace inequality.
Nowhere is this obstacle more visible than in tech. According to Entelo, a recruitment firm, women account for a mere 18% of tech jobs nationwide—and only 10% of tech executives.
But every day, new women bite the bullet to do a courageous thing—and join our industry. Let’s celebrate a few of the thousands of inspiring women graduating from our coding boot camps—over 32% of our students—who are bridging the gap and fighting gender stereotypes.
1. Darlene Holland
After spending years as a science teacher, Darlene Holland noticed something upsetting about STEM, the realm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“When minority and female students don’t see themselves represented in certain careers, they seem to think ‘those people doing those jobs don’t look like me, so why should I do them?’” Darlene noticed.
She decided to become that representation.
Through the University of Miami Coding Boot Camp, Darlene was encouraged to merge her two passions: coding and education. Her career coach told Darlene about a position at Girls Who Code, and she knew it would be a perfect fit.
Now as an instructor in the Summer Immersion Program, Darlene is inspiring young girls through her own experiences—something she could never have done without the boot camp.
Read more about Darlene’s inspiring story.
2. Lisa Freedman
Cancer treatment can knock anyone off their feet. But for law adjudicator Lisa Freedman, it opened the door to a new future. Looking back, Lisa realized that her passions lay not in the law, but in tech.
So the 61-year-old breast cancer survivor took a giant leap and signed up for the University of Toronto Coding Boot Camp.
Diving into coding, Lisa struggled in the first few weeks. Leaning on her fellow students, the class came together as a collaborative community, studying and overcoming obstacles together. As the oldest and perhaps peppiest classmate, Lisa took a natural leadership role.
As for what’s next, Lisa wants to give back. “I want to volunteer with Girls Who Code. I think I could make a difference giving girls new opportunities,” she said.
Read Lisa’s full story and learn about her desire to help give back.
3. Rebecca Gemeinhardt
Born into a love of—and a knack for—art, Rebecca never really considered technology. But while working as a graphic designer, she started dabbling in code…and got hooked.
Hungry to learn more, Rebecca signed up for the University of Texas at Houston Coding Boot Camp.
A few months later, Rebecca got invited to a developer position at Shell. With the help of the boot camp career services, Rebecca went in for the interview feeling confident and prepared.
Less than five hours later, Rebecca got a call. Shell wanted her.
Now working as the only woman on her team of six developers, Rebecca says she wants to be known for her passion and skills—not her gender.
“I try not to get caught up by thinking about how my gender could be a possible barrier and instead value the unique perspectives and approaches I can provide to my team as a female,” Rebecca said.
Read more about Rebecca’s journey to coding.
4. Edna Jonsson
When Edna Jonsson lost her home and divorced her husband, she could have squandered her hope. Instead, Edna discovered a clean slate. She decided to go to the UCF Coding Boot Camp to find a fresh start in life.
The classroom was a welcome escape from the reality of Edna’s tumultuous personal life, and she found solace in the support of her TAs and instructor.
Ultimately, Edna put her Trilogy Education career director on speed dial, calling him before her interviews for advice and a pep talk—and afterwards, for a debrief.
And it all paid off. Right after graduating, Edna got a job at Florida Blue as a MERN stack developer, something she learned extensively in her boot camp. Later, she moved to Tennessee and became the company’s first remote junior developer.
Edna credits the boot camp for helping her get back on her feet, and she is a shining example of resilience and perseverance.
“I was so happy to get my life back on track, and make such a positive investment in my future,” she said.
Read more about Edna’s inspiring story and her experience at the boot camp.
5. Valerie Regas
Being a mom brings unique challenges. For Valerie Regas, the obstacles were unexpected. Valerie quickly realized she didn’t want to be a stay-at-home mom, and fell head-over-heels for the world of tech.
Valerie dove into coding at the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp. But unfortunately, after graduating and starting her job search, Valerie realized something astonishing.
“Many people don’t want to hire moms,” she said.
In a speech at the WWCode Atlanta 3rd Annual International Women’s Day Celebration, Valerie encouraged people to support working moms and invest in their knowledge and skill set. She pointed out that moms bring a strong work ethic, outside perspectives, and exceptional soft skills to the tech industry.
Now, Valerie works as a junior DevOps engineer at Airbus Aerial. As a developer and a mom, continues to bring her unique experiences to the table and help her team succeed. She’s an ideal example of an inspiring and dedicated woman, taking the tech industry by storm.
Read or watch Valerie’s complete speech.
Want to help us close the gender tech gap? Learn more about the boot camps Trilogy Education has to offer.