Tech, Meet Moms: How Coding Boot Camps Are Helping Stay-at-Home Moms Restart Their Careers

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It’s well documented that men and women face different challenges when it comes to career advancement. For moms in particular, reentering the workforce after having a child comes with a slew of additional barriers—from the stigma surrounding gaps in a resume to the fact that women tend to be the primary caregiver for both children and sick or aging relatives. It certainly doesn’t help that childcare is expensive—costing more than 27% of a single parent’s income on average across the U.S.

Despite these barriers, many moms are eager to get back to work—or to take their career in a new and exciting direction.

Learning in-demand skills like coding, data analytics, or UX/UI has been life-changing for countless moms. And since boot camps can offer the flexibility and support that moms need—like evening and weekend classes—these programs can help women switch or restart their careers without sacrificing time spent with their family.

Leading the mommy revolution in tech

While learning to code can open countless doors for moms, some of those doors can be harder to get a foot in than others. That was the experience of Valarie Regas, a graduate from the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp—but she wasn’t about to let that stop her.

As a stay-at-home mom, Valarie yearned to rejoin the workforce, but few jobs paid enough to justify childcare costs. Besides, she didn’t want just any old job. She wanted a career she was passionate about.

Valarie’s path to coding began when she helped her husband, a software architect, talk through a problem he was experiencing in his work. Both were thrilled when she helped him reach a solution.

“I know now that it was my first time experiencing the exquisite joy of successful debugging,” Valerie said. “I didn’t know what it was at the time. I just knew it felt good and I wanted more.”

Despite some initial nerves, Valarie enrolled in the Georgia Tech Coding Boot Camp. When she graduated in 2018, she couldn’t wait to walk into her dream career.

But that didn’t happen. At least, not right away.

“I’ve realized many people don’t want to hire moms,” she said. “They feel like we’re liabilities somehow, and they are so wrong!”

Now a junior DevOps Engineer at Airbus Aerial, which provides data solutions to the aerospace industry, Valarie is passionate about getting more moms into coding—and helping tech companies realize their strengths.

“Tech needs what we bring,” she argued. “From a technical aspect, we approach problem solving differently. [And] it’s not just technical ability. It’s the soft skills that count. You don’t know conflict resolution until you have two five years olds.”

Struggling single mom turned Student Success Manager

Single motherhood is on the rise; today, one in four children under 18 are being raised without a father. And more than three in four single mothers work. But juggling household bills and childcare costs can be a real struggle.

This was the position Funda Istvan found herself in following a divorce.

After years as a stay-at-home mom, she was suddenly on the hunt for full-time work. She tried juggling a half-dozen Fortune 500 freelance jobs, from voiceover work to copywriting, but was struggling without health benefits and burning through her assets fast.

Funda decided the best investment she could make was in her continued education. She enrolled in USC Rossier to earn an MA in Teaching.

Funda loved the idea of going back to school. What she didn’t love was the career track she was setting herself up for. After one day as a substitute teacher, she knew that being a middle school teacher was not her dream. But it was only after encouraging her daughters to get into tech that she realized where her true passion lay.

“I had been teaching myself HTML, CSS, and Javascript on a little phone app,” she said. “I realized that it was my interest in technology that I was imparting to my children, and that if I was going to imbue my daughters with a sense of my own enthusiasm about something, it was high time I listened to that enthusiasm myself.”

The Rutgers Coding Boot Camp offered everything Funda wanted in a program—a challenging but rewarding experience, the ability to learn part-time, and a Certificate from a school she admired. The curriculum itself was her “personal jackpot,” covering everything she was most excited about learning—including the most relevant Javascript frameworks.

Toward the end of the program, Funda took a job as a TA and tutor to “pass on this love [of coding] to incoming students.” From there, she became a Student Success Manager, working with students, instructors, and TAs to make sure every student had the same the “life-changing, affirming, and enriching experiences” as she had.

Funda describes her time at coding boot camp as “a journey toward financial recovery that would set my daughters and myself on the road to increased security and hope.”

“I am saying to you now, if you are a divorced woman and you are listening: Get thee to boot camp.”

As demand for digital skills outpaces supply, more and more tech companies are looking beyond past experience to find skilled candidates—offering moms who code a fresh chance at getting their foot in door and landing an incredible job.

There has never been a better time to learn some new skill and discover your passion. Discover a coding boot camp near you, and become part of tech’s mommy revolution!

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