Meet the women behind the keyboards of software companies in Cedar Rapids. They have had careers in code for a combined 70 years. They shared their experiences working in the tech industry and why they have stayed.
Meet Jennie. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Theatre and a Master’s Degree in Business. She used to create worlds through sets and lighting. Now, she’s a Technical Product Strategist at Geonetric.
“This is what creative writing, theatre, and business have in common: you see what the world looks like, you see what you want the world to look like, and then you motivate people to make that happen.”
In her role, she works with developers and represents the business (customer) to the developers. She helps the developers understand how the customers use the product, manages expectations, and translates what developers are saying to the customers.
“It’s really important to me that we work in an environment that makes doing work easier.” She said that she makes sure her team is focused on the right things and know how to be successful. “Development is mentally challenging but it shouldn’t be emotionally challenging.”
“I’m also a mom,” she added.
Meet Samantha. She has a B.S. in Computer Engineering. She worked as a Software Engineer before joining the NewBoCo team as the K-12 Education Coordinator. Now, she’s training teachers across the state how to teach computer science and developing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula for students of all ages.
“I enjoy the ability to solve problems and make life easier for people through code and computers. I like learning how things work, and making a difference. I also saw the huge benefit from a great salary and opportunities by pursuing a career in tech.”
“Once I had children and realized that most schools were still not exposing students to computer science, I became passionate about filling that gap so that others could experience the joy and security that I had in my previous job. Now, I love combining my technical skills with education to create engaging learning opportunities for both students and teachers, expanding exposure to the critical skills learned through computer science, as well as presenting a viable career option for students in Iowa.”
Meet Diane. She is a Senior QA Developer at Geonetric. In her role, she figures out how to connect the machine, which means that she works with developers to determine how best to ensure that the client’s products work together properly.
Over the years, she has worked part-time, full-time, and remotely. She was even able to take a break and come back to her career in tech.
“I wish that more people, especially women, explored careers in technology. Some of the perks of this career are the portability and flexibility of it–you can code from anywhere–as well as how in-demand it is.”
Meet Usha. She is an Application Development Team Leader at UFG Insurance. In her role, Usha leads two teams of developers and splits her time between writing code, reviewing code, and managing projects and developers.
Working on a tech team at UFG allows Usha to balance work, life, being a parent, and professional development. Usha is a lifelong learner and loves the fact that her employer invests a lot in employee training, from conferences to in-house trainings to lunch and learns.
She said that UFG’s flexible work environment is great for being a parent because doesn’t have to be in the office do her job. The option to work from home cuts down on commute time and helps her get her kids to a lot of after school activities.
“Yesterday was a classic example. There was no school, so I got to work from home and spend time with my kids and check in at work.”
Meet Jess. She studied computer programming and graphic design. She is a UI/UX Designer and Front End Developer for NewBoCo as well as a DeltaV Code School Instructor. She uses her keen eye for design to make websites better and help businesses grow.
She has spoken at conferences about the difference in dollars that design can make. She also leads GirlsCode++, a code camp for 8th-12th grade girls that teaches them how to create their first website.
“As a software developer, I’m used to being the only woman on a dev team or being one of two female speakers at a developer conference. I’ve gotten used to it, but I don’t want that for our future females in technology. That’s why I’m excited to introduce the next generation to coding.”
On Saturday, December 8, DeltaV, Iowa’s premier adult code school, is hosting a Women Code 101 class in Cedar Rapids. Attendees will build a website using HTML and CSS, get a sneak peek of what a career in coding involves from women in the tech industry, plus a taste of the DeltaV learning experience. You can register on the DeltaV website: https://www.deltavcodeschool.com/course-catalog/code-101/
As a special thank you for reading, we’re excited to offer you the code WOMENWHOCODE for 25% off the price of this class.
The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) is a 501(c)(3) organization located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. NewBoCo’s programming supports entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech education to help Iowans become more resilient and thrive in a changing economy.
Also published on Medium.