Front End Developer, Maegan Womble started her diverse career with many adventures such as her two years teaching in Japan, her time on an assembly line, working in insurance… and she has returned to her middle school roots where a coding class awakened her passion for technology. Tracing her steps back, and focusing on action, Maegan has proven herself as an excellent Software Developer who’s passion includes seeking innovative new code designs and creating clean, lean, and dry code manifesting her thirst for excellence. As a self taught Software Developer, Maegan brings real world life and business experience to the tech industry. She is passionate about empowering women in the tech industry. We asked Maegan three questions regarding women in tech.
What are some barriers to women’s involvement in technology?
Whenever I first entered tech, I realized the disparity when it came to men and women in the tech field. I have worked for 4 companies since I started in tech. Clevyr was the first company I have been a part of that had other women on the team. I must give a shoutout to Clevyr for that. It is a daunting factor and true thing. It is one of the things that make it so intimidating for women to enter into the workforce. Media portrays to women in tech that you need to be a 30 year old male with a beard to be a programmer. You don’t feel like you are that stereotype or that you fit that character.
There is a girl right now who goes to the meetups. She is every bit as talented as myself and other developers I have seen. She is afraid, she is afraid that she isn’t good enough. One of the problems is we don’t have the infrastructure in place for women like we do for men right now. We don’t have those role models or mentors that other women can point to.
Do you have any advice on how women can promote themselves and create more opportunities in tech?
I started out learning the ropes as I went along in life. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do; just that I wanted to take the world and grasp it by the horns. After spending 2 years teaching in Japan, I decided to pursue something that had been with me since my middle school years which was programming. I reached out to my local community to join a women’s meetup group. They helped me reach out and meet people in tech. I read books and watched videos. Another shoutout to everyone who has helped me get where I am today.
For any women that might be considering working in technology, what are some good first steps?
Start building and learn Git. I had only known Java Script for 3 weeks. I build something and I presented it. That’s all you need to do. I actually had the fortunate experience of finding myself a male mentor pretty early on. I had only been at FreeCodeCamp a month and met someone who gave me two pieces of advice.
1. Build 5 projects in Git
2. Make yourself a portfolio website
Doing these two tasks would put me ahead of the game so, that’s what I did. I built myself 5 projects, put up a portfolio website, launched it and started telling people about it. I went to all of the meetups with Techlahoma and talked to anyone I could. That was my fulltime job.
My job was applying every day to at least one place. I knew that if I applied to 10 different place likely 1 would answer to me and if I applied to 100 places there was no way that there was not going to be a single person that didn’t reply back. That is how I got my first internship and how I am here today. I went out there and talked to people saying “hey I am learning to code, I want to know more, can you help me?” I didn’t have any college experience in computer science but I can tell you there are people out there who can and will help you.
You just need to believe in yourself.
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