Leaning Into Coding

By Ava Arroyo

First of all, let me preface this post with the following: I don’t plan on pursuing computer programming as a full time career or switching my major to Computer Science. I simply am leaning into coding because I recognize the digital landscape in which we live and the importance of learning a skill set that is in high demand.

Last Thursday I attended the GU Women Who Code kick-off event led by CIO Lisa Davis and Lisa Singh, Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University.  I am extremely excited about this initiative and I think you should be too.

Lisa Davis talked about the fact that there isn’t a market that technology doesn’t touch today – therefore learning the basics and understanding the concepts will make you more marketable after school. Technology is ingrained into almost everything I experience on a day-to-day basis, and having a better understanding of the capabilities of what can be done with this technology is something I’m now committing myself to by learning how to code with the GU Women Who Code Initiative. I will participate in weekly lectures in addition to lab time and working with a group of peers in order to develop my coding skills this semester.

Job Security and Coding Myths

To be candid, my goal in writing this post is to persuade you to learn how to code or, at the very least, have you think about trying to code after I have broken some of the myths and stereotypes associated with coding.  I don’t expect you to love it or automatically be great at it, but I do hope you at least try and join me on this journey.

What are your first thoughts when you hear the word “coding?” Most likely you think of how hard, boring, or nerdy it is. In actuality, it is none of these. I really want to encourage you and other women on our campus to at least try to code. In five years the job security will be in computing fields- it’s a no-brainer.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings and in order to reach gender parity by 2020 women must fill half of these positions.

Leaving my comfort zone

I’m pushing myself outside of my comfort zone because I know I will thank myself later even if it doesn’t align with my direct interests and passions right now.   I have no clue what the future will hold for the jobs landscape or my personal life, but I do know trying to learn a skill that economists predict is going to be in high demand doesn’t hurt. In my opinion, learning to code is just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic if I’m going to try to compete in the economy of the future which will demand 123 million highly skilled workers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Plus, it is said that coding teaches you to think in a new way and has you approach problems differently.  All of the benefits that come with having the ability to code and program sound like a win-win to me.

Will you join me?

So now I ask you, will you join me on this journey of learning how to code as complete beginners? Will you join me in learning something that you might fear you can’t do or won’t be good at? Will you join me by leaving your comfort zone and shedding any doubts you have about your coding abilities? Will you join me in learning a hard  skill (not soft) that has many more benefits then just job security? Join me, GU Women In Leadership, and GU Women Who Code in this movement on campus to get more women to code in a supportive and non-intimidating environment. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Let me know if you do decide to lean into coding. Tweet at me @ava_arroyo, I want to hear from you!