Take me back!! I want my CSS!! Click me to get back :)

×

READY FOR A NEW CAREER?

But not sure where to start? Find out if a tech career is right for you.

TAKE THE 3-MINUTE QUIZ

Who Codes: From a Textile Entrepreneur to an Opera Enthusiast

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Make a plan for learning the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

As more and more people find ways to join the tech industry that doesn’t involve a path through Silicon Valley, we as a culture are slowly learning that the old idea of what a coder is, (some version of a white bro in a hoodie, working all night) is not only incorrect—it’s obsolete. And we want to celebrate  that! Welcome to What Makes a Coder?—a monthly column that spotlights two people with tech skills, and the diversity of their careers.

In today’s edition, we have stories from a entrepreneur, working mom, and designer who loves empowering other women to learn to code, and from a classically trained opera singer who found more similarities than you might think between her musical passions and newfound tech career.

Aditi Tandon, 40, New Jersey, USA

What you do and where do you work?

I am co-founder of Maroon Oak—a free online career networking platform for women. Our platform has been created, managed and funded on the lean start-up principle of do-it-yourself. This includes technology, design,social media, content, marketing and workshops.

How did you learn to code?

With zero exposure to coding, I started three summers ago on Khan Academy, and dabbled in JavaScript animation, HTML, and CSS. In the world of programming, I am a novice with a long way to go, but I have a foot in the door now, and onward is the only way forward. I also have an account with Coursera and am pursuing courses at my own speed.

Tell us about a favorite project you’ve worked on.

My first moving animation was a three seater tandem bike touring a city that I created with my two girls. I can still picture the glee when we looped it innumerable times as it moved through different city blocks. For a new coder, that particular moment when the backend logic and the front end visual come together, when the commands and numbers suddenly make sense—it’s priceless.

Were you always interested in tech? What sparked your interest?

I am and always was, a designer. Computer coding was an alien world that I had no need or desire to venture into. My interest began when I realised how learning programming takes you from the realm of consumer to creator, in almost every facet of a product, service or idea.

Can you give us a look at your career trajectory? Did you start out as a coder?

After starting out in the textile industry, I founded my first business at the age of 22, creating home textiles for babies and kids. Coding wasn’t even a word in my dictionary until a few years ago. Some time ago, I learned the history and dates of important technological events  in the past 50 years and was appalled that I had no idea at that simultaneous point in time about so many of them. The past few years have been phenomenal for the average Jane. Technology has enabled information at light speed.Today, with our Career Networking and business listing platform, I am in the business of enabling the careers of women, and this is a self-development passion I hope to share with them.

What are your outside-of-work tech interests?

I recently concluded as a volunteer/ facilitator for the newly launched Girls Who Code chapter in our town. While the deep technical details were handled by another experienced coder, my one definitive weekly job was to research and present (information about) successful girls and women coders in the world. Not only did I immensely enjoy this exercise of sharing success stories with the young, aspiring coders, I personally learnt a lot, too. And guess who designed their T-shirts?

How would you describe your work/life balance?

As a real world entrepreneur, a wife and a mother of two wonderful girls, I refuse to call it a balance. Some days there is great food, other days it’s frozen dinners. Some days I do everything with a song on my lips and on other days, it’s advisable to not come near me with a 10 foot pole. When you passionately believe in what you do, you learn to maneuver, demand, request and your family and circumstances eventually accommodate.

Do you have any advice for people who are considering learning to code and might have some apprehension?

I have often considered apprehension of the unknown a big deterrent to starting anything. My advice—don’t wait for it to come to you. Approach it head-on. Take baby steps and revel in the progress you make. Unless it’s a dire work necessity (which it might just become), reach out to a friend and do this together.

 

Jessica Lair, 27, North Carolina, USA

What you do and where you work?

I work as a Frontend Developer for LendingTree.

How did you learn to code?

I went to a full stack boot camp with Tech Talent South part-time in the evenings while working full-time during the day.

Tell us about a favorite project you’ve worked on.

My favorite project that I’ve worked on is the LendingTree consumer website. We’re currently in the process of moving our entire website to WordPress, and I was part of the team that built out the front end work.

Were you always interested in tech? What sparked your interest?

I wasn’t  always interested in technology. Since the age of 10, I always wanted to be an opera singer and started working with professional theatre companies. I got my bachelor’s degree in music performance with a focus on opera. It wasn’t until a year and a half ago that I decided I wanted to make a career change to technology. What sparked my interest was how creative the technology field is. It reminded me so much of music theory and how there isn’t one right way to create something.

I gravitated toward front end development because of the creativity and art aspect. I took a couple of free online courses just to make sure it was something I wanted to do and after my first online course, I fell in love with development. I stayed working full time in LendingTree’s contact center while putting myself through the boot camp. I was lucky enough to get a part time internship with LendingTree for development while working in the contact center, and was given an offer through that internship to come on full-time.

What are your outside-of-work tech interests?

I enjoy working out and weight lifting. I’m currently looking into doing a bikini competition next year so I’m working toward that goal.

How would you describe your work/life balance?

I love what I do so much that I don’t think of it as work. I’m constantly learning and being challenged, and I’m in such a positive and supportive work environment that I can’t bring myself to consider it work. It’s my hobby and my passion.

Do you have any advice for people who are considering learning to code and might have some apprehension?

Anyone can learn how to code. Literally, anyone is capable of learning it. You just have to put in the work and the time. And, if you aren’t sure what part of development you want to go into, there are so many opportunities that come from learning how to code. Just give it a try by starting a free online course and see if you like it. All it took was for me to see changes that were made to the face of a webpage from what I’d coded to fall in love with it.

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Get Our Free Ultimate Guide to Coding for Beginners

Make a plan for learning the tech skills you need to land a new job with this 60+ page FREE ebook!

Your email address will not be published.

Cancel

0 comments

Want more articles like this?

Sign up to get the most recent tech news, tips and career advice.