I’m starting a mentorship program for underrepresented people in tech.  We all come from different backgrounds (I used to be a bartender, and I dropped out of college twice), but I think we have something new and fresh to bring to the tech industry.

I remember when I made the decision to quit my bartending job and focus on writing code full time.

It was 4 am, and I was standing behind the front bar of a busy Wicker Park club, wearing a blue wig.  The theme of the party I was bartending was “Fight or Flight”, so I was dressed like Brittany Spears from the toxic video.  The dance floor was packed with people dressed like pilots, flight attendants, boxers, and ninjas.

I felt like I understood some basics of Ruby, Python, and other languages that I’d been teaching myself, but something was missing. I didn’t know how to put it all together to write code like a professional would.

I turned around to my friend Shaun who was a software engineer and told him my plan.  To celebrate, he bought a round of shots for everyone who was standing at the bar and set up a time for us to go over my resume.

I ended up going to meetups, workshops, and bootcamps to see if they had what I was looking for.  MeetUps were a great way to work on smaller projects, but I wasn’t learning fast enough.  Workshops gave me a broad overview of one topic, but those weren’t deep enough.  At that time the first bootcamp had hit Chicago, but I didn’t want to pay the price tag for something I was already teaching myself.

I ended up finding a mentor at a tech consultancy whose primary form of education was through apprenticeship.  I got to learn Test Driven Development, design patterns, and practical application in Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, Clojure, Clojurescript, Java, Sinatra, and more languages and frameworks.

I learned best practices,  how to write clean code, readable, code, and more importantly how to think like a developer.

There was something that was missing from the program.  It’s something that you won’t learn at any bootcamp or university.

It was how to navigate the tech world as an underrepresented person in tech.

What happens when you’re the only woman on your team? Or when you find out that you are being paid less on your team for who you are? Or when someone makes an uncomfortable joke about your culture?

I want to teach you how to take your code to the next level by giving you fun, relatable projects that will challenge you mentally.  But I also want to teach you how to navigate the tech world as someone who will have an extra set of challenges, because you are different.

So, if you want to learn what to do technically to compete in this industry, and how to navigate it, apply for my mentorship program.

Applications open August 15th at 7:00 CDT.  You can apply here.


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