A web developer encourages young people to code

In today’s digital age it’s no surprise that many lucrative jobs require coding skills. The increased demand for skilled programmers has led to a push for schools to implement coding into their curriculum. In this segment we meet Hillary Lewandowsky from Detroit Michigan, who discovered her love of coding upon entering college and now encourages young people especially young women to code.

TRANSCRIPT

In today's Digital Age, it's no surprise that many lucrative jobs require coding skills.

The increased demand for skilled programmers has led to a push for schools to implement coding into their curriculum.

In this segment, we meet Hillary Lewandowski from Detroit, Michigan, who discovered her love of coding upon entering college and now encourages young people, especially young women, to give coding a try.

Commercial Progression is a company that builds websites for people, so a lot of what we do is higher education.

So a college will come to us and say, 'We want a website for our faculty to be able to enter in grades,' and then we'll sit down with them, gather all the information we need to build the website, and then build it for them.

My title is Drupal Developer, so I will use Drupal to CMS, which is a content management system, to build the skeleton of a website, and then I will code in a language called PHP to fill in all the custom requirements on the back end.

My job is a very typical example of what a Drupal Developer does, but there are a lot of other things that you can do.

You can specialize in working on the pretty front end, or you can specialize on working on the very technical back end of the website.

You can also be promoted to something called an Architect, and that's the one who decides how the website is structured.

One of the toughest parts of any development job is being able to understand what the client wants.

A lot of times they'll tell you what they think they want, and you go and deliver it to them, and that's not exactly what they needed.

So you need to be able to talk to people and figure out what they need versus what they want, and give them the combination of those two things.

Working at Commercial Progression is a lot of fun 'cause they understand that working as a developer is really tough and taxing.

You're doing a lot of thinking.

So there's a lot of opportunity to relax.

We watch television shows while we eat lunch together.

It is very normal in a coding job to be one of the few women, but it doesn't present any problems because men are very open to hearing new ideas, and that's one of the great things that a woman in a man's field can bring to the table is thinking about problems in a different way.

The industry is changing, and more and more women are getting jobs in coding, and I am seeing a lot more women, but it's not as many as I would like.

I think we have unintentionally discouraged a lot of girls from getting into careers in science from a young age, and I think we do need to turn it around and encourage them a lot more because I think at some point, they just get discouraged, and we need to keep up with that support so that they can reach their goals.

I didn't now that I wanted to work with computers and programming until about a month before I got into college.

I saw my dad doing a lot of side projects with websites, and I thought that looked really cool, so I just went for it.

Anyone who thinks that they are interested in trying out computer science, there are a lot of online tools to try and see if you like coding, to practice some coding samples.

There's a ton of websites out there.

Codecademy is a big one, where you can just take some little online classes, and it will teach you how to write, like, a little game, and that's a good way to figure out if you like coding in general, and just playing around with stuff in your free time and having a little side project is just the best way to prepare for majoring in computer science or getting a job coding.

I wasn't sure I liked to code until I was 18 years old.

I was really worried that I was gonna go into my college computer science courses and be the only person who's never really coded anything before, but that's not how college courses are structured.

They always explain everything from the beginning, so I didn't miss out on anything.

I wasn't behind the curve.

Everything worked out.

One of the great things about being a coder is that you don't need that traditional computer science education to code.

You don't have to go to college.

You can go and major in something else that you find interesting.

As long as you know how to break down a problem into little pieces, you know how to code.