Public Radio International (PRI) shared a story earlier this week on The World around the dearth of women in technology. The story followed Neha Narula, who is part of the PDOS group at MIT CSAIL. Basically, she’s a Ph.D. who focuses on building systems, understanding how they perform and making them faster. Even with her level of expertise, Neha shares how she still feels alone as one of very few women in this male-dominated field.
There have been points in time when I thought I don’t want to do this anymore. This is hard. This is not enjoyable. I don’t like the interactions that I’m having. I don’t want to be in this environment anymore. But, I’m glad I stuck with it, just to be an example; to show that you can do it. It’s possible. It’s doable. And if you really like this stuff, you should do it. You shouldn’t give up.
Neha goes on to explain how one of her professors took the time to mentor her, which she says is absolutely the key to her success in pursuing a career in this field. That fact didn’t come as a surprise to us. At The Iron Yard, our entire model is built on mentorship. Every campus has unique mentor relationships with tech leaders in their cities, every class is exposed to a number of mentors, and our instructors are chosen because they have a true passion for mentoring each student at The Iron Yard.
We’ve had some brilliant women come through The Iron Yard. Meet Stephanie Lauziere, who came through one of our immersive courses in Charleston. After attending the College of Charleston for Exercise Science, Stephanie worked as a pharmacy tech but was unhappy. She quit her job, traveled the country, and realized that to find fulfillment she had to find her passion and build a career from there. In January 2015, after trying a few coding exercises and tutorials, she started The Iron Yard.
Everybody who was in coding seemed to love their job. I didn’t hear any complaints and it’s very thought provoking. The Iron Yard sounded too good to be true. It was better than all of the [educational] alternatives I looked at.
After she graduated, Stephanie’s experience with The Iron Yard and our mentorship model continued through her job search. Two months later, she was hired by ITN International in an entry-level developer role. She’s the company’s first and only female developer. In her spare time, she works with a woman-run startup called Bottle Bracket.
They were definitely there for guidance. I still went up to The Iron Yard at least a few times a week to work on portfolio and resumes. Sally was always there, so if I ever had any questions I could always ask her. Her recommendation is what ended up helping me get my job, besides my own skills…they were definitely an integral part of me getting my job.
Here’s the best part:
I feel like I have a lot of opportunity in front of me. And I think I’m well respected at the job that I have now. And they are very appreciative of my skills, and they have great expectations so that’s a nice feeling.
Congratulations, Stephanie. Stories like these are exactly why we love working at The Iron Yard.