Galvanize’s Women Graduates Reflect on Their Learning to Code Experience

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gSchool prides itself on the diverse makeup of its student body.  People come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds as well as gender and age.  Kinsey Durham was the TA for the Boulder class and we have hired our first female instructor, Kane Baccigalupi, for the upcoming gSchool program in San Francisco!  Additionally, women made up nearly 50% of the inaugural gSchool Boulder class. Our future programs will also include students from diverse backgrounds – not just women, but students of cultures as varied as the programming languages they will be learning.

As the first gSchool Boulder class approaches graduation, a few of the female students have reflected on where they were 6 months ago, what gSchool has meant to them and advice they have for other women interested in coding.

Emily Platzer

What were you doing before gSchool?

For the last 5 years I was at Fancy Tiger working the floor, teaching classes, designing patterns, and doing most of the back end management. Previous to that my jobs were: Student Relations at a survival School, 3D-Modeling Rigs offshore, Coral Reef Biologist and Scientific Diver, and Lab Manager and Research Assistant.

How has gSchool helped set you up for success as a developer?

Our teachers are actually in the industry and understand the needs of the industry in a developer. They are teaching us how to write well-crafted code, and also teaching us how to ship minimum viable product for efficiency. That balance is crucial.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

Read and code through a book like Learn to Program by Chris Pine. Attend meet-ups and try to find a mentor. Keep your programming fun and exciting, especially while you are learning. If you get stuck, ask for help, or take a break with a short little exercise to get your momentum back. And take coding breaks!

Peggy Sue Griffin

What were you doing before gSchool?

Prior to attending gSchool, I spent several years as Head Teacher at a language school in Japan. After returning to the U.S., I worked with the American Cancer Society educating cancer patients about treatment options and community resources.

How has gSchool helped set you up for success as a developer?

Initially, I tried finding community college courses to take, but available classes conflicted with my non-traditional work schedule. Eventually, I moved into self-paced learning at home while attending local meet-ups. However, this lacked the intensity I wanted.

gSchool uses experiential learning to expose us to practical knowledge and challenges faced by programmers in everyday work-life.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

Search out support from other women developers via local meet-ups.

Kaylee Edmonson

What were you doing before gSchool?

I was a surgical assistant for an oral surgeon for the past 4 years.

How has gSchool helped set you up for success as a developer?

gSchool is a program where you can, like me, have absolutely no background in the technology world but transition into it easily. What gSchool does is prepare you for the real world career. Computer Science degrees won’t get you the exposure to interview practice and networking in the field that gSchool does.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

Don’t be discouraged. It’s a bit of a roller coaster starting out. One day you’re confident in your knowledge and skills, the next you come across a problem that takes you hours and knocks that confidence down a few notches. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and just remember how far you’ve come.

Jenny Allar

What were you doing before gSchool?

I was videographer/editor working at a community college and doing freelance work. I also owned and operated a traveling photo booth with my wife.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

You are bright enough. You have what it takes. You are entitled to learn and love programming just as much as any male programmer you know. If the world of software development has any appeal to you, don’t put it off any longer; learn to program and rock your skills.

Bebe Peng

What were you doing before gSchool?

I was working as a nuclear engineer.

How has gSchool helped set you up for success as a developer?

It [has provided] me with the discipline and skills I need to be an effective developer. I knew I didn’t have the self discipline to learn by myself. [gSchool] lays out good practices of programming I would not have picked up on otherwise.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

If you want to learn, just do it.

Keri Clowe

What were you doing before gSchool?

Before gSchool, I was working for a non-profit managing and driving around a mobile dental clinic to nursing homes to get residents much-needed dental care.

How has gSchool helped set you up for success as a developer?

The hands-on nature of gSchool is extremely valuable to my future success. We were building things (albeit small things) from week one. The other aspect that I thoroughly enjoy is being able to have input into my education, it’s not just prescribed. Through bi-weekly retrospectives we are able to talk openly about what went well and what didn’t over the course of the past two weeks. Then, things actually change as a result of the feedback.

Any words of wisdom for other aspiring women developers?

1. Just do it! Don’t be intimidated by the industry or working with computers or anything else. I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t struggled with impostor syndrome at one point or another.

2. Ask questions. As soon as you stop asking, you stop learning and you stagnate. This is an industry where everything is constantly changing, so you have to stay on your toes.


Applications are currently being accepted for the upcoming gschool Full-Stack Software Developer Immersive Programs in Boulder and San Francisco. Learn more about the programs’ benefits, curriculum and application deadlines here.