I Needed Some Help With My Little Sister, And I Found It Through Black Girls Code » VSB

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I Needed Some Help With My Little Sister, And I Found It Through Black Girls Code

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Teenagers are perplexing. There’s something about that combination of physicality, virility and utter lack of perspective can make them seem cold and unfeeling. Mean girls, bully boys and all permutations in between hide their former cuteness and potential behind a veneer clouded by social media and raging, swirling, gurgling hormones. But, alas I have two teenaged siblings. A brother and, yes, a sister.

Looking back on my formative years, I remember teenage girls existing. Objects of affection. Disinterested Classmates. Serial Whisperers. But I was not yet savvy enough to notice all the subtleties of their actions. The feints, the misdirections, the verbal inside out hesitation dribbles, the blatant trolling toward concerned family members.

A few friends who are now years removed from that base condition of adolescence warned me of the power that potential embarrassment holds over young ladies of a certain age, so I’ll leave my own sister out of this (mostly), but I needed help with, um, helping her. And allowing me to know her. So I turned to Black Girls CODE. If you aren’t hip, Black Girls CODE is an organization that is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, preparing them to occupy some of the 1.4 million tech jobs in the market, and helping me find out what my kid sister won’t take her buds out of her ear. (Oh, wait that’s embarrassing isn’t it, I’ll stop)

BGC’s latest hackathon in NYC allowed me get a close up look at how black girl magic, rather black girl scientific method, empowers young girls who may feel ignored by their school system or alienated in their communities. Girls need mentors, communities need support and it’s undoubtedly beneficial when youth can look to someone like them to bolster their inner resolve.

Tiana Kara, who handles strategic partnerships at BGC, gave me a little insight into how BGC is working to help girls of color triumph in the current social and professional landscape.

It can empower her where she needs to be empowered. Girls that attend our workshop that go on to work with other boys don’t shy off. Statistically, girls in groups with boys become shy and don’t speak up. Girls who attend our camps become leaders. She’ll definitely learn to speak up for herself.

Management of self image seems to be exponentially more important for teenagers. Flower crowns may be seemingly harmless but the proliferation of screen time has warped the value of self-esteem. Your “self” is your profile. Your image is you. A new school can’t recreate you. Better grades can’t change you. You is a record of events rather than a person. If I’m allowed to use my degree for a moment, one of the key components of Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema is that identity is formed in relation to who you see on the screen. In films, women’s bodies are often chopped into sexualized sections while protagonists and their agency are usually coded male. While Mulvey was pointing out how this dynamic effects women on the big screen the 70s, real time personalized negative commentary via Facebook or Snapchat has been proven to be a more insidious mental worm than the influence of mass media.

Empowerment is increasingly important when self esteem is under assault and our government appears to be exercising their open hostility toward vulnerable communities. BGC arms our girls with technical skills that can demystify the bevy of apps that dominate their young lives, the networking support to present them with opportunities they may have never thought possible, and the community access that gives parents, volunteers, and overly concerned siblings an accessible outlet to turn their concern into action.

Millennials get a harsh rap for their (or our) employment status, but they (or we) came into being at an interesting moment in time. Just in time for the internet to become a truly ubiquitous thing, but not in time for us to be groomed on how to understand and create careers from it. BGC is preparing girls to work in the new world and preventing them for being source material for season two of 13 Reasons Why. Tiana blessed me with a critical gem during our convo,

“Coding doesn’t just help with tech, it also helps you learn how to build. Step outside of the computer and focus on how something works. How is this built?

The communities, businesses, and families of the future are waiting to be built and it’s critical that the our young builders understand that process. It’s just a cherry on top of the sundae that the architects in charge smell like freshly pressed coconut oil and rock Hillman college sweaters. It doesn’t matter if your fluency in CSS, Javascript and Ruby on Rails is akin to badly prepared American tourists on the hip flight to Havana, the women of BGC speak coding languages and common american teenage angst. If you live in or near major metro and you’re looking to find a tech program for your girl, check out Black Girls CODE. Even if STEM isn’t her primary interest, she’ll learn how to build from women who’ve built themselves and their communities, and a boy free sabbatical wouldn’t hurt either. (Embarrassment quota met and succeeded.)

Brandon Harrison

Brandon lives in LA and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you.

  • kingpinenut

    There’s also Fullstack Academy’s Grace Hopper program – https://www.gracehopper.com

    While not necessarily focused on women of color, I’ve heard positive feedback

  • Rewind4ThatBehind

    The future is going to be so awesome when every movie & tv show featuring hackers & government agencies is just filled with a room full of Black women quickly processing results.

  • I love the concept of BGC and the push for visibility for more POC in certain fields.
    My niece is into architecture and robotics, and coding is a part of her school’s curriculum.

    What a time to be alive!

  • AKA The Sauce

    I have a strange feeling that this next POC generation will do GREAT things.

    • The next?

      Nicca I’m here now!

      Lol

  • KB

    This is dope. I have two nieces, aged 17 and 7, and I would love for them to pursue careers in the STEM field. I will definitely have to bring this up with their mothers.

  • AKA The Sauce

    So…Nicki Minaj will pay your student loans if you have a 4.0. My only question is….WHO HAS A 4.0 AND HAS STUDENT LOANS?

    • Zil Nabu

      Plenty of people. Money isn’t guaranteed, even with good grades.

      • AKA The Sauce

        Really? How?

        Edit: I forget non athletic scholarships don’t cover housing and what not….carry on.

        • Zil Nabu

          There are schools that don’t give merit based scholarships. Also, not everyone knows how to play the outside scholarship game. They may get $1500 here or even $10,000 there. When tuition alone is $56,000 that doesn’t really cover a person.

          • AKA The Sauce

            True….they need a tutorial

            • Zil Nabu

              But the things is there are only 24 hours in a day. If you’re a 4.0 student then you’re likely putting in the time to get those grades. There are a lot of scholarships out there but most are for piddling amounts. I had a full ride to grad school (no 4.0) and I still had to take out loans. Ain’t nobody got time to be applying to fiftyleven scholarships trying to cover tuition, room, board, books, transportation, etc.

              • Glo

                And I know some people that took out student loans instead of getting a job because they literally didn’t have time to maintain their grades and work.

                • Darkchloe144

                  Exhibit A.

      • miss t-lee

        Exactly…lol

    • Darkchloe144

      Also, is you talking about current students, does it matter? I mean help class of 2016 out! Please…

    • I did. For four semesters. Does smart = rich?

      • AKA The Sauce

        But there are so many scholarships…

        • I had several. And the university still wanted their money.

          • AKA The Sauce

            But a 4.0….that just seems un-real that your school wouldn’t take care of you.

            • Scholarships are based on academic performance before you enter the university and contingent upon maintenance of a certain GPA while there, or at least that’s how it was at my school.

              It’s a little far-fetched to assume that if you get good grades, you’re automatically given a free ride.

              • Glo

                Yeah, and depending on how expensive your school is, scholarships may only cover so much.

                • LMNOP

                  Even if they cover your entire tuition, if you live on campus you’re probably taking out loans for room and board.

              • KeyBrad

                And the competition is fierce. I had some scholarships, but not many.

      • NonyaB?

        “Does smart = rich?”

        Nope, not necessarily. Ask Richard Branson, whose teacher said something like he’d either end up a thief or in jail. And we know where he is today.

    • Valerie

      Oh.

    • IDontKnowAnyMore

      I graduated with a 3.7, but I have a lot of debt. Reason why: I left one school for another, and another. And lost scholarships and grants along the way. It happens, especially now that I have to ask every person I connect with how are they paying for their degree.

    • Alessandro De Medici

      Dammit, 3.97 GPA for IT.

      Gaddamn A- in databases!!!

    • Spicy Kas

      Not me. I was about a 2.3 undergrad and slightly redeemed myself in grad school with a 3.8.

      • IDontKnowAnyMore

        Was it difficult for you to get into certain grad school programs with your undergrad GPA?

        • Spicy Kas

          My first round of applying I got denied by everyone. Ended up getting into Cal State L.A. after calling them to plead my case. Was told that if I completed some additional undergrad courses with a minimum gpa, I would be allowed into their MBA program. I pulled straight A’s and applied to UCLA’s program for people working full-time. The year I did at Cal State LA, was donated to the Gods. Basically messing around as an undergrad coat me not just the year I did, but a lot of previous years because I knew how hard it would be to get accepted into a decent grad school.

          Final piece to the story, the only reason I even got into Cal State LA was because I scored in the top 4% when I took the GMAT. My life has been a series of lucky breaks which is why I call BS when people claim pure meritocracy.

          • Zil Nabu

            That GMAT score can save your a$$. I know it saved mine. It also helped that I applied to grad school almost a decade after undergrad. Putting time between your grad school apps and your undergrad transcript is a good strategy. They don’t hold it against you as much.

            • Spicy Kas

              Meh, I was a government employee. The crap was all uphill for me. Admittedly my own fault.

        • AKA The Sauce

          YES!!!!!!!!!!!

      • PinkRose

        That was my undergrad GPA too, I’ve come a LONG f’in way, ROTFL!!

      • AKA The Sauce

        So it’s not just me

        • Spicy Kas

          I used my undergrad years to blossom socially. Sacrifices had to be made.

          • Cheech

            You really are secretly Hitch, right?

          • AKA The Sauce

            Okay…I sometimes feel bad because I had to go the same route because I didn’t really care in undergrad. I just wanted to well…have fun

    • PinkRose

      I do, where do I send my $hit?

  • Zil Nabu

    As a non technical person in the technology industry I always try to stress to people that you don’t need a CS degree to get into the field. I think people get intimidated by tech and there are so many ways to touch the industry without knowing a lick of code or even what the heck a server is (I know that I sure don’t). Coders can build as much as they want, but they always need someone to sell it and count the beans.

    • AKA The Sauce

      Facts

    • Alessandro De Medici

      Hey, did you get my email?

      • Zil Nabu

        I did. It requires thought to reply and I wanted to give it my full attention after work.

        • Alessandro De Medici

          Nah that’s perfect…please take your time, just wanted to know you got it.

    • I’m calling partial BS, and here’s why. Yes, you don’t have to have a technical background to get into tech. That is literally true. However, what I am noticing is that they’re using Black and Brown bodies are marketing and business types while the Real Work ™ gets done by White guys. I’m reticent to talk business face to face with my consulting side hustle because they think I’m the sales guy, and I have to be like NOPE.

      What I would suggest if you don’t want to go the full tech route is to take those tech classes for non-techies. Even if you’re just the marketing or business type, you need to be able to understand intelligently what the technology does to do your job and communicate with operations. Otherwise, you’ll be lost.

      • Alessandro De Medici

        It’s a mix honestly.

        The cap for earning income is higher for Sales and Marketing than it is for developers, though jr-mid-level is really high. That’s why a lot of people, especially in companies like Oracle, eventually move from Dev to Sales (such positions require you to have experience in development.)

        From what I’ve gathered talking to mentors and researching on the field, yes, it helps in the long run to learn code and the rest, but it’s not necessarily a requirement, as much as keeping tabs on the changes in the industry.

        • Zil Nabu

          Exactly. My point is don’t let NOT knowing how to code keep you from the industry. The stock compensation alone is worth it.

        • MsSula

          Exactly. See my reply above. As a developer I made decent money but when I switched to Business Analyst my salary doubled.

      • Zil Nabu

        The CEO of Apple is a marketing guy. Tim Cook is a Fuqua MBA. Before Satya Nadella, Microsoft was run by Steve Ballmer, a marketing guy. There is more than one way to skin a cat and not so quietly kept salespeople make more money than developers.

        • Cheech

          That’s been true since IBM days, before there was an Apple or Microsoft.

      • Valerie

        I disagree. Mostly it kind of sounds a little elitist to say these companies are hiring black people for diversity reasons just because they don’t have a tech based degree. That being said, I don’t give a damn what these non black men think of me. I earned my spot and I know my ish. Try being a black woman in tech and listen what they say behind your back, not for the faint-hearted.

        I also don’t like how you made the non tech roles not seem like “real work”. It is. Business analysts, project managers and other non technical based roles all have their place in our industry because I sure don’t want to do what they do on a daily basis. I’m a server administrator and freelance time web developer btw.

        • Zil Nabu

          Tech sales is shark infested water. I’ll be damned if someone tells me it’s not real work. We don’t hit our numbers we not only don’t get paid, we can be out on the street. I’ve seen whole marketing teams let go because a product bombs or a PR snafu happened. It’s not for the faint of heart at all.

      • Spicy Kas

        Any chance your West Indian heritage has you a bit biased?

        • Alessandro De Medici

          hehe

          • Spicy Kas

            Like Nigerians don’t have the same issue.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Oh who you tellin lol

        • PinkRose

          Mine does, lol!!

        • Perhaps. How would it bias me though? I’m just curious.

          • Spicy Kas

            What you see as prestigious and less prestigious roles. Most West Indian men I know think of engineers/engineering as the top of the heap.

      • Mr. Mooggyy

        One word, certifications! I’ve seen people with certs get picked over those with degrees! A degree shows you are competent and can pay attention for 4-5 years. A certification says you have the technical proficiency to accomplish the tasks at hand, in real life situations. A degree is important, but certifications will get you far as well.

      • Cheech

        Interestingly, on the flip side, everyone also needs basic business courses, to understand the hustle no matter what they do.

        My heroes are musicians. As I heard one of them say, it doesn’t matter if all you’re ever going to do for the rest if your life is play a guitar. If you’re going to play it for money, you’re a businessman. And you need to understand that world.

        • From my tech transfer practice, I understand that all too well. There’s only so many ways you can say “this is cool, but How the heck is this going to make any money???!!!”

          • Zil Nabu

            That’s why Twitter is circling the drain.

      • PinkRose

        Great response that will likely NOT resonate.

    • kingpinenut

      Actually, sometimes it’s even better if you don’t code. Non coders bring a different perspective to the process that is immensely valuable.

    • Glo

      I also know someone who was once a chef, and then taught herself how to code for fun. She’s a software engineer for a big tech company now.

      And almost every tech company I know hires teachers, writers, artist, photographers, etc. There is so much room for softer skills in tech.

      • Question, since you do diversity hiring. I know a lot of those non-traditional hires tend to be Whiter than even the normal marketplace. How can you source those types of people in a diverse way and don’t get them run out of the door?

        • Glo

          It’s really, really, REALLY hard. We have to open our sourcing efforts to schools, organizations, and meetups that were previously untapped by our company. We have to be open to career paths that look different from what we’re used to but have similar skills to what we’re looking for. Many people with non-traditional backgrounds excel at our interviews, but getting them through the door for that initial interview is a battle in and of itself.

          Additionally, most of the people I work with experience some form of imposter syndrome. A lot of my role is explaining to people that YES, we want to interview you because you’re qualified. I often have to set up champion calls with other diverse employees to help candidates understand that yes, I look like you, speak like you, and come from a similar background as you, and I’m growing here. When people come here to interview, I try to make sure that not every face they see is a white or Asian dude (at the very least, I’ll come and greet them myself).

          Personally, I am a black woman with big hair, 3 nose rings, a bunch of other visible piercings and tattoos, and a love of brightly colored clothing. I always make sure not to mute myself when I am meeting new candidates (or at a tech networking event) so that people can understand that I can be black and feminine AF and still have a place here.

          • PinkRose

            YOU are RARE!! Bravo!!

            • Glo

              Thank you. :)

          • IDontKnowAnyMore

            This is really great info. Not just for topic, but overall. I see so many people overlooked because they don’t have the “on-the surface” background so to speak. Organizations can find gems in various ways.

            • Glo

              This happens a lot with veterans, too. Coding for 5 years in the military is not seen in the same way as coding for 5 years at a major tech company, even though they could be doing the exact same work.

              • kingpinenut

                Military ain’t about that innovation life…they about cappin ayus 25/8 so…. different goals, different mind sets

                • Glo

                  That may be true, but tech companies should be embracing a wider range of backgrounds in general. Not everyone can or should be a 20 something with a startup background.

                  The fact is that you’re going to want veterans to use your products, too, and the best way to get their input is to hire veterans.

                  • kingpinenut

                    No disagreement at all. I think humanity has no real idea what the future of technology will become because 4/5 of the worlds population has been excluded.

                    Once the rest of the world joins in….holy sheeeeet – the change will be unimaginable.

                    #CommunityIsLife

          • kingpinenut

            Glo you ain’t neva lied.

    • Valerie

      I agree. You don’t need a CS degree to start in technology mines was in Business. One of my friends was in Fine Arts and he is a PHP developer. Some managers I worked for didn’t even have a degree, they taught themselves to code or to program and took a chance.

    • PinkRose

      Covering all your bases ain’t NEVA hurt anyone, especially a Black woman. I think it’s critical especially if you aspire to leadership positions, to know at least a little something about what the people working under you do.

      • Zil Nabu

        So true. I definitely encourage us to learn the technical and building aspect of the industry. I’m simply saying that’s not all there is and don’t let it intimidate you from trying to get in if that’s not your skillset.

    • MsSula

      Even better a coder with a business mentality. That’s how my salary doubled after merely 3 years of experience. I was the link between business and the engineers.

      • Zil Nabu

        If you do sales, I’m sure we’d hire you in a heartbeat.

        • Spicy Kas

          She is not stateside.

          • Zil Nabu

            We hire everywhere.

            • Spicy Kas

              Cool. Now starts trying to figure out who you work for.

              • Zil Nabu

                If you think hard you can figure it out in a matter of minutes.

                • Spicy Kas

                  Did you not see my undergrad gpa?

                  • Zil Nabu

                    Duly noted. Please don’t hurt yourself.

                    • Spicy Kas

                      Much more realistic

        • MsSula

          This is the next step for me. Be client facing and/or at a strategic level. So sales might be my next move.

          I am not stateside unfortunately. ?

    • InezPerez

      YAS! So much this.

      I’m a marketing coordinator for a tech company and I love it. Even though I don’t know code now, I’m going to take the opportunity to take a few HTML and CSS classes.

    • “M”

      So many the techdudes with whom I work disdain the whole “knowledge of the market so your Miracle Software will sell” set of concepts. And don’t get me started on the way they snarl and scrap over IP issues.

      Where are you that such skills are respected and not ridiculed, if I may inquire?

      Travailles-tu dans un autre pays maintenant? J’ai entendu Monsieur Le Président-Élu Macron dit que des compétences spéciales seront les bienvenues dans sa France.

      Y si estuviera trabajando con el Presidente Nieto en México por ejemplo, tampoco me quejaría.

  • nice!

  • Dougie

    Coding should be a required class for high school students.

    • Spicy Kas

      I don’t know if I agree.

      • Dougie

        I’m currently in a job search, and about half of the jobs I’m looking at say that coding is a recommended skill set, and it’s only going to become more prevalent. I think coding and financial literacy should be added to all school curriculums. Coding will become a basic skill sooner rather than later.

        • Alessandro De Medici

          I’m guessing a lot of the jobs you are looking for require SQL?

          • Dougie

            Yup, I kept seeing that over and over again.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Lol, I don’t think most of in programming consider that coding, but yeah SQL is pretty much the 21st Century version of Excel. So I can see your perspective now.

              • Dougie

                well that’s my point. it seems you’re more advanced in programming and you took the baseline for granted. That’s a skill that I don’t have at this point. I’m sure it’s not hard to learn at all, but imagine learning in high school.

        • Spicy Kas

          I’m finance/real estate and it is not something we care about.

          • Dougie

            I’m in finance too. You should take a search around your available jobs on your intranet and check out how many jobs are wanting folks with SQL experience.

            • Spicy Kas

              I’m not saying there isn’t a demand for it at my firm since there is a demand for everything at my firm. However it’s not a skill that would be sought after in any of the roles I have held.

              • Dougie

                In the next 3 to 4 years, every analysis job will require it. To date in my 10 year career it hasn’t been required, but now I’m seeing it pop up in plenty of different job descriptions. I think I’ll be fine going forward because of my age and my skill set – much like it seems you are – but I see it becoming a problem for the next generation coming up if they don’t know how to code. That analyst job that we had will have that extra barrier to entry.

          • LMNOP

            We don’t care about this in daycare either, not that many people aspire to have their kids work in a daycare, but still.

        • nillalatte

          Coding what tho? If you’re in finance, that could mean inputting information rather than developing software.

          • Dougie

            Yup. That counts too.

            But more specifically, it’s learning systems and being able to create and communicate in those systems that are being used. It’s basically learning a new language. I’d argue it’s more important than learning a foreign language that you’re going to forget the second you graduate.

        • Spicy Kas

          Let me try this again since I got my azz handed to me on the coding response. I think teaching financial literacy is overrated. I can sum it up in one sentence for the layperson. Spend less than you make.

          • MsSula

            Teaching is more than giving a definition though. It’s about providing tools and methods for the person to be able to redo what they learned without you there.

            Or else reading would have been summarized to teaching the alphabet and saying basta.

            • Spicy Kas

              Nuccahs is coming for me today like they don’t know who I am. My name is my name.

              • AzucarNegra

                slim shady

                • Spicy Kas

                  Marlo Stanfield, The Wire

              • MsSula

                Best answer ever. LMAO.

          • Dougie

            lol if only it were that simple.

            However, I’m with you. I think that’s an important lesson that isn’t as easy for some as it seems. But learning about credit, learning about opening bank accounts and direct deposit vs cashing checks, learning about CDs and interest bearing accounts, monthly budgeting and saving, etc. is a good start for a high school to implement. Especially since a lot of the kids that need this type of schooling already have jobs well before they graduate high school.

            • Spicy Kas

              Five things that my country azz father taught me that have worked for me in life:
              – Spend less than you make
              – Pay your bills on time
              – Don’t use a credit card (he now has one himself)
              – Be a man of your word
              – If your man enough to do the crime, be man enough to take the punishment

              • Dougie

                Pops seems like a good man! I’ll certainly try to instill that in my son also!

                • Spicy Kas

                  Not so good that we didn’t square off in the front yard once, but I wouldn’t trade him.

                  • Dougie

                    LMAO I think that comes with the territory tho. Respect!

              • miss t-lee

                Man, if this don’t sound just like my Pops and my late grandfather.

                • Spicy Kas

                  Country folk all learned from the same one page book.

                  • miss t-lee

                    I’d reckon so…lol

      • NonyaB?

        There are so many basic tasks in non-coding jobs where you benefit from previous exposure to coding and are able to o a better job faster. E.g. research, marketing and stats related jobs – the key difference between how fast you can pull out interesting analyses and how diverse the insights are is often how well you can mine the data.

        • Spicy Kas

          But there are so many jobs that aren’t tech related. I’m not saying coding shouldn’t be offered, just that I don’t think it should be a requirement.

          • Cheech

            See my response above. It doesn’t just teach coding, it teaches thinking.

            As someone who is grateful his dad forced him to take typing (a non-thinking critical skill), I will be signing on with Dougie and Nonya.

            • Spicy Kas

              I agreed with you elsewhere before I agreed with Nonya. My original response to her was that I would only accept that conclusion from a white guy because your ice water is colder and your Cadillacs are longer.

              • Cheech

                Well damb!

                • NonyaB?

                  Luckily for him, I didn’t see that response! Or you’d be pouring out some liquor for @disqus_NauO1vWEEq:disqus by now.

          • NonyaB?

            Do you know how many non-tech jobs (including parts of your field RE/Finance) where it makes a difference. Just like how you can use the logic from decision tree in statistics to problem solve in other areas, coding is fundamentally problem solving – you can often use the thinking framework and/or the tools elsewhere.

            So many people don’t realize how it can accelerate their tasks in X job, that’s why early exposure should be a requirement – find out early what it means and whether you want to do more in it (as a major) or not.

            • Spicy Kas

              If you tell me coding teaches thinking then I will agree.

              • NonyaB?

                Kas: Coding teaches thinking. Capice?

                • Cheech

                  I feel like i said this somewhere ….

                  • NonyaB?

                    LOL. Kas just wanted to hear the words again, in so many words. He needs to hear the message hammered 3X for it to sink in.

                • Spicy Kas

                  Ok, you don’t lose.

                • LMNOP

                  I never knew how to spell “capeesh”

                  • NonyaB?

                    It’s also spelt as “capisce”.

                    • LMNOP

                      The more you know…

          • LMNOP

            Kids learn all kinds of stuff that many of them won’t use again though.

      • miss t-lee

        I don’t either.

    • Alessandro De Medici

      Nah…

      Look in 10-20 years, machine learning is going to change the entire nature of programming and reduce the amount of code people write.

      Want to make classes required, require students to understand probability and statistics.

      Don’t code, unless you have a passion or interest in it.

      • Dougie

        what good is statistics if you can’t present the data the way that companies want you to? Every statistics job is looking for coders right now. They go hand in hand at this point.

        • Alessandro De Medici

          Coding is valuable, don’t get me wrong.

          But if you have a master’s degree in statistics, you’re going to be more in demand than a person with a phd in computer science, since a lot of the big data coming from all the new technological advancements, require people who have foundations in statistics.

          It’s easier to train statisticians to code, than it is to train programmers to learn statistics and probability. Plus, you can also get a job in finance too with skills in probability and statistics too.

          • Dougie

            Nah, I hear you. I don’t disagree.
            I’m with you on stats vs coding today, but I think you’re looking at things as they are right now. I’ve been looking for statistical analysis jobs in the last 3 months and each of them wanted somebody who knows how to code. I do believe it’s easier for me to learn to code than a coder learning how to analyze statistics; but I believe that coding will be a general skill that is required soon. Not just for stats, but for communications, for financial analysis and administration, for HR administration, healthcare billing, all types of things. We see lots of brick and mortar stores like Macy’s, Bebe, Sears, etc are closing stores and becoming online stores. It’s just my belief that it will be a baseline skill sooner rather than later. Coding will be the new retail in the next 15/20 years.

          • BlackMamba, Achexual

            To be fair a Phd in comp sci isn’t used for much but teaching.

            • NonyaB?

              Wrong: see my reply to Aless

          • NonyaB?

            Nope: Data Sci/stats gigs are hot but right now, Comp Sci PhDs can write their own ticket to Google/FB/Amzn/MSFT/Apple/[insert other sizable tech co]. Heck, the shortage is such that these companies creating more research fellowships/special internship programs in an attempt to snåtch such people before they graduate! I see enough announcements for them.

            • BlackMamba, Achexual

              Good post. Thanks for educating me.

            • Alessandro De Medici

              Hmmm, I’ll look into it. I know Google hires a lot of PhDs.

            • I think any of us can write our own ticket. There are only 4 of us. If we combine the Srats/CS/Math/DataSCi/Engineering Phds now there is 5 of us.

              I don’t think it makes much difference. Sadly.

              • NonyaB?

                What d’you mean by only 4/5 of us?

                • I was tryna make a joke about the teeny tiny population of Black grads in these fields.

                  If u we were to find the number of Black Women. And even further. The # of American Black women graduating this year. In any of these fields. I doubt u get double digits.

                  I volunteer at Howard’s math department. They are getting single digit math undergrads next month. And I think there is an American one.

                  At my graduation. My parents were more impressed by the fact I was the only American. And surprised. I wasn’t making Black history. I was making friggin American history.

                  There are more companies than there are of us. I think we’re statistical unicorns.

                  • NonyaB?

                    Gotcha.

      • Dougie

        But I do think that statistics and statistical analysis can take the place of calculus in HS. So I agree with you there.

        • I agree. I use statistics WAY more in my job than I do calculus.

      • Zil Nabu

        Yep. I just told a student the other day that the money and demand is in data science. If you can work with data and pull out meaningful, actionable insights you’re worth your weight in gold and companies will pay you as such.

        • Alessandro De Medici

          If I could go back, I’d have tried to get a degree in actuarial science.

          The possibilities…lord.

          • Dougie

            actuarial science gets the immediate bread after college, but they plateau early. Kinda like engineering.

          • AKA The Sauce

            OMG….an insurance company would pay you a butt load

          • Zil Nabu

            My baby brother is considering getting a Masters in Actuarial Science. I told him to go for it. That’s money in his pocket when he finishes.

          • MsSula

            That was my actual plan, get an undergrad degree in Math and then go into actuarial science for a master’s in Actuarial science. Then they offered a scholarship for Comp Sci and a laid out plan to stay employed? I jumped right in.

            But my natural disposition for understanding data, seeing patterns etc… Is helping right now in the realm of Big Data and IoT.

            • Zil Nabu

              Companies haven’t even begun to figure out IoT. With cloud computing that industry alone will be billions in revenue very soon (or in the distant future).

              • MsSula

                Yup! Trying to position myself right in the middle of this wave. I am on the continent that is the farthest down the totem pole in terms of ” classic” technology, so it might actually be a great testing ground to jump ahead of the cue/line and become good at it like we did for Mobile money.

        • PinkRose

          Got recruited for a position in Silicon Valley starting at 160K not long ago, so the pay is on point.

          But word to the wise, Data Science is NOT for everyone.

        • Old Head

          preach

      • PinkRose

        I code in R, which also does my stats analysis.

        And I do matchine learning in MATLAB, which also requires coding.

        Take home message. Learn to code, I don’t see it being a wasted skill in the near future.

        • nillalatte

          R is certainly not a wasted skill and pretty rare. I was in a R user group for a while. I don’t use it enough nor have the time to develop it currently, but in the future… :)

          But, I also have to justify the learning of R for a position I would enjoy. Right now, head down, and studying continues.

          • PinkRose

            People I know on the net, swear by Python over R. I used Python in Bionformatics/genomics spaces, but don’t know enough about it yet to comment on its utility in Stats.

            • nillalatte

              LOL.. you’re talking my language, but my skill set has not developed there yet. I’ve taken one in the series of nine Data Scientist classes from Johns Hopkins through Coursera (before I enrolled in my current BS program). I also did an intro to Python and it did seem ‘easier’ than R. But, R, from the many different open packages to choose from, depending on the output desired, seems more robust. Just my general take on them.

      • Spicy Kas

        Thank you

      • AKA The Sauce

        Omg…Stat will never go away

      • nillalatte

        “machine learning is going to change the entire nature of programming and reduce the amount of code people write.”

        And, this is a one scary thought because I’ve seen a few TED conferences that just blew my mind! I am very apprehensive with Robotics. So much good can be used for so much bad in the wrong hands (fingers).

        • Spicy Kas
          • nillalatte

            TL:DR. LOL I will later, but the first couple of paragraphs… yeah. ;)

        • Alessandro De Medici

          It’s going to happen.

          Transitions are tough, new jobs and markets will be created; but yeah the transition is going to be rough. It’s why I pay so much attention to what’s going on in Japan, they’re way ahead of us when it comes to robotics.

        • LMNOP

          I see how kids are with new technology, and I always think “if we are ever taken over by robots, it’s going to be toddlers running those robots.”

          • AzucarNegra

            Do you read comics?

      • miss t-lee

        I agree with this.

      • Yeah coding is like how everyone wanted to learn Cantonese a couple years ago. Like you’re way behind that curve. Not that you shouldn’t learn if you’re passionate about it, but you are waaay behind the curve if you are trying to get the edge.

    • MsCee

      My daughter is in Kindergarten and it’s part of the curriculum. Inside the classroom and outside the classroom. They have PE, Music, Coding, Robotics, Art and Enrichment rotating each week.

      • Dougie

        that’s AMAZING! What kind of school is it?

        • MsCee

          Its a STEM focused school. For elementary kids.

          • Dougie

            that’s amazing. My son is 2 so I’m not there yet, but pretty soon I’ll be looking into his schooling. I definitely want to start him down that path. Hopefully get him into an immersion school also so he can be bilingual.

            • LMNOP

              I wish there were more bilingual schools in the US.

              • Dougie

                I live in the northeast, there are a lot here… but like everything else they’re usually expensive. I foresee some frustrating and expansive research in my immediate future.

                • LMNOP

                  Oh right, I wasn’t even thinking of private schools.

          • PinkRose

            Yassssss!!

          • LMNOP

            How cool. That’s great for kids to be able to learn that stuff when they’re that young.

      • IDontKnowAnyMore

        Wow. That’s amazing!

      • AzucarNegra

        That’s a very advanced school your daughter is at ?

        • MsCee

          It is! But it’s amazing. They also make the kids grow the food they eat in the cafe in their own garden. So my 5 year old is hella food boogie….always regulating what I cook at home. Lol

    • NonyaB?

      Yep, coding is the new typing. The exposure is necessary for some basic tasks and to get better sense of what out there. Those who get really into it can go further into related majors.

      • PinkRose

        IMHO, coding IS typing, just on an intellectual level, lol!!

        • NonyaB?

          Hah! #Turrible

      • Cheech

        It also teaches logic, foresight, planning/execution. Having to plan a process, flowchart the algorithm, code it, run it, and debug it is invaluable learning experience even if you never do it again in real life.

        Shoot, just the experience of having a machine do EXACTLY what you told it to do, and figuring out why that did or didn’t work … I can’t wait for my kid to get involved in this.

        • NonyaB?

          Exactly! You aren’t learning coding per se but problem solving. So many people miss this.

        • Spicy Kas

          Sounds like putting together if/then statements in Excel

          • Mr. Mooggyy

            Those can be a bytch! Getting the formula to do what you want it to do (after putting in work) requires a celebratory drink sometimes!

            • Spicy Kas

              Just think it out. We had an in house spreadsheet that me and another guy kept adding formulas too. Eventually the head of the real estate section had them all stripped out because the underwriters could come up with the correct information without understanding what they were doing. Now I get models with a bunch of stuff hard coded and no flexibility and I just shake my fucking head.

          • MsSula

            The SQL Dougie is talking about is just a better and more flexible (and just overall better) way of doing excel spreadsheets.

            I understand why business people like Excel so much, but SQL Analysis tool is like Excel on steroids.

            • Zil Nabu

              It’s crazy what you can do in SQL: Machine Learning, IOT, Advanced Analytics, Predictive Analytics…the list just goes on and on. It’s a beast.

              • Spicy Kas

                Sounds super duper exciting, but I’m gonna pass.

      • AKA The Sauce

        And it’s way more fun than typing….kill two birds with one stone.

    • cedriclathan

      It should be but the software industry doesn’t want too many people knowing how to code. Imagine the people defeating passwords for purchasing software. I don’t code, but, I’ve kracked a few applications in my day. Just have to be able to recognize patterns. Imagine how much faster I could have done it if I knew what I was doing.

    • It is in Arkansas. We want to become Silicon Farm.

    • As a teacher and soon to be former college counselor, I will advise heavily about pushing STEM exclusively to our children.

      The problem running the world major primarily in the humanities. It’s great to work with data and machines and tech. But if you cannot build a narrative around how it works, or explain why people should invest, or how it builds on past human experience, you’re dead in the water. The humanities and social science teach this best.

      My brother’s background as a psychology major, and his ability to challenge his interviewers biases consistently during his interview (alongside his coding knowledge) got him the job at Google.

  • Michelle is my First Lady

    I love this concept! Awesome article.

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