By Maria Marroquin
East Los Angeles College Entrepreneurs Club hosted a coding workshop last Thursday night for female students.
The event was made possible through a joint partnership between Sabio, an organization that teaches coding through a 12-week program, and American Digital Diversity Initiative (ADDI), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing diversity to the tech world.
Maricela Ortiz member of the Entrepreneurs Club, helped organize the event and said the goal is to have it at ELAC on a monthly basis.
The workshop is for everyone, but its main focus is to help female students develop technological skills.
Dhara Patel, Sabio’s representative, started the workshop with an icebreaker activity with the attendees.
After introductions, she explained how coding works, the language used and she had students log into codeacademy.com, a website that helps beginners familiarize themselves with coding.
“I can’t wait to get home to get my hands on this website,” said ELAC student Lisette Ortiz.
Throughout the event, attendees often stopped to share stories of why this workshop called their attention.
ELAC student Griselda Ibarra said the financial aspect of the field is attractive to her, even though she is a child development major. “I think if you take the time to learn it, anyone can get to that level where (Patel’s) at. Anyone that decides to choose this as a career can make it,” she said.
Ortiz is a Computer Science major and said that in one of her classes, only four out of 30 students are women, which is why she’s trying to encourage more women to join the field.
She once gave up on computer science because she thought she wasn’t built for it, but after trying again, she went back to her original plan and can now make sense of what she once struggled with
She felt discouraged, and that’s something that happens to many women in the field, she said.
“I would recommend to go to events and meet people that have the career that you want. Because then you’ll find out that the challenges will be worth it,” Ortiz said. “There is no easy way to get here, but if it is something that you really want to do, you’ll get there. And eventually you will meet people that want to help you.”
Patel, a success story herself, shared how she came into the industry.
In 2015, she was introduced to coding by a friend and enjoyed it.
Patel graduated from Sabio’s bootcamp in 2016 and found a job as a software developer shortly after.
“At that time, I didn’t finish my four-year degree. I was going to school for finance and I couldn’t finish so I went back and took some courses in accounting. I had a job in taxes and accounting for about four years but I hated it. Then my friend introduced me to coding,” said Patel. “Within the first few days, I was like ‘This is it;’ this is what I’m going to do the rest of my life’.”
Peter Rojas, founder of ADDI said he moved to Los Angeles to start this non-profit with the purpose of bringing diverse youth into the tech industry.
“We are targeting high school students, specifically graduating seniors that maybe are not going to college right away. Maybe they want to see their options and venture out and see what they want to do with their life so why not get into the tech industry?,” said Rojas.
He said wants to help women, Latinos and minorities in general that have a disadvantage due to their diverse background and/or financial situation to get involved in the tech field and consequently be able to get a $70k entry-level job.
He said they’re partnering with the Entrepreneurs Club because tech isn’t going anywhere, it is constantly in our faces and to be an entrepreneur a person needs to have some kind of technological and programming knowledge.
ADDI is making this possible through scholarships.
“Now that I see this, I see it’s way easier than what I thought it was,” said ELAC student, Erica Sanchez.
The people in attendance hope it is possible to make this workshop happen once a month on campus.
If not, anyone interested in coding can visit Sabio’s website https://sabio.la/ and ADDI website https://www.digitalequity.tech/ for more information.