Where am I on The Coding Ladder? And how did I get here?
This year, I heard Jim McKelvey – co-founder of Square and LaunchCode – speak at Start-Up City: Miami and eMerge. At each conference, he described the same problem: companies have unfilled jobs because there is a shortage of people with the necessary technical skills to do those jobs. Not only is the traditional university education model cost-prohibitive and time-consuming, he said. But it is too often ineffective. And it excludes too many people – potential superstars – from this ladder of opportunity.
To be sure, I was on a ladder – but had never coded before. My Mom was an elementary educator; she taught me how to learn, inspired me to love learning, and modeled how to help others selflessly and with passion. My Dad was an advertising sales executive; he taught me how to cultivate relationships and imparted his drive, competitive spirit, and talent for playing music by ear. At 17, I left for college at George Washington University, where I worked as the department’s senior logic tutor and ultimately graduated with a degree in philosophy and public affairs. After graduation, I worked in the fields of invasive species and marine biology in Hawaii and Florida, respectively. Still drawn to the law and logic, my love of learning took me to the University of California, Davis, School of Law (King Hall) and then back to Florida, where I have worked as a litigator since 2005.
But in that moment at Start-Up City, as Jim McKelvey described the qualities and interests of people who tended to love and excel in those waiting-to-be-filled technical jobs, it hit me that he was describing me. And it hit me that everything in my life to that point had led me there. So when he said at eMerge that Harvard and Prof. David Malan’s famed course, CS50, would support an in-person class in Miami, I made the next right move and I signed up that night.
And now I’m here. I’m starting this blog after completing CS50. I don’t know what the future holds. None of us does. But I’m on The Coding Ladder. And I’m making the next right move.