Tech has gotten a reputation as something of a boys’ club. Women trying to enter the industry can end up facing unique hurdles because of their gender, and sometimes the challenges don’t only arise once they land a job. Sometimes, even the process of getting and demonstrating tech skills can be affected by bias.
But there is one way women can maximize their potential for landing a job in tech while minimizing their exposure to sexism. There’s nothing better than a coding bootcamp for women who want to break into tech. Here are five reasons why.
1. They’re flexible
Implicit throughout our society is the idea that women should bear the brunt of unpaid labor. From childcare to cooking to cleaning to looking after sick family members, women end up doing four hours of unpaid work per day compared to men’s two and a half hours. This imbalance of care work is all tied up in “traditional” gender roles. And while it’s unquestionably valuable to interrogate this institutionalized sexism, the aspect we’re interested in right now is this disparity's practical outcomes. In a nutshell: What does this mean for women who want to learn the skills that will land them a job in tech?
Well, it means that some women can’t vanish from the world for the majority of their days and dedicate themselves to learning a new profession. A mother might need to pick her child up after school in the middle of the day. A daughter might need to take a couple hours to drive her ill parent around for appointments with different doctors. A wife might need to cook and clean because her partner’s off spending ten-hour days doing the labor the economy perceives as valuable.
For women like these, the ability to learn when they can is paramount. It’s hard to commit to all-day intensive in-person lessons when household responsibilities demand attention.
As a solution, bootcamps offer flexibility. Within sprints, two- to three-week periods during which new concepts need to be mastered and assignments must be completed.
So there are still deadlines, and you’ll still be held accountable for your tech education, but part-time bootcamps adapt to women’s real lives.
And who knows — maybe the resulting higher concentration of women in tech will help bring equity to the distribution of unpaid labor.
2. They foster community support
Because there are unique hurdles facing women who are interested in switching to tech, equally unique and robust support systems also need to be established. This is the express mission of numerous organizations. We heavily recommend looking into them, as they are of key importance. They are tackling issues for women in STEM by fostering efforts aimed at empowering and supporting women.
But what if those issues were solved within the design of a program rather than by an external advocacy group? That’s what bootcamps target; systems of support and empowerment are in the DNA of bootcamps. In most bootcamps, within different subject-focused programs, smaller cohorts are formed. And from these smaller groups of fellow learners, mutual support grows. Among peers, people can ask questions, express their doubts, and discuss anything they feel is important. Then, experts in numerous topics such as coding, writing resumes, or presenting oneself in an interview come in and add their expertise.
Take the story of Evgeniia UnzhakovaHow an Immigrant Landed a Career in the US: Evgeniia Unzhakova’s TripleTen Story, for example. A recent arrival to the United States, Evgeniia arrived with extensive knowledge of math but a less commanding knowledge of English. Nonetheless, she chose to dive in and join the ranks of women in data science. During her time in the TripleTen bootcamp, she found she could rely on her cohort.
We helped each other. We had a great discussion group and shared some interesting links. It was a great time for me. Evgeniia Unzhakova, TripleTen grad
But here’s where it becomes intersectional; not only did this cohort help her in her education, it also helped her as she navigated the overlapping challenges of aspiring to a career in tech while being both a woman and an immigrant. At the end of the program, she needed to present her final project. Women already tend to avoid giving public presentations, but as she was also learning a second language, that aversion was compounded by a lack of linguistic confidence. Again, her community came in and supported her. “My teammate helped me a lot. I was very nervous. I forgot all of the words. I was stressed. But my teammate said, ‘Calm down, relax. You’ll do a great job.’”
By the way, she did do a great job. She graduated, and she is now a research analyst at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
3. They inoculate you against imposter syndrome
This is one of the most sinister afflictions haunting the halls of even vaunted positions in tech. In fact, a study from KPMG found that 75% of female executives in tech had experienced imposter syndrome. It’s an epidemic; due to the latent, sexist narrative that women aren’t cut out for leadership or tech-heavy roles, women often find themselves questioning their right to occupy the positions they achieve.
This can be even worse for women who don’t have robust tech resumes and portfolios testifying to their capabilities — women such as those who are looking to reskill so they can land a job in tech. And whether you choose to study on your own or get a degree, you might not come to a recruiter with much to show, even if you have extensive knowledge.
For example, if you are self-taught, you won’t have a shiny certificate to cite as proof of your know-how when the doubts creep in. In addition, if you want to build a portfolio from scratch after teaching yourself how to code, it can be hard to find projects because you start out as a total tech outsider. You’re going to have to put in the work to make inroads into the industry, find open-source projects, and spend a good deal of time actively nurturing and expanding on your portfolio until it’s a document that you can use to both ward off nagging self-doubt and impress employers.
And only one of those two stumbling blocks to self-confidence is solved by getting a computer science degree: you get that document attesting to your knowledge. But college tech education tends to be highly theoretical, so when you graduate, you still might not have any projects you can include in a portfolio.
Bootcamps are focused on getting you the job. That means that when you graduate, you’ll have the hard skills you need to flourish in tech as well as the portfolio that you can fall back on if you ever find yourself encountering imposter syndrome. Such was the case with Yuliya KhilkoFrom Chemical Engineering to Motherhood to Tech : Yuliya Khilko’s TripleTen Story. After TripleTen, she had a robust portfolio, and that helped her maintain her confidence during her career search.
When you have a portfolio, you can rely on it and say you’ve built an application. Yuliya Khilko, TripleTen grad
When you finish a bootcamp, you graduate with bona fides in hand. You’ll have both a certificate attesting to your skills as well as a portfolio displaying how you applied them. This can give you a confidence boost to fight off imposter syndrome (and land the job).
By the way, Yuliya found a great career, too: she’s now a software engineer at lululemon.
4. Their culture is non-toxic by design
We’re just going to say it. Academia can be an unhealthy place for women in STEM. In fact, one study found that women leave academia at a higher rate than men because of toxicity, including outright harassment. In general, our culture is indeed unfriendly to women who want to enter these science-heavy fields, but academia can often present a purification of this sentiment.
Don’t get us wrong; learning a tech-heavy subject at a university is absolutely possible, and can even be rewarding. This is about the culture. Men tend to leave academia for more attractive jobs. Women tend to leave because of harassment.
Just imagine it. You’re looking to start a career in tech from scratch, maybe after switching from a gender-inflected profession such as nursing, and you enroll in a department informed by a belief system that minimizes your validity to pursue a change. You’re going to have to put in extra work as you pursue a degree just because of that bias.
In academia, politics and competition inevitably arise. Only a few professors can land tenure-track positions. Only a few students can get into restricted seminars. This is as opposed to bootcamps, for which exclusivity is eliminated by design.
Tutors at bootcamps are often working in tech. Their primary goal is to give students the hands-on, up-to-date info they need to actually succeed. They don’t need to make sure someone else leaves the department so they can snag one of the few tenure-track positions.
Then, bootcamps are open to anyone who wants to make a change, so there is no competition for entry. This core philosophy of bootcamps that anyone can code is the latent narrative. And that belief defines the culture. After all, every student at a bootcamp enrolls to improve their life.
Each one of them wants to take their history as a teacherFrom Making Music to Making Commits: Jenny Doctor’s TripleTen Story or warehouse worker and make a change. This alignment of goals leads to baked-in empathy, as each student sees themselves in one another.
This all makes a bootcamp welcoming to women by design. The fundamental structure and culture leave no space for toxicity.
5. You get specific, personalized career coaching
This is where bootcamps really shine. After all, a bootcamp is focused on getting people jobs. But the recruitment process can be even more difficult for women. Bootcamps know this, and the career coaches who start working with you closer to the end of your program will help you customize your strategy to make up for this disparity.
You don’t have to rely on spotty YouTube videos or a college’s overburdened career office. You will have someone there with you giving you advice and helping you hone your resume and portfolio to be as effective as possible.
Then, in addition, you’ll learn how to tell a story of how your previous experience sets you up to be the right woman for the job. Coming from a background in tourism sales? Well, you might just have the mindset that could set you up for a job at Spotify, like Rachelle PerezFrom Tourism Sales to Data Science at Spotify: TripleTen Grad Rachelle Perez Lands a Career in Tech.
And career coaches will make sure you have the soft skills that will help you show the recruiter you’re the best choice for that position. For example, when Desiree BradishFrom Graphic Design to Code Design: Desiree Bradish’s TripleTen Story was switching from a career as a graphic designer to one as a software engineer, career coaching helped her nail her interview.
I felt prepared for all of the questions, and it was largely because of TripleTen. Desiree Bradish, TripleTen grad
Like the other women we’ve mentioned, she’s also found success. Now, she’s a full-stack engineer at Flexion.
What we have for you
If you’re interested in joining a bootcamp, then we have good news: through a partnership with Women Who Code, we offer coding bootcamp scholarships for women. And if you want to see what our bootcamp’s all about, we also offer a free coding bootcamp for women interested in SQL.
TripleTen is the coding bootcamp for women who want to land their dream career. Apply for a scholarship and dive in.