Plus, a discount code just for Women 2.0 readers off Hackbright’s Intro to Programming course. 

By Paria Rajai (Digital Marketing Consultant, Hackbright Academy)

This post originally appeared on the Hackbright Academy blog.

Like many coders today, Maya Scofield’s coding journey started with a desire to create something – in this case, it was an app idea from which she derived her inspiration. Despite her non-technical background, Maya decided it was time to learn to code to bring her ideas to life.

As a mother of two youngsters, the decision to dedicate more time to self-enrichment took some consideration; but with a solid plan for action, she was confident in her ability to manage.

She decided to take on Hackbright Academy’s Intro to Programming course to further enrich her knowledge and technical know-how. Read on as Maya was nice enough to share her story.
Maya Scofield2

What inspired you to take the part-time class at Hackbright?

Initially, I was inspired to want to learn since I had an app idea and someone else developed it. I regretted that I didn’t know how to even begin how to go about it. Also, I wanted to be able to help teach my kids how to code.

I attended the info session just to see what Hackbright was all about and see if it was “for me.” After hearing what was possible to achieve in a few months, I was inspired by the idea that there would be guidance and support to teach someone like me. Embarking on a new path in a field that was foreign to me was intimidating, but I got really good vibes at the info session. I was able to get a feel for the space as well as the sense of the people that would be a part of my journey; both prospective students like me, and also the staff at Hackbright.

Any advice for other moms considering enrolling in the course?

Maya Scofield3Get your environment set up early and identify where or from whom you will get the support you need. Finding ways to manage your time if you don’t have someone to help offload your other priorities is key; whether it is your partner or a relative, or even just a friend to help out when you just need a few hours. This is nothing different than what any other woman would need, but being able to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed makes it so much easier.

Having class in the evening did help since I was able to have my spouse spend his quality time with the kids while I got my time to do something to enrich myself and see if this was a path to continue. Letting go of the guilt of things you aren’t doing with your kids is important to let go of, and keep in mind you are bettering yourself so you will be better for them. Also very important: Use the resources available through Hackbright – the advisors will find a way to help you when you really need it!

Coming from a non-technical background, did you feel that the course was a “good fit” for you?

Maya Scofield4There were a few times during the course that I wondered… is this for me? Could I really see myself as a programmer? There were times when you’d just “get it” and you’d get a boost of confidence like “oh yeah!” and then there were other times when it can be an extremely humbling process – like when you make mistakes and are trying to figure out how you can get your code to work. Those are the times that you learn the most!

Completing any educational program takes some determination. What kept you going?

I was determined to present my project at the end. That was the goal I had and knew that if I committed to showing people what I had learned throughout the course, it would motivate me to continue to improve on it. I am excited to continue and keep my education growing in this field as this feels as though I am merely just dipping a toe in the “coding water.”

What surprised you about the course and what surprised you about yourself as you learned to code?

Maya Scofield5One might think that being in a class might be a bit mundane but I was so surprised about how my brain felt so awake and how fast those 3 hours go by! It felt great to realize how much I was learning and how much I could use to build something that worked. It’s a slow and steady process but when what I learned from the lessons translated into a fun game, I was able to say, “Wow, I wrote the code to that program! Now what other programs can I write?”

What’s a quote/piece of advice that motivates you?

There are so many! My current mantra is a quote from Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda to paraphrase: “There are three kinds of people: Those who make it happen, those who watch what happens and those who wonder what happened.” That resonates when I think about my next moneymaking app idea. I want to be the person who makes it happen and surround myself with those same kind of people.

Hackbright offers 12-week night courses in San Francisco starting for non-programmers who want to learn to code/explore software engineering. The next info session to learn more about the upcoming Intro to Programming Course is Tuesday, December 15th. RSVP here.

2016 Intro to Programming class dates:

  • 1/4 – 3/23 | Monday & Wednesday – 6:30 – 9:00 PM
  • 1/5 – 3/24 | Tuesday & Thursday – 6:30 – 9:00 PM

Save $250 with discount code WOMEN2 if you enroll by 12/21.

About the guest blogger: Paria Rajai (@pariarajai) leads marketing at Hackbright Academy. She is passionate about using the power of online and social media to accelerate change and has worked with the United Nations, Yahoo’s Business & Human Rights Program, VMware as well as other international nonprofits and tech companies to leverage new media. She has also been selected to be a member of the State Department’s TechWomen program, which aims to shape STEM policy and opportunities for women worldwide.