Tanya was only 13 years old when dreaming of starting a career in IT. Leaving high school with a degree in graphic design, it was time for the next adventure. As it started to itch more and more to dive further into IT, she decided to enroll in our web development training in Liege. Eager to know more about her BeCode journey or how it feels to be a woman in a domain that is still dominated by men? Then quickly read the interview below!
What were you doing before joining this training?
“I’m the youngest person in the class: I’m 18 years old. Before that, I was in technical studies to become a graphic designer.”
What made you want to learn how to code?
“I’ve been interested in coding since the age of 13. I opted for graphic design when I was younger, because I thought it was something in between the two, but the idea was always to work in IT.”
What made you choose BeCode and not another training?
“I found out about BeCode when I was searching for a web development class online. BeCode was the only training that used an active pedagogy. I found that interesting because it’s exactly the way I like to learn. I’m not a fan of traditional methodologies.”
How far along are you in your training?
“We are getting close to the end of the training. We still have one React project, and then we’ll go on an internship.”
How has been your experience so far?
”Honestly, it’s amazing. I’ve grown a lot professionally. In secondary school, you don’t necessarily learn to work in a team, to express yourself, to make an oral presentation in English… I learned all that at BeCode..”
In your opinion, why aren’t there more women in IT fields?
”In my class we have an almost parity between men and women. But I think the reason why there are generally fewer women than men is because of the prejudices we have: it’s a man’s job, a gamer’s job, a geek’s job. Girls are not necessarily attracted to it. I’m a graphic designer and I find that programming is very similar to the creative process: you start from a blank page and fill it in.”
“Personally, I like front-end, you start from scratch and start creating. It has nothing to do with a boy’s job. Coding is an open door to the whole world. It’s a job where you can open yourself up to many different horizons.”
“So for me, it’s really a question of prejudices, but when you go beyond these prejudices, you see that the reality is quite different.”
In your opinion, what can we do about these prejudices?
”Since we often think it’s for geeks and gamers, I can imagine that launching a coding class in schools could be a good start. Personally, when I was in secondary school, I had a small course to learn the basics of programming. I was able to create a very small application, something very basic, but it made me want to go further. I said to myself “it would be great to be able
to create what I want with a few lines of code.”
“I think that by showing young children that coding exists, that it’s for everyone and that it’s fun, we could make a difference.”
Do you think we should have more female role models in the field?
”It’s true that when we think of IT, we think of Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. But I also think about Margaret Hamilton, who was very important for NASA’s Apollo space project.”
“In short, it’s a question of general culture, too: there’s a choice of what you decide to put forward. For example, BeCode gives names of women to promotions, like Margaret Hamilton or Mary-Lou Jepse.”
Have you ever experienced discrimination based on your gender?
”Before joining BeCode, I was in graphic design, and as part of these studies I did internships. The first time, I was asked to do some cleaning and administrative work rather than what I was there for, even though some of the employees were girls. Afterwards, I started looking for a job as a graphic designer. My age and the fact that I’m a girl, I feel like it played a big role. When you hear my voice, I feel like people are imagining a little girl. I didn’t feel very comfortable looking for a job.”
What can be done to fight this?
”Firstly, I think I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence. There’s a lot of progress compared to six months ago. Next, Charlène and Caroline offered us workshops on the recruiter’s point of view. It was very interesting because putting yourself on the other side of the mirror allows you to know how to behave. For example, rather than making a phone call to a company to introduce yourself, it’s better to send an email with your full CV, a list of your skills, your achievements, your website made with the latest technology, etc.”
What would you tell a woman who is hesitating to get started in a field that is in majority very masculine?
”I would tell a woman who is hesitant to take the plunge that with web development she can create anything she wants. In all the languages she can learn, she will have the opportunity to talk to other people.”
“So there is an opening in creation, an opening towards people, and it’s a sector where you never stop learning. In IT, there are always new languages, new frameworks, new libraries. This makes it possible to exchange with others throughout the world, to learn new things.”
What’s the next step for you after the training?
“I would like to find a job in which I feel good, at the same level as the others, and where people pay attention to my skills rather than to the rest.”
Are you a woman interested in diving into IT?
Then our hackeuses club is exactly what you are looking for! Register now for our promotions in Charleroi and Liège.