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Coding with Sisterhood

Coding with Sisterhood

Here’s To Strong Women

It’s hard to believe that day 8 of the Florida Entrepreneur Club’s 10 x 10 is here. Today’s theme was all about Coding with Sisterhood and I was able to accomplish that in both the most literal and figurative sense possible.

It’s not at all a secret that tech is a male dominated industry. While I’ve had many incredible experiences since becoming a software developer, I’ve also had quite a few disappointing moments, to put it gently. Connecting with a network of women in tech has been fundamental not only to my long term success, but sometimes simply just showing up the next day. Because of this I’ve spent countless hours volunteering for organizations such as Built By Girls and Girls Who Code, and worked to help grow Tech Hub South Florida’s Women’s Council in order to make sure that I’m doing whatever I can to be there for women in the ways that others have been there for me.

May We Know Them

As of last week, my sister, Rebecca Bakels, graduated from Boca Code’s Career Course and officially became a software engineer! To practice Coding with Sisterhood, I wanted to literally build something with my sister for the first time that was meant in some way to support women. What we decided to create was a website for one of our favorite people in the world, Beth Wagmeister.

Beth is an inclusion advocate that offers workshops and consulting to companies on how to hire, accommodate, and include people with disabilities in the workplace. She has also recently become our go-to ASL interpreter for all of the Boca Code courses. Over the last few months of meeting Beth, I’ve learned so much from her and she’s a large part of the motivation behind Coding with Fairness. Needing a website to promote her advocacy work, Becca and I jumped on the opportunity to put something together for her that she could share with the world.

May We Be Them

From the first moments of setting up this project it was already so different than any other program I've initialized. I sent my sister an invitation to join my repository for the website and she sent me back a screenshot of the GitHub email that said @michellebakels has invited you to collaborate on the @michellebakels/coding-with-sisterhood repository. It sounds a little much, but honestly that was kind of an emotional moment for both of us. It was so awesome that our first program we were going to code together was focused on supporting sisterhood.

Building out the site with her throughout the day was a dream. Even though we just spent 10 weeks teaching her everything we could about software engineering, I was still so amazed at how easily I could just talk to her throughout development as if I were speaking with Todd, Jonathan, or any other dev I’ve worked with. It’s so impressive how fast she learns and how far she’s come, and I’m really thankful I had the opportunity today to see that in full force.

May We (P)raise Them

At the end of the day, Beth came to Boca Code to teach her ASL class and we were able to show her the new website. Even though this is only the first iteration to start, her reaction was still so excited and it completely validated the entire experience. I’m ecstatic that Beth loved her site and that I was able to spend the day coding something together with my sister. This definitely has to be one of the most rewarding days of the challenge thus far.

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I swear, it's just my allergies. No really, I'm not crying reading this. You're crying.

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