• Keather Roemhildt

Hey Girls, Make Tech Your Superpower!

Creating software reminds me of when I used to make up games on the playground. There are a lot of decisions to be made and rules to create when you’re introducing something new to the world. The blank canvas is yours to paint. Tapping into our imaginations and believing anything is possible is a great primer for creating a product people love.

As a product designer, I work closely with software engineers. They bring a product designer's vision from two-dimensional drawings into the real world. We play with their creations, expand upon their expertise and use tools they’ve crafted to explore, learn and communicate. Kind of like passing notes in class - only for the whole world to read!

Through the years, I have worked with hundreds of software developers. Only two were women. That’s disheartening because we girls have a lot to offer the tech industry! Women, by nature, are creative, empathetic and supportive. We naturally want to bring people together. Our feminine traits can provide a beautiful balance to a male-dominated industry.

When we started Dock Health, Nitin Gujral and Lisa Jeon developed the first version of our product. Lisa was our first female developer and one of the two women I have ever worked with on the development side.

Lisa says she was fortunate to land her first development job at a hospital with a diverse and supportive team. But more broadly, she is dismayed by the lack of female representation in her field.

“I see a shift coming though, as young girls are encouraged to explore and pursue technology and more female role models are emerging in media and the industry,” Lisa told me.

It can be scary to feel like you are the only one of your kind. And in this competitive industry, it’s challenging enough just to find work, much less carry the weight of breaking down gender-based inequities. I find I like the challenge. I like feeling unique and special - even different - in a world where there are many pressures to think and act the same.

There are many ways to start learning how to code. Today, right from your kitchen table. If you’re just starting out, try a block-based programming tool like Scratch. Once you grasp the basics, find a structured course that helps you learn more advanced concepts. Sign up for a community education or online class from Udemy or Coursera.

Start with any of the more commonly used programming languages like Javascript or Python and start building projects. Look for fun things you can automate in your life. Try to combine coding with electronic components using Raspberry Pi or Arduino. Just like sports or art, the more you practice, the better you get at coding.

Engineers look to understand the bigger picture and how various technical pieces are connected. There is no shortage of opportunities where you can practice your programming skills and build fun solutions for you and your family.

Build a robot! Follow your passion and use technology to help solve big challenges in your community! Bring your unique gifts to the world.

Working in technology is interesting and fun. I get to think creatively, work fast, be my own boss and chart my own course. Today I’ll swing. Tomorrow I’ll hang upside down from the monkey bars. And you, my friend, are so welcome to join me!

Keather Roemhildt, co-Founder, chief product officer, Dock Health

Other helpful resources to start building your superpower:

Girls who Code

Hackathons for School kids

Hackathon Jr.

Other contributors:

Nitin Gujral, chief technology officer, Dock Health

Lisa Jeon. Project Manager at Dell Boomi

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