Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Women who code: Brittany Dufort

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a recent transplant to the Emerald City - Seattle, Washington, USA. I work for a digital agency called the Garrigan Lyman Group (GLG) as a developer, specializing in back-end development and Umbraco implementations.

What’s your experience with Umbraco?

I started working with Umbraco in 2014. I attended my level 1 and 2 certification classes in Orlando, Florida, where I also attended my first festival – and realized love at first sight exists. I push Umbraco any chance I get and really believe in the product, in part because of the community and the flexibility and openness of HQ.

I have written some blogs and articles about Umbraco, attended the annual Codegarden (which is a must), and hope to attend some other countries’ festivals in the future! I am active on Slack and Twitter to help others – and of course, get help!

When and how did you become interested in coding?

I went to university as pre-med, but during my third year, I wanted to make a change to engineering. I thought at the time that I would do chemical engineering. The very first class in the engineering school allowed you to do a project in each of the engineering disciplines offered.

That’s when I did my first coding assignment and realized how fun and challenging it could be. Instead of enrolling in chemical engineering, I enrolled in computer science. It wasn’t until my second job after school that I fell into web development and .NET, a big change from C++, but definitely the right choice for me.

When you decided to enter this industry, were you concerned about facing prejudice as a woman? If yes, what were your concerns?

I was never concerned about facing prejudice as a woman. I actually was confident that being a woman would allow me more opportunities, and in my journeys that certainly has proved both right AND wrong.

Personally, I took the route of joining the “boys’ club” because it felt right to me. That’s who I am. I have always enjoyed activities historically geared towards men. So it wasn’t difficult for me to fit in. I also think it’s important to be confident about your skills, knowledge, and who you are as an individual. Confidence should be in every woman’s back pocket – and pulled out every day!

Why do you think there still aren’t that many female coders?

I think historically women and men have been pushed towards certain, different, career fields. I believe things have started to change as we see more women entering STEM careers and men taking on careers, such as nursing, where women used to be the majority. Specifically speaking on the lack of female coders, I think it can be quite intimidating to enter a competitive and challenging field where you will be the minority.

In your opinion, what could help to increase gender diversity in tech community?

Awareness and inclusiveness. We need to strategically market ourselves as not just being coders and nerds, but also branch out and market to the general interests of most women, while also making it known that everyone is an individual and that being yourself is celebrated.

I think educating our youth is extremely important. I am going to have the opportunity to help a troop of Girl Scouts learn about coding as well as making your passion into a job so that every day when you go to work, it’s not really work, it’s fun.

What advice would you give to someone looking to make a career move and learn to code?

My brother recently came to me about making a career move, thinking tech might be a good option. My advice to him was to go through free tutorials on freeCodeCamp and take advantage of having a seasoned web developer as a sister to ask any and all questions.

Once he completes that, if he decides he wants to move forward, then he should go to a 12-15 week coding boot camp. He will finish with a portfolio and an array of industry relevant knowledge. Most graduates land well-respected careers within three months.

How do you imagine your future as a developer?

I plan to gain more experience as a front-end developer as I continue to grow my back-end knowledge. Eventually, I’d like to manage a team of developers, while still having the opportunity to keep my hands in code part time. I will continue to network and be involved in female groups and meetups. I think knowledge is power, so I will also strive to teach as many young ladies as I can. A teacher can make or break you, and I plan on making as many women as I can into successful developers!

Related Story

Women who code in the Umbraco community

Since the movement of suffragettes shook the society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries gender equality has come a long way. So much has changed for the better, yet there is still tremendous work to be done: not least equal pay and gender diversity in various industries. It is especially clear when it comes to women in tech; the community is largely male-dominated. Umbraco is no exception. But while we do not have many “women who code” in the community, those we do have are talented and extraordinary (H5YR girls!). As today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day, I’ve interviewed 7 amazing female Umbracians (-nesses?) and asked them about why and how they’ve started out as coders, how they got introduced to Umbraco and what they think would help to increase gender diversity in tech community.

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