Herstory: Mentor & Developer, Lisa Godwin
Technology is all around us, in everything we do everyday. Behind each piece of tech is someone who helped conceptualize, design, create it and market it, and this week’s interview is with Lisa Godwin, a developer who’s had her hand in each part of the process. Here is her story.
What was the first thing that peaked your interest in programming?
Growing up I was really into gaming, all types of games: computer and video. Once I got middle school age I started exploring the technology that creates video games and became fascinated ever since.
What was the first language you wrote in and (aside from ‘hello world’) what did you write?
Wow, I would have to say C++ and it was a cashier program, basic adding and subtracting. I felt like I did something so major.
How did you learn to code and what one tip would you give for women wanting to learn?
On the weekends, I would spend my time learning about creating video games back in middle and high school. So a little of it was self-taught but I also studied Computer Science in college, therefore I was professionally taught eventually. However I had my own way of learning programming languages, I was never able to grasp it the college taught way, I had to apply it to real life interests in order for me to understand.
For women wanting to learn, start reading books and blogs, start browsing GitHub. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Also, do not think you have to study Computer Science in college, some of the best programmers are self-taught!
“Do not be afraid to ask questions.”
What advice do you have for women wishing to get into the field?
Explore the various avenues of the industry. There are so many languages to learn and many other tech careers. Decide which would be beneficial to your overall goal and take those steps to achieve it. It’s ok if you are not sure, learn a language, take a project management or business tech course, try different avenues to see what best fits you.
In your opinion, what makes a great programmer?
Being well-rounded in all phases of the software/product development life cycle makes an amazing programmer! Be a programmer that can see the development efforts from various aspects, that way you can have a full understanding of the project from a user standpoint through the pipeline to marketing.
In what ways do you believe we can interest more women and girls to join the tech industry?
Visibility! Showing women and girls how tech can apply to everyday life to solve problems is vital to gain their interest. More input from women is needed to create tech solutions because some aspects males simply do not think about. Also, showing them that there is more to tech than just programming.
I started off in programming but I also navigated over to the business side of the tech industry in Product Management. However, I still program on projects that spark my personal interest. We need to do a better job at highlighting the various avenues of the tech industry, which led me to my startup You Are Tech, which will be launching soon. That is one of the major initiatives, highlighting various avenues of the tech industry and the roadmap to get there.
Lisa has held a variety of positions in her development career and is currently the Creative Technologist at The New York Times. You can read more about Lisa on her site, Twitter and Instagram accounts or contact her about guiding your through your career here.