By Kayla Sosa
A partnership between Loop Coding and Grand Circus is bringing a special event to Grand Rapids in which mothers and daughters learn to code together.
Anna Geurkink is a software developer and coordinator for Grand Circus. She said it takes a lot of collaboration with others when working with software development.
“We’re going to have moms and daughters work together, figure things out together, and take away some of the stigma of coding,” Geurkink said. “It’s this multigeneration recognizing that it’s not just for white men.”
Geurkink often teaches free intro to coding workshops in the community. The workshops last three hours, and each participant will learn how to write their first line of code. She’s noticed that many stay-at-home moms almost feel ashamed to introduce themselves in the classes.
“To me, that is amazing,” Geurkink said. “The skills that you already have as a stay at home mom can completely be transferred to being a software developer. You’re a property manager, you know how to work in a team, you know how to lead a team, you know how to keep humans alive – not many people can say that.”
Geurkink said because of this, it’s important that women and moms know that there’s a place for them and their skills in the tech industry.
“If we can really emphasize that not only are there women in tech, but there are mothers in tech,” she said. “How cool would that be for these mothers who are putting themselves down to be like, ‘Wait, she’s doing that. She’s making it work, and she looks happy doing it.”
The average entry-level salary for software developers is around $52,000 a year, Geurkink said. The flexibility of working in tech makes it accessible for mothers to work as well.
“You can work for a consultant and work from home,” she said. “Tech industries are more modern — there’s maternity and paternity leave.”
Geurkink said there are two different types of code taught at Grand Circus: front end and back end. Front end, as you would imagine, focuses on the design of, say, a website and how the user would see the website. Back end is focused on the “skeleton of the website” and how all the moving parts work together behind the scenes to allow the website to do what it does.
“You’re telling a computer what to do,” Geurkink said. “For example, when you go on Amazon and you put something on your wishlist, someone had to set that up to make sure that that item went to your wishlist.”
As society evolves, we see women more and more in the tech field, and as head of households.
“Yet, they’re still making a lot less than men are,” Geurkink said. “If we don’t have healthy income in our community, then our community is really going to struggle.”
Geurkink encourages women of all ages to come to this event, and other coding workshops, to learn a unique skill and, at the same time, be empowered.
The first ever Daughters, Mothers and Friends Coding Party will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Start Garden. The free event will include coding workshops, a light brunch and mother/daughter portraits. RSVP here.
What: Daughters, Mothers and Friends Coding Party
When: Saturday, May 18, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Where: Start Garden, 40 Pearl St NW #200