Mentor Story: Maggie on understanding what kids want
CoderDojo Mentor Maggie shares her experiences on the importance of mentorship, challenging stereotypes and understanding what kids want in order to encourage girls in Dojos and to get involved in technology related fields. This post is part of our CoderDojo Girls Initiative.
My name is Maggie and I’ve been a CoderDojo mentor for a year within the Kilkenny Dojo. I moved back to Ireland in 2016 after living in Canada for almost 9 years. I work as a technical product manager for Expedia, and have been there for over 7 years. In Vancouver I was involved in a mentorship program within the YWCA, working with professional women seeking employment as well as Women at Expedia Leading and Learning (WELL). I spearheaded the establishment of WELL in Vancouver, with the goal to help promote inclusion. Through lengthy discussions we made the decision to invite men to our chapter – the problem cannot be solved without input from everyone.
Last year a few mentors from our Dojo visited a local all girls secondary school and I was blown away by the interest. I try to simply tell my story – when I was 16 the internet was just starting to become popular. I enjoyed playing around online and decided to study computers in university. Although I quickly knew I didn’t want to work as a programmer I saw the opportunity to achieve all my dreams in this industry. I’ve created apps for Warner Brothers, websites for travel companies worldwide, I’ve travelled the world, I get paid well, I have a flexible lifestyle working from home, and I get to work on cool websites. I get to work with business teams, travellers, designers, programmers – the world is my oyster, I can be who I want and do what I want.
For me it’s taking away the stigma and understanding what kids want – wouldn’t it be cool if you could earn loads of money, work on those apps/computer games/websites/smart phones. We need maths geniuses, we need dreamers, we need artists, we need problem solvers, we need question askers, we need people who want to have fun and travel the world and work on making things beautiful and smart and solve boring tasks.