In this day in age, technology is all around us. Everything from our smartphones to our Fitbits involves computer code and, according to Betsy Hauser Idilbi, that is a perfect reason why people should learn code.
Ms. Hauser Idilbi is the CEO and co-founder of Tech Talent South, a company that runs coding bootcamps throughout the southeast United States. Ms. Hauser Idilbi described her ascension into the business world as a “happy accident.” She went to college for journalism and began working in public relations in Chicago, though on the side she enjoyed selling products that she made herself. Eventually, she found she was able to support herself on the products that she was producing and selling. After Ms. Hauser Idilbi moved back to her hometown of Charlotte, she successfully ran Little Idea, a company which worked with individual inventors to make their ideas physical realities, until the company merged with Enventys. Then Ms. Hauser Idilbi, looking to turn towards producing digital products as opposed to physical products, traveled back to Chicago to participate in a coding bootcamp. It is there that she met her co-founder of Tech Talent South, the only southerner in the bootcamp, and they discussed the need for coding bootcamps in the south. According to Ms. Hauser Idilbi, “Any good entrepreneur can look at something successful and say we can do that,” and so Tech Talent South was born.
Now Ms. Hauser Idilbi works as the CEO of the company. As CEO, her job mainly consists of exploring what is coming next for Tech Talent South. Ms. Hauser Idilbi explores partnerships with companies and universities and constantly works to make sure that the right people are hired and placed in the right places.
When asked why people should learn how to code, Ms. Hauser Idilbi listed a host of reasons. Not only does everything we touch have code, but the technological world is a rapidly growing field that offers many job openings. Ms. Hauser Idilbi also believes that being able to understand and write code is a very-near future reality for many people.
Ms. Hauser Idilbi, though, did acknowledge that there are fewer women than men currently working within the world of code. She attributed this to the false reputation that coding has as being math-heavy and not for the creative-minded. However, she says that this problem appears to be quickly remedying itself. Ms. Hauser Idilbi said that, in the free Kids Code classes that Tech Talent South offers, she notices that consistently at least 50% of the participants are girls. Tech Talent South also provides both scholarships open to men and women and scholarships particularly for women to help them complete some of Tech Talent South’s bootcamps. In fact, Tech Talent South was ranked by a LinkedIn researcher as having the second highest enrollment of females in coding bootcamps at 53.3% of students being female.
Ms. Hauser Idilbi shared a few pieces of advice for girls who want to learn how to code and for girls who want to get into business. For girls who want to learn how to code, Ms. Hauser Idilbi urged to start right away. “There are many free resources online that you can take advantage of,” said Ms. Hauser Idilbi. She also encouraged girls to reach out to other women in the tech world. “Because the tech world is booming, there isn’t the risk that someone is going to steal your job out from under you, so the tech community is very supportive of people entering into the community.”
For girls who want to get into business, Ms. Hauser Idilbi shared three pieces of advice. The first piece of advice was “grab coffee with everyone.” Be willing to ask everyone, from people you meet on the street to CEOs of companies, to grab coffee with you. Nine times out of ten, you will not be disappointed, and, if you do not hear back from that one person, you are not losing anything. This is a great way to network. The second piece of advice that she offered was “get involved in your community.” Participate in clubs and societies such as Young Entrepreneur’s Society and, as Ms. Hauser Idilbi herself participates in, Leaders under 40. Finally, Ms. Hauser Idilbi said, “An idea is not worth anything on its own. Even if your idea is not fully fleshed out yet, just go ahead and start with what you have. You can do it. Everything starts somewhere.”
Contributor: Katie Campbell