DU boot camp brings more women into expanding coding industry

DENVER -- Sarah Cullen is teaching the next generation of web developers. Her classes have students coming from different backgrounds, but with one thing in common: they’re all women.

“Tech is growing,” Cullen said. “It’s gotten to a point where every field needs web developers. This is a constantly evolving field, we can never say this is boring.”

University of Denver’s Center for Professional Development has a partnership with The Colorado Women’s College and a workforce accelerator called Trilogy Education to offer a Women’s Coding Boot Camp. The 24-week course aims to bring more women into the growing industry, traditionally dominated by men.

”We learn a new language or a new technology every week,” said recent program graduate Meghan Morris.

Morris and other graduates like Stephanie Manhart are recent mothers in Denver, and saw the boot camp as an opportunity to go into a high-demand field with more flexible hours to accommodate family life.

“It feels good to do something for yourself, especially as a new mother, and you have done so much for your child, to take that time and be like look I can do this for me,” Manhart said.

More than 20 women graduated this past weekend with Manhart and Morris, working on projects to create stronger communities.

Tina Li, another graduate, developed “Project SANE” through the course, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. It’s a website that connects victims to the closest nurse that’s specifically licensed to do forensic exams.

Cullen says in her experience as a web developer in the industry, she was usually the only woman in “a sea of men.” She hopes focusing on creating a female work force will help fill a need.

“It’s a problem when people building these applications or these websites are not necessarily representative of the demographics that will be using those,” Cullen said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, web development is one of the fastest growing careers across the world. Jobs in this field are expected to grow 20% every year for the next three years.

“I believe the culture is evolving, just not quickly enough. And we need to be able to furnish those eager, excited intelligent women who can take on that banner,” Cullen said.

DU isn’t the only boot camp in the area, as Denver’s tech opportunities continue to grow. The Course Report made a list of boot camps here.

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