codepancake

your daily code for breakfast

Spotlight 48: Let’s meet Laurence

It’s Friday again! And I’m looking forward to introduce you to the next inspiring woman in tech! The best part: it turned out we have a lot in common.. we both have a major in history,  we’re both self-taught coders, we both started learning to code in Python, we both switched to Rails and…. we both love to help others & write about our (coding) experiences.  So for this week, let’s meet Laurence! 

About Laurence:
Hi! My name is Laurence Bradford. I am the creator of learntocodewith.me and the Tech Careers Expert at About.com. I also write on other sites like Skillcrush, Codementor, and more. Several years ago I began teaching myself how to code. One thing led to another, and another, and I soon began building websites for others. Now, I write about building websites and how to transition into a tech career.

Name: Laurence Bradford
Job: Creator of learntocodewith.me and Tech Careers Expert at About.com
Favorite website, app or gadget: Asana
Favorite book: (Programming) “Learn Python the Hard Way” by Zed Shaw and (Business) “Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker
Twitter: @learncodewithme
Site: learntocodewith.me

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
I was a history major in college, and after I graduated my career options were looking bleak. As I began studying to go back to graduate school, I came across articles online talking about the need for more tech workers—especially women. So, I began teaching myself how to build basic websites. After realizing how fun it was, I soon after made a total career pivot.

What inspired me was a perfect combination of events on going on around me, plus not wanting to spend another $100,000 or more to go back to school.

What does your working day look like?
I wake up around 6:30 AM, and head to a coffee shop by 7:45 AM. I will work there for a few hours. Sometimes I head to my coworking space soon after. I always take a midday break to go to the gym. Afterwards, I head home, and usually end up working till 9 PM at night. I don’t consider what I do “working” though because I love it so much! I choose to “work” as much as I do.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
This is tough to answer! Right now, I am in love with my Facebook group Newbie Coder Warehouse. This isn’t a web app or something cool I built. Instead, it’s a community of self-taught, newbie coders.

What blows me away about it is how quickly it has grown, and the connections that are being made between group members. So many people have found friends in their area, pair programming partners, and more in that group. Witnessing these new friendships and collaborations is amazing!

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
In the blogging/online business world I am a huge fan of Pat Flynn from smartpassiveincome.com. Through his podcast and helpful content, I learned that I could actually make money from my blog. I also love Neil Patel, from quicksprout.com, who is the founder of several digital marketing companies and blogs about content marketing. He inspires me to write better.

Why do you love working in IT/Tech?
I love it because it’s fast-paced, and there’s always something new to learn. Also, when you can code, you can create things. And that’s a very powerful feeling.

I love it because it’s fast-paced, and there’s always something new to learn. Also, when you can code, you can create things. And that’s a very powerful feeling.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
Nope! I do not have a traditional degree in IT or computer science. I studied history in college. And yes – I am sure I missed out on some very valuable things. However, I prefer to think about it like every decision I have made in my life had led me to where I am today. And I am very happy with where I am today. I think studying history gave me some other skills that I use today; like research and fact-finding that I use when I write.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in learning to code?
Start small. Have patience. It’s really frustrating, and everyone can feel that way. (You’re not alone!) Know it’ll take awhile, but it will be worth it.

Extra questions from Jessica Rose:
What’s your advice on getting more girls in IT studies?
I think exposing girls to technology and computer science at a younger age is critical. Also, having more women in visible and senior/leadership roles. A girl can’t envision herself in those roles unless she see others already there. So, more female leaders, founders, and innovators.

What’s the one thing you would want to change about the industry?
I wish there was more diversity within tech companies.