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Think You Can’t Work In the Digital Age? These Coding Bootcamps for Women Say Otherwise

Yes, the pace of tech is fast enough to make anyone's head spin—but that doesn't mean we women over 50 can't write code. These valuable resources want to teach you how.

Many of us at midlife believe there are a host of things that are now in our rearview mirror. Things like cartwheels, cut-off shorts so tiny that the pockets peek out below the hem … and digital skills, like writing code. But the more you tune in to this last topic, the more stories you’ll hear about women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond picking up the skills to make the digital world go round. If you want to create software, apps or websites—or are just curious about how it works—coding is the language to learn.

A relatable example is that of Seattle resident Liz Beigle-Bryant, age 60. She was recently quoted as saying the HTML and CSS code classes that she took online were critical in helping her get just the job she wanted as a document control coordinator at the public transit agency Sound Transit. At a more lofty level of achievement is 83-year-old Masako Wakamiya, who taught herself to write code from scratch and created an iPhone app called Hinadan, which translates as “the doll staircase” and is a game that’s aimed at people 60 plus. Masako was so successful that last year Apple invited her to join its prestigious Worldwide Developers Conference, where she was the oldest app creator present.

Intrigued and interested in perhaps trying your hand at it, too? Code Like A Girl, an organization that’s dedicated to changing the perception of women in tech, has some great resources here, as does Women Who Code, which nurtures women to excellence in tech professions. Many women we spoke to love General Assembly, which offers online and on-site classes (a four-hour class on Programming for Non-Programmers in NYC, for instance, costs $140), and Code Academy, which offers some free starter courses as well as paid classes online.

Also, a new non-profit called amazing.community, which specifically helps women over 50 prepare for new careers and opportunities, has classes on working with artificial intelligence this month in New York City, New Jersey, and Boston. Participants will create a chatbot that is responsive to the needs of women 50 plus.

So ready, set … code!

By Janet Siroto


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