The Mom Advantage: Why Tech Needs Mommies

By Valarie Regas

Talk Abstract

The life of a stay-at-home mom requires unique thought processes, specialized organizational skills, and myriad soft skills often missing in the workplace. Tech needs mommies.

Moms can revamp tech in incredible ways. Let me tell you how.

Talk Description

She’s a stay-at-home mom. She wants to work but finding a job at which she would make enough money to cover the cost of daycare is nigh impossible. She watches her partner leave for work every day, envious of their knowledge, their skill set, and the time they get to spend with other adults.

Her partner suggests she learns to code, and her first thought is “but… I’m just a mom!” How could I learn that? We need to listen to the moms we know and identify those who want back in the workforce. We need to guide them towards educational opportunities and encourage them.

“Just” a mom is precisely what the world of tech needs right now. The day to day life of a full-time parent requires unique thought processes, specialized organizational skills, and myriad soft skills often missing in the workplace.

Moms can revamp tech in incredible ways. Let me tell you how.

Notes

I spent eight years trapped as a stay-at-home mom, wanting to work. My husband is a software architect, and yet it never occurred to me that I could enter this field. A year ago, I helped him logic out a problem he was having at work, and it dawned on me: I could do this! I enrolled in a coding boot camp. I quickly found that I thought, reasoned, and understood many concepts differently than my cohort peers who had never been SAH parents.

This talk breaks down things like Docker - my peers never understood why it would be useful, but I explained it to them using my children as examples. I compared my home to a development environment, children to code functionality, their sippy cups and blankies to dev dependencies. I then explained how putting those things in a container to take to other environments makes my kid’s behavior more predicable. It clicked for most of them.

As a SAH mom I learned a lot about negotiating with unreasonable people ( the most difficult manager will never be as much a tyrant as a toddler at nap time). I find I organize my pseudo code differently than my peers, and logic through situations differently, due to my life experience. I also find I get less frustrated than many when debugging is difficult. After all, once one has birthed a baby or two, most situations don’t seem so difficult by comparison.

I would love to speak on the Community track to enlighten attendees as to the value of moms, and the gifts they could bring to tech. As an industry, I see so much effort being put into being inclusive of women as a whole, and it is wonderful to see. However, I feel that moms are the over-looked segment of women we could be courting, and including more moms would only be to our benefit.

I don’t require any travel assistance, as I live in Atlanta. I have an accompanying slide show I would like to show, so I will need a way to display my laptop screen on a large screen (HDMI or air link). However, this talk stands on its own without the slide show if resources for a screen are limited.