“You Can Figure It Out — the Industry Isn’t an Ivory Tower”: MaiAda Carpano’s Mission to Make the Tech Industry Accessible to All

“I always loved coding on a basic level,” said MaiAda Carpano, now a Junior Software Developer at Creditly. “As a child, I’d spend hours in my room learning HTML and CSS.”

Although building web pages was one of her favorite pastimes, the idea of pursuing a career in coding never crossed MaiAda’s mind.

“The industry was relatively small back then, so at the time, its role models made me think I had to be really good at science and math to work in the field,” said MaiAda.

Dismissing her passion for code as a part-time hobby, MaiAda decided to study Political Science in college, and went on to become a middle school history teacher.

“I was a teacher for six years,” she said. “Although I enjoyed what I did, there were no opportunities for progress. I didn’t want to feel stuck — I wanted to know what else was out there.”

With that, MaiAda decided to approach her friends within the tech industry. It was through these conversations that she learned more about coding boot camps — and solidified her desire to pursue tech.

The one boot camp that stood out to MaiAda was the Penn LPS Coding Boot camp. A friend who had completed the same boot camp recommended it because of his experience with his professors and TAs, whom he thought held a genuine investment in his success.

Preparing for anything

Determined to see whether she was truly passionate about coding, MaiAda decided to begin her own “at-home boot camp.” After she taught herself JavaScript and revisited her knowledge of CSS and HTML, her interests were confirmed. And before the first official day of the Penn LPS Coding Boot camp, she quit her job in teaching. 

Despite her endeavors, when MaiAda’s time in the boot camp began, she realized her self-study only covered the first three weeks of class. Instead of feeling disheartened, she relished the chance to dive in and discover new interests.

“I had an amazing boot camp experience,” she said. “It was really valuable to receive a holistic skillset of both front end and back end development.” Although the material was challenging and fast-paced, MaiAda strove on, sometimes putting in 40 hours of coding per week outside of class.

Yet, what struck MaiAda the most was her class, which consisted of mainly women and BIPOC individuals.

“This stood out to me because I felt like I could grow and learn in a space where we were the majority rather than the minority,” said MaiAda. “I developed this growth mindset that taught me that if you put in the hours, you can figure it out — the industry isn’t an ivory tower that you can’t access.”

A new life and a new mindset

Now, MaiAda works with one of her instructors at Creditly, a platform dedicated to helping consumers with debt relief. After interviewing for the role, she received the job just a month after finishing the boot camp.

“It all happened very quickly,” she said. “Although it’s more of a front end position, it’s invaluable to be able to come in and also understand what’s happening in the back end.”

MaiAda’s journey is far from over. Early in her career, she doesn’t want to pigeonhole herself into anything too specific. But on a broader scale, she hopes to use her skill set to meet the needs of marginalized communities.

 “I want to see the face of tech change,” she said. “The lack of diversity within the tech industry isn’t about pointing fingers or placing blame. There are lots of factors that contribute to the unconscious bias rampant in the field, and we all need to make a concerted effort to change the accessibility of opportunities in the tech industry.”

MaiAda discovered firsthand that coding boot camps are a great way to ignite transformation. They facilitate and encourage people who haven’t received a traditional education in technology, and who may not have computer science degrees. 

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