Mentoring new women in technology via Ada Developers Academy

  • Posted on February 19, 2015

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Lisa Jordan.

Avanade is a community committed to diversity, and we continue to attract and retain strong women across our skill families and levels. Over the course of my 9-year career with Avanade, I've had a growing passion for helping to remedy a lack of women in the technology sector.  My first forays into the realm of diversity and inclusion started as grass-roots efforts to get involved at universities to help teach other women what a career in consulting could look like.  As a regional service line lead, I have expanded my efforts into making sure all of the consultants in my career tree have access to mentors, but I've also put a special emphasis on connecting women with like-minded mentors and role models.  Most recently, I've stepped outside the bounds of women in technology at Avanade and started to see how I can support women in technology in the Seattle community at large.

Ada Developers Academy (Ada) is an intensive software training school for women, targeted at providing women from diverse backgrounds the technical training they need to step into a full time development role.  Currently training their second cohort of students (and opening applications for cohort three), Ada brokers sponsorship for each women in their cohorts through a year-long rigorous training program.  This program starts with 6 months of classroom training 40 hours a week, followed by a 6-month internship at a local Seattle technical company.  Sponsors include many well-known Seattle names, including Amazon, Zillow, Redfin, and Nordstrom.

As a woman in a leadership position in the tech industry, I have been working with Ada to raise awareness of the diverse roles and opportunities available to women, as well as highlight consulting as a career path.  Most recently I presented to a group of 30 women (participants in the program, Ada hopefuls, and people already working in the field) on the topic of “Consulting 101.”  Both men and women who are pursuing technical education often are not aware of what a consulting career looks like; my presentation was a way to highlight the fast-paced growth that can come with being a consultant.  During my two-hour talk, I was also able to engage the group in some discussions about the software development lifecycle, roles that are tangential from development but that still benefit from a technical foundation, and how to foster the qualities of a great customer connection.

Over the coming months, I hope to grow my involvement with Ada Developers Academy; there are opportunities to present on a variety of topics, as well as participate in mock interviews.  Anyone at Avanade who is interested in being a technical mentor can feel free to reach out to me directly!

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