Laura Medalia: Byte Me! The Woman Who’s Making Coding Cool

January 18 - Sarah Ashlock
STEM
 

FIRST THOUGHT: To Tech or Not to Tech?

After sharing so many stories of women doing phenomenal things—things I could never do, like coding the next big app or building the next big advocacy effort—it’s easy to feel a little discouraged. I ask myself, “How am I helping women? How am I putting some good back into the world? How am I using my talents and skills to make a difference?” I have to acknowledge that just because I can’t do certain things (or don’t have the interest in learning) doesn’t mean I can’t do something. I can donate to organizations that teach girls how to code; I can volunteer in ways that use my specific gifts. Don’t be fooled: Each and every one of us has something to offer.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 10 Percent

When someone’s an expert and training someone else, they often move at a record pace. A 16-year-old showing her 86-year-old grandpa how to use Wordpress will inadvertently click here and type there and leave her poor Papa in the dust (which is easy to do when you’ve been raised on technology). Interest in tech amongst teens has been on the rise; in fact, it’s increased by 10 percent since 2012.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Laura Medalia, Full-stack Developer at Zocdoc & Owner of the Instagram Account CoderGirl

Today’s Woman to Watch is someone who knows a whole lot about making tech cool, and her name is Laura Medalia. For the past five years, she’s been a full-stack developer at a company called Zocdoc, a healthcare startup that makes doctor’s appointments super easy.

Now, I’ll admit that when I first used Zocdoc, I didn’t think for one second that there were actual human beings building and maintaining the site so users like me could enjoy its seamless design. (For that, I apologize Laura.) I’m not going to lie: If a salon or restaurant doesn’t have an online reservation system, I’ll probably go somewhere else. I know I’m not alone in this. That’s the mentality behind Zocdoc. You see, virtually everything we use, well, in the virtual space starts and stays because of people like Laura, who hustle, learn, and share their abilities.

Laura shares a little bit of her genius through her Instagram account @codergirl_. She’s got more than 60,000 followers, and women and girls are gushing over this tech lady for good reason. Known for her signature red lipstick and sassy wit, Laura shares images from her everyday life as a techie, whether that’s sitting in front of two monitors with a cup of java, or touring AT&T to learn about tech initiatives.

Followers wear Laura’s shirts that feature tongue-in-cheek sayings like “lipstick and code” and “byte me.” Her inspiration for the Instagram account comes from wanting to, as she calls it, embrace the “girly side” of tech. There’s no doubt that Laura’s the kind of fashion-forward woman who would show up on The Satorialist, leaving you think she’s some kind of up-and-coming designer. Instead, this mostly self-taught techie, who graduated college with a degree In English Lit, has the life of a programmer.

Whether you’re crunching zeroes, are a casual online shopper, or are a social media mogul, Laura has a few tips to keep your online browsing as safe as possible. She urges you use two-factor authentication, particularly if you’re using a public Wi-Fi connection. Usually, the login section of an app will have this feature in its settings, so take a look at some of the sites or apps you use often. A habit to build whenever you’re on your computer? Check for the secure lock symbol by the URL spot. That means traffic within the site is encrypted, adding an extra layer of privacy.

Laura says her role models are other women in tech on social media. Seeing the communities of badass females coming together to disrupt a male-dominated industry motivates her to keep on, keeping on, and continue to encourage the younger generation to enter an industry that’s becoming more gender-balanced every day.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Tory Burch said:

"Buckle up and know that it's going to be a tremendous amount of work, but embrace it."

#JoinTheMovement
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