Tamara Copple’s route to a career in tech had some twists and turns:
“My turning point came midway through life when I was able to connect with other energetic women who were looking for opportunities to encourage more women to take up software development,” Tamara says. “Getting involved and networking was not only fun and uplifting but it has been fundamental to my success. It's never too late to try something new--even if it's your second or third or fourth major career change.”
Tamara’s first degree was in interior design. When that didn’t work out, she sought new options that led to a long tenure at DST Systems in business analysis. It was there she met mentors who worked in programming and encouraged her potential.
“But until I connected with Kansas City Women in Technology I never was confident to enough to pursue programming seriously,” Tamara says.
Her mindset changed when she realized the secret to programming:
“In the early 1990s when I was in college computer science was all about calculus and trigonometry, and I am allergic to both,” she says. “But the turning point for me was when I realized the secret to programming is how you think about a problem. Sometimes that looks similar to solving an algebra problem and sometimes not. You don’t have to be a math whiz to be a good software developer. You DO have to be a good problem solver. If you can think logically, there is a good chance you will do well as a developer, too.”
Tamara encourages girls considering tech to go beyond online tutorials and get hands on.
“There are so many ways to explore computer science. You can try wearables like Jewel Bots or programmable Spheros that look like BB-8 from Star Wars. There’s even a construction set called Roominate for building wired dollhouses.
Look for opportunities to do more with toys--interacting with your wearables or a mini robot is so much more interactive and you can immediately see the results of your effort. If you enjoy that, then you may enjoy a career as a software developer.”