Why Tech is the Perfect Industry for Working Moms With Erica Peterson (S6E2)

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Moms do a lot! Between caring for kids and households and other responsibilities like jobs or classes, it can seem like there’s not enough time (or energy) in the day. But do you know what else they can do? Moms can code!

Erica PetersonErica Peterson sees tech as a perfect solution for working moms. As a new mom with a biology degree, she was working in a research lab when she realized that maintaining a work/life balance that way was simply too difficult. But being a stay-at-home mom felt unbalanced in the other direction, so Erica decided to try something new on her own.

remote job

Her first venture was a nonprofit called Science Tots, born out of her love for science. She started with classes in a church basement, leading parents and young children through activities to build early STEM skills. Now, the nonprofit works with schools and hosts large events.

While attending educational conferences to get new business ideas, Erica kept hearing about coding. She realized that since coding was probably something her son would be learning, she should try it too. To unite other moms who wanted to do the same thing, she started another group—and thus Moms Can Code began. Her online program connects moms with coding resources, mentors, and remote job opportunities to help them build a flexible life.

learning

In this episode, Erica talks about her journey, what she’s trying to accomplish with Moms Can Code, the flexibility of tech, and the importance of finding your passion. Listen below!

This episode was transcribed with the help of an AI transcription tool. Please forgive any typos.

Laurence Bradford 0:09
Hey, welcome to the Learn to Code With Me podcast. I'm your host, Laurence Bradford. Today we'll be learning about what it's like to be a busy mom working in tech while also starting a successful company with a growing community. But first, here's a quick word from our sponsors.

Laurence Bradford 0:26
Ready to accelerate your coding journey and break into software engineering. Flatiron School's comprehensive online software engineering immersive will give you the skills and support you need to launch your career. Start learning for free today with their coding bootcamp prep course at flatironschools.comm/learntocodewithme.

Laurence Bradford 0:48
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Laurence Bradford 1:12
In today's episode, I talk with Erica Peterson. Erica is the founder of Moms Can & Co, a daily newsletter that delivers mom friendly remote job opportunities, and moms can code an online community for moms learning how to code. She's also the board president of the Science Tots, which is a nonprofit organization which connects parents to the tools they need to power early childhood steam education. Today, we're going to be talking about how Erica has tough time in education led her to a career change in tech, the difficulties of being a working mom, and how starting moms can code changed her life. If you're a woman, especially a mom who wants to learn to code and launch a new career in technology, I think Erica has story is really going to inspire you. I hope you enjoy the episode.

Laurence Bradford 2:08
Hey, Erica, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Erica Peterson 2:11
Thank you so much for having me.

Laurence Bradford 2:12
I'm really excited to get to talk to you today you have like such a wide ranging background, there's so much to dive into, from your past from your, you know, present to your future. So I'm really excited. But to get things going, I would love if we could start talking or you tell us about some of your experiences when you were at school and when you were younger? Like what were you interested in? And what kind of person would you say you were when you were, you know, growing up and getting into adulthood?

Erica Peterson 2:41
Ooh, that's such a good question. Um, so I Okay, so my earliest like, beginnings in school were you know, my first language was Spanish. That's what I spoke at home and speak with my family. So my First experiences in school we're in headstart. I'm in New York City. And I just remember it being so much fun, so diverse. I'm like, I just remember being so excited to learn. I really my great grandmother, she is who raised me used to say like, it was a saying like that I was smarter than the pencil like it was it was just in Spanish, it sounds cuter. But I remember just being so excited to learn and take everything and even like at preschool at the end those headstart years, and I recently uncovered this box and it had some photos of those years and I'm there I am, like sitting with a pencil. Like there's children playing around me and I'm sitting there writing something I've no idea what I'm writing. Um, and then you know, in my early life, mentary years as I remember my first few years of elementary school, I was in a class for Spanish speaking children.

Erica Peterson 4:11
So, I mean, I remember speaking Spanish in the classroom and again, like, trying to hang on to every single word that my teachers would, you know, say when they when they read English books in English, I remember that being really a big deal. I remember also, you know, then in the early elementary school years, you know, just being again like, so excited to learn like I wanted, I so wanted, you know, this is way this is before, you know, this is like a world away. Now. I'm laughing about it because I really wanted encyclopedias like the the kids had on TV. I don't know, it seems really silly, but I really just wanted to take everything in. And I remember one time Time I always had an answer. And I think that's kind of just, you know, that's followed me into adulthood. Like, I love to learn about everything, take everything in and I've always been passionate about, you know, finding an answer and research. So I think that, you know, in everything I do, there's always this component of having that really strong research background and that passion for just really, really wanting to know more about everything.

Laurence Bradford 5:28
Oh, I didn't even realize you actually grew up in New York City, because of course you live in Pittsburgh now. Not to spend then, like all of your childhood and young adulthood. Yeah, yeah. In New York. Oh, okay. Cool. Um, and could you tell us a bit about what happened next like, like, like as you grew up, like, what you studied in school, like, you know, your life kind of before getting into tech and all you're doing today?

Erica Peterson 5:57
So I mean, it's been such a I I always say like, there's enough material for a lifetime movie. And like, I think I just said that line this weekend, you know, it's been, there's been a lot packed into now I'm 32, you know, packed into just three decades really. I went to a small Catholic school. And because I got good grades, there was such pressure to go to a really good High School. And, you know, that would mean so many more opportunities. And of course, that meant so much to, you know, to me and to, you know, my family, you know, again, I was raised by my great grandmother who had come from the Dominican Republic in the 60s. She barely had any education, um, and, you know, barely knew how to write and worked in a factory. I had, I had two full size sewing machines. From like, like factory sized sewing machines in my, my apartment growing up, so education was a big deal.

Erica Peterson 7:08
And I really, you know, felt a lot of pressure as I think I did my, I think my classmates who also, you know, had similar upbringings and whose parents were immigrants may be felt the same way, you know, that we had to go to good schools that we had to go on to, to go to college, because that was something that they never had. So I just remember, you know, having to take all these standardized tests, because my, my teachers and others were, you know, we're suggesting that I go to this private school, maybe I would get a scholarship, maybe I would get into the science highest schools, you know, that's a big deal in New York. Um, and, you know, maybe that I could get into this school in this school and there was just so much pressure to, to perform um, and early On in taking those exams, so this is eighth grade, and at this time, I'm 12. So I, when I went into high school, I was only 13. Um, and I just remember not getting into I won't say which school, but it broke my heart absolutely broke my heart. It's one of the schools on the Upper East Side. It's an all girls school. And I remember not getting in because I didn't have enough math.

Erica Peterson 8:28
You know, I just, you know, my small school didn't provide that level of math. And for that reason, I couldn't go on to go to this school and I was ineligible for a scholarship. And looking back, I you know, moments like that. I'm like, Oh, you know, that's so exciting because had I had, I think, at the time tuition for that school, you know, was 25,000 a year which is crazy. Um, but, you know, how do I have that money? How did I come from a different family like, you know, I would have gotten into that school, that wouldn't have been an issue, but because I didn't have the funds, you know, there was this reason to not accept me because I didn't have the math. Um, and, you know, that gave me kind of a different view of the world, you know, because up until then, I had been, you know, number one in my class, you know, number one of my little my little world, and then that's when I realized, like, I am a really tiny fish in a really, you know, huge ocean here. A really talented kids. Um, you know, that is something that I, I think, I don't know if it's particular to New York, but the amount of talent and the amount of smarts that I remember seeing, you know, my experiences in high school, you know, oh my gosh, like, wow, just talent in in all in all areas and then it In high school, I just did not cut it.

Erica Peterson 10:02
I mean, I went to school, I think I went to I've lost track I went to, I think four different high schools, um, and every experience was entirely different. And I just always felt inferior to all of the other students, because I didn't have you know, this traditional upbringing but I also didn't have like the these. These I think essential pieces that need to be in place for you to be a good student. I ended up not graduating high school, I convinced my assistant principal of the last high school I went to that I would be better off if they let me get my GED. I was 16 at the time. And I said, you know, that's the the youngest that that will allow you in New York State. So I went to the assistant principal and I asked, you know, can you please sign this form? I'll, I think I'll you know, I'll figure it out. I'll go to community college. Well, I don't know, but I'm not doing well here in high school. This, this doesn't work for me. And she signed the papers. I bought my own ticket. I that was online. It was outside of the city. So I had to like buy a train ticket, I'd figured out like how I was going to go to Grand Central Station, how I was going to take the train up north and take a cab to this community college. Take the testing, you know, that was going to be the end of my high school career. And that's what I did. So, you know, though, yeah.

Laurence Bradford 11:40
So it's also it's really just is so impressive and interesting is how you started high school when you were 13. So this was like during a three year period 13 to 16, which is like, such a fragile time, like just I'm thinking back to my own, you know, journey and what I was going through when I was, you know, around those ages, and it's definitely not easy, I think Wherever you're growing up, but I can definitely see in New York. it you know, and I, you know, I didn't grow up here but living here now as an adult, I feel like what you're explaining with the environment is really similar to what you know, a lot of adults feel like really cutthroat.

Laurence Bradford 12:15
Like, there's so much talent like there's so many people like, I always think, oh, if I was doing this, or I was living somewhere else, like I would be the best at something or not even or like, Oh, my apartment would be so nice if I live somewhere cuz imagine for this much I'm paying every month what I would get like, like, it's just like, everything would just be better if I was like, not here, like from living to the people in it like nicer people like, I don't know, but I can totally see how I can't even imagine what it would be like growing up here and going through all that. But I can totally get it put the amount of school like you mentioned earlier 25,000 a year. I mean, there are people in New York who pay that much or even more I think for like daycares and preschools for the kids. It's It's insane. It's like Anyway, so sorry I'm interjecting here, but I can totally understand how that all be difficult. Okay, so you so you took this the GED when you're 16 I'm assuming you, you, you passed it.

Erica Peterson 13:09
Yeah. So I went to, I went to the community college, and I sat down next to inmates. And I took the I remember that, like, because it was so like, surreal to me. Um, and, you know, they were they had, you know, they're, you know, the orange suits on. They were shocked they had the, the hand cut, not not that not the handcuffs or legs were coughed on and I remember that being like, being such a surreal moment that that was happening. But yeah, I passed. And then I just, you know, started taking classes wherever the Community College, a different school, you know, schools and trying to just figure stuff out because I knew do that from high school that, you know, I, I wasn't meant to do schooling in that way on that type of schedule, you know, the nine to five like Monday through Friday, even in high school, I didn't want that life, I would skip school and go to Central Park and have a coffee because I did not want to go to school. I would leave school early and and go to a concert, you know, whatever I wanted when I wanted which, you know, it's not you know, I have children now they should probably not do that. But but at the time I even then I always wanted to do my own thing. And I can see looking back how you know, even schedule wise, Monday through Friday not you know, eight to three school time did not work for me.

Laurence Bradford 14:52
Yeah, I never even thought about this before. But you know, like where I grew up, which was actually in Pennsylvania but the other side of the story You know, from where you're living now, when you would skip class, it was like your options. It was so boring. It was like a kid like walk to like, you know, the gas station or dunkin donuts. But in New York, like there's so many things you could do to skip school. I mean, there's concerts, there's museums, there's like things like within your fingertips. So yeah, I feel like if you were the you know, any person who thought about skipping school, it'd be so easy. There's so many options of cool things you could do aside from school. Yeah, but I getting getting off topic there. Um, so I know later. I don't not sure how much later this was, but you ended up studying biology. Could you talk a bit about that?

Erica Peterson 15:36
Yeah. So this is so in high school, you know, and I just mentioned, you know, I didn't get into this high school because my math was poor. And then in high school, I really liked science, but I was not good. Like I was not getting the A's. In math, I continue to be terrible at math. So whenever anyone would talk about it, career in science, whether I liked it or had that passion or not, I would kind of just, you know, dismiss it because, you know, I didn't have the grades so and in high school, um, and for the majority of people's lives, I think it even in Alina in college, that if you don't have the grades, if you don't have the GPA, that must mean that you are not capable, or that you you know, that you just don't understand the material or, you know, that that it doesn't equate to career in this field. And therefore you shouldn't try it. And so I didn't try it I like I said it kept skipping school and, you know, I kept I had internships and and did different things. So I used to go go to those.

Erica Peterson 16:45
And you know, that's a lot of the business stuff that I know today is actually as a result of like, those small internships that I had. So that's what I was into. Um, but as you know, we're talking about like the distractions. I love New York when I was 21, you know, when I was 21 a lot of my friends from you know, high school and I, you know, from the good high schools that, you know, I, I, you know, barely spent time in and friends from elementary school every a lot of people were graduating around 2122 and I was seeing them, you know, at the time on like Facebook and what they were up to, and I was like, Oh my gosh, I need to get my stuff together. And how can I do that? And I really had a passion for you know, music and and business and writing and I looked up on college, you know, college music journal CMJ was a big, you know, thing in New York, the festival every year. And I looked up the radio stations, the college radio stations and web you had the number three radio station. I'm at a college so I thought, okay, you know, It's in the middle of nowhere, I won't be able to there's there has to be nothing to do there.

Erica Peterson 18:05
And I can go there I can work at the radio station just finished my degree because I'd credits from everywhere. And I'll, I'll graduate and I'll come back home. And when I got there, there were so many majors, there was so much like, there were so many like buildings I had never like explored all of these different majors and the possibilities. I just didn't know. I had no idea that all of these things were possibilities. And I had to require a I had to take biology because they wouldn't they didn't accept the biology I had taken at the community college. And interestingly enough at the Community College in New York, my my professor of that class had asked me Do you want to do a research project, I think you'd be really good. And I totally brush that off. Absolutely brush that off. I, you know, I wish I could go back and talk to him.

Erica Peterson 19:04
And if he's still there, I might, you know, stop and hit his office one day because I cannot believe like, you know, there was like a sign from him, you know, and I just didn't like in the moment accepted or I don't know, but I think back to that moment all the time, like, why did I brush off that opportunity? And I go to West Virginia, and I'm taking a biology class and I had this wonderful ta teaching assistant who I still keep in touch with today. She's doing amazing work in around entrepreneurship and science and communication on and she approached me and she said, You know, I think I, you know, I think that you, you know, you're terrible at writing lab reports. And, you know, there's a few things you probably need to work on, but she suggested that I look into doing research with one of the one of the professors.

Erica Peterson 20:00
I just you know, I took her up on on that advice and I went into the professor's lab this time around and I said, you know, hi, I hear you study reproductive physiology that sounds really fascinating. What can I do? And he had asked how many classes have you taken? What's your grade? What are your grades? I thought the time I you know, had one taken one class and, um, my you know, grades or B or C I don't even remember at the time, and I would love to start and he he allowed me in his lab and I watched a lot of glassware and just watch the students for a really long time until I finally got some touch up iPad. And just being in the lab was so so cool to me because it was just every like all of the pieces of everything that I loved. Together, I got to, you know, do research, I got to think critically, I got to problem solve, and there was no right or wrong answer because you're finding stuff out. And when something doesn't work, it's, it's okay you keep trying again, try 30 times try 100 times until you get it right. And so that's how I found research. Um, and that's you know, I switched my major to animal science so that I could you know, spend all my time in this lab and and learn from from you know, that professor and the the graduate students that were there at the time.

Laurence Bradford 21:42
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Laurence Bradford 21:49
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Laurence Bradford 23:51
Wow. So yeah, you definitely do a lot of changes and you're in your teens and in your 20s but I want to try to like get more into that. You know the present day and where you sort of ended up now and I know you started science talks excuse me science talks I could you talk a bit about what that is and I noses really surprised skipping ahead several years if you want to do a quick run through the timeline and how you got to science tops then that'd be awesome.

Erica Peterson 24:17
Yeah, so long you know, long story short, I worked with this professor very closely. You know, it was really difficult getting it you know, given my background to, to be in this position and and get into the slob and you know, really worked my butt off and I get into the Ph. D program. And you know, at the time my now husband who is then my fiance, we find out we're having a baby and RP and Wallah, I'm in the first semester of the Ph. D. program. And in you know, not no one was really happy about that. Let's just, you know, that's just that and I I ended up having, you know, I ended up leaving the program, because it just wasn't a pleasant place to be around. At that time, you know, it was I was told that my having a baby at that time, you know, no, you know, like, bad timing.

Erica Peterson 25:20
Yeah, but I have a beautiful son, you know, um, and now I could care less. But, you know, at that time it felt to them that I was making a really poor decision and I wasn't gonna have any of that, you know, how dare you say something like that. So I, you know, left the program and I ended up working in a research lab. That was an interesting experience on completely different. But as a working mom, now I was doing research and I realized that it was going to be really difficult. You know, given just the time constraints. I used to go into the lab really, really late at night, sometimes on the weekends. Pre trials on sometimes just the experiments that you're doing, need that kind of attention. And, you know, if you're doing animal work with the research, you know, there's also timing, you know, if you have surgeries or different things that you're doing, you're not on your own time. And I went through that experience, and then I decided, you know, it's going to stay at home. And then I was, you know, as many stay at home moms, you know, that I know, like, go back and forth, like, What do I do? You know, I went to school, and now I'm at home, you know, so I went back to school, and I did a full year program at a hospital doing different like rotations.

Erica Peterson 26:42
And then I get hired again, and then that experience wasn't a good one either. And then I just kind of, you know, came to this, like, you know, like, that's enough. I'm not, I'm not asking anyone ever again, whether or not you know, Should have a baby can I have a baby can I leave to you know pick up my son who's not feeling well. I have a doctor's appointment like I just was over it. And I decided okay, what do I know? I know. I love little kids I you know, I'd love teaching other parents about you know, the STEM activities that I do with my son, and science.

Erica Peterson 27:28
Todd's ended up being you know, today it's a it's a nonprofit organization that goes and does large events and we table and have different types of STEM activities. But it started out really small me doing class offering classes and church basements data, like literally anyone who would have me and let me charge $15 for a class. I was their travels all like, all the way halfway up the state to West Virginia to Ohio. Like anywhere anyone would have me to just, you know, share with other parents and now little kids, you know, this love of science. And so that's what science taught, you know, science talks today gets is a totally different, you know, organization, I get to train other moms to go out into preschools and do the activities that I used to do in those church basements. And this summer, we get to, we just got some grant funding to bring virtual reality and augmented reality exhibits, to you know, community day events out at parks in different locations around western Pennsylvania.

Laurence Bradford 28:39
Wow, that is so cool. And I'm like, I love how it started as you just teaching these classes in basements and kids and their parents would come along, just out of curiosity, how old are like the kids that you're teaching to?

Erica Peterson 28:52
So they're seven and under, but I started with kids five and under. So I was teaching two and three year olds. how to how to, you know the basics of circuitry using conductive playdough. That's, you know, that's out of this university of minnesota that Professor created. It's called squishy circuits and you create conductive playdough. And you make circuits and like, the, the aura in their eyes when they see an LED light turned on, oh my gosh, like, Oh, it's so adorable.

Laurence Bradford 29:25
Oh, yes, that is so cool. So that's not the only thing that you do, though, right? Like you have this Okay, so it's nonprofit science. But then you also have moms can code can you talk a bit about that and how that started.

Erica Peterson 29:36
So through science tots, I started going to the education conferences, just to see you know, what's next and you know, learn more about because I had been doing stem but I didn't really like, you know, stand apart. And like, look at the ecosystem of what is STEM education. What Why, why do we have this thing called stem Does this fall in the education system? And what is this? You know, why is this become an initiative, etc. And through going through those education conferences, I started learning about, you know, design thinking commonly, you know, the computational thinking, peer based learning, project based learning, and coding kept coming up, because a lot of the coding when you're coding a lot of those, you know, project based peer based learning, like when you know, that's pair programming, when you're doing project based learning with coding that's building a project together, computational thinking you do that when you're coding.

Erica Peterson 30:40
So coding kept coming up. And I, you know, realized, Oh, my God, Mike, my son is unprepared for what's coming. I had taken coding classes, you know, in college, I had created my own websites when I was in high school, but what I was viewing As what my son was going to be doing in just kindergarten and first grade, I felt so unprepared and like I had mentioned, like, I'm terrible at math. So I was, you know, just bracing myself for having to review or take, you know, at Udacity or whatever class on math. But this was, this was such an eye opening experience to go and see administrators and teachers and, you know, companies and entrepreneurs and everyone here like talking about, you know, what it was to common schools. And I felt like, I need to share this with other moms. And I, I reached out to other moms at times, and I would say, you know, is anyone interested in learning how to code and they would ask what's coding? And, you know, I tried another time and I remember, you know, trying to do something one, I think it was a Computer Science Education Week, you know, long before moms can code started and There's just absolutely, there was interest, but it was it was kind of flat compared to the response that I had gotten with science tots.

Erica Peterson 32:09
And I was like, what's going on? Like, what do I have to say here? You know, because I still think this is so important. And I there have to be other moms who are interested, you know, at least for my own child's sake, like, I need to brush up on this. And I instant, you know, went on, you know, science talks was very much an in person, me in people's faces effort, like passing out flyers at the mall, like everywhere. And then with moms can code I went online, and I asked in a couple of group Facebook groups, you know, are there moms out there who code or, you know, are you interested in learning how to code with me, you know, let's do it. And and that was the start of moms can code.

Laurence Bradford 32:55
Wow, that's Yeah, that's really awesome. And it's, it's great. Well, it's not crazy, but it's interesting. Like, you know, took these different paths. The one is like the in person, you know, in the basement and the other is all done online, but it's really awesome. So for people now are moms moms can code today. And you know, I follow you on Instagram, and I've seen like your website and other and other things that you're eating you're putting out there, obviously, like the demographic is moms, but it's like, what are the moms trying to do? Like, is it moms that want to teach their children how to code? Is it moms that want a career coin himself? Is it like a blend of things?

Erica Peterson 33:33
So, at first, you know, I thought it was you know, at first it was okay, I think that everyone's just here, you know, because everyone wants to learn how to code whether it's for a hobby or for a career, and then, you know, over the past year, and they, you know, as I as a business startup founder have evolved, right? I realized what was really, you know, the, the ultimate goal here for all of us is to work from home. And that's where we are today. So moms can code has, you know, evolved with the community and what the needs are of the moms. And there is the need to work from home, I get to work from home and it's been life changing.

Erica Peterson 34:34
You know, I wish it for everyone. Especially to have you know, this flexibility as a parent is just so key. And, you know, through moms can code you know, we're now we have an online program that helps moms learn how to code and connects them to industry leaders and tech as their you know, one on one mentors during this program. They Do the peer learning and, you know, all these these things, and then we have the community, but the ultimate goal is to work from home. And that means many different things. Um, you know, when we talk about a career, you know, often the thought is that it's to go work for someone else. And that's not necessarily, you know, that's not necessarily the end game for many people. But the common thread is working from home.

Laurence Bradford 35:28
Got it that makes a ton of sense of, you know, how it evolved over time and with with the community and yeah, like working from home or just having that flexibility is so important. I mean, I'm not a parent, but I can only imagine how much more important it would be. If I were a parent, how much more how much easier would make life because yeah, it's really hard to just like doctor's appointments and all these little things that can come up during the day having flexibility is just like an additional peace of mind and just makes life like easier than having to go Above and Beyond trying to coordinate everything. So why do you think that tech is such a good industry for moms to work in?

Erica Peterson 36:07
Yeah, this is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. Because it's, it's obviously a question that I get a lot. And I think that, you know, today the answer to that question is, you know, when we see tech as this other industry, I think that's such a narrow view, because it makes it you know, it's, it's this other one, in fact, all of the business that we do is primarily online, like what is not tech today, you know, there are very few jobs that don't require tech, you know, in your day to day and, you know, off the top of my head, maybe, you know, maybe being a bus driver or a police officer, but, you know, everyone is intact, you know, there's there's not anything that that Isn't transacted online today. So, I think that when we say now, you know, why is tech a good industry for, you know, and from, you know, in our case for moms, it's, it's the ability to work at all, you know, for so we started an online newsletter, and online nightly newsletter where we share remote job opportunities for moms. And about more than half of them do require some technical knowledge.

Erica Peterson 37:31
So it's not even necessarily like, you know, you know, good And just like that, it's tech is a good industry for moms. It's just that that's the boy that's where work is. So it means employment, it means, you know, saving money for for college for your kids. It's, it means, you know, a, you know, a break means babysitting money. It means you know, putting down a down payment, maybe on a house It means a retirement fund for yourself. You know, that's such a huge thing that we don't, you know, don't even talk about when you you're not working, you know, and you don't have a 401k you know, what's a mom to do? You know, I, I don't have a 401k so I'm, I, you know, I've just recently realized this myself, I'm, I'm going to be working till I'm 80. Um, and there's just, that's just the way to work. And that's the way to build wealth and that's the way to, to, you know, get ahead now. So I think that, you know, that that we need to kind of shift that thinking like, it's not this other industry, it's, it's worth it just means that this is how we work and we do business now. This is how we find our clothes. This is how we get our groceries. This is how we get a car. This is how we hail a cab, you know. It's just a part of our life and We should be able to find employment in the very things and industries and, and products and places that we use.

Laurence Bradford 39:10
So if someone is listening to this podcast right now, and they're a mom, and they're just starting to teach themselves how to code or maybe they aren't even there yet, they're just thinking about it and thinking about it as a career. What is one piece of advice? What is one piece of advice that you would give them?

Erica Peterson 39:29
I would say to something that I wish that more and this is a huge part of our community and a huge part of our online program. Because it's something that I truly do believe in that, you know, you need to start with something that you're passionate about. And and work towards building or having an idea of building something that would be useful to you or solves a problem that you care about. When you're you know, if you think about the way that You know what, like, I think about, you know, when I was doing research like, you know, if I had just gone through the classes and like learned in that way like, Okay, this is you know, these are these hormone lights studied reproductive physiology. So these are these hormones and this and this and this that would have been passionless if I had not discovered research first and had a problem to solve. And much of our, you know, when I think about like, you know, the way that you learned, maybe, you know, in high school, you always had a paper to show your work for that.

Erica Peterson 40:37
There's always been a way to assess your learning, something to show for your learning. So, if you're starting out, I would say to start with, okay, having an idea of something that you'd want to build and be passionate about in mind and work towards finding out how to build that instead of just mindlessly going through. You know, all of the laughs And all of the things because the honest truth and I don't you know, I hope that you know, I don't think anyone knows, you know, disagree with this. There's so much out there you, you know you the learning also never ends. So if you're always chasing like okay now I need to know this language and this language and this language and this language, right that's never going to end. But if you really think about what is something that you'd be passionate about building or, you know, a, you know, open source project that you'd be, you know, interested in collapse, you know, contributing to that makes it so much more worthwhile and fun. things should be fun.

Laurence Bradford 41:37
Yeah, definitely passion and fun, and I can't agree more. Thank you so much, Erica, though for coming on and sharing your advice and inspiring all the moms and non moms and everyone out there with your story. It's amazing to see like where you started and you know where you have ended up today and you know, you're still the right in your early 30s. You have like a whole career ahead of you and a whole life ahead of you. It's really awesome to see how you're gonna progress and you know, the more folks you're going to help and I just, you know, I just want to I love what you're doing with moms and could I think it's so smart. I mean, I remember a couple years ago, in my own Facebook group, seeing a bunch of moms posting questions that really very mom specific and I can't, I skipped industrials, and I can't like really answer because I'm not a mom. And I don't I mean, I can imagine what it could be like, but I don't really know. So I think it's awesome that you're bringing that community together. Where can people find you online?

Erica Peterson 42:27
So people can find me on Twitter at Founder Mama so founder M-A-M-A, and then on our website at momscancode.com and if you're interested in getting that daily newsletter, that's that momscan.co.

Erica Peterson 42:44
Awesome. Thanks again for coming on.

Erica Peterson 42:45
Thank you.

Laurence Bradford 42:52
Thanks for listening. If you want a recap of this episode, you can find the show notes at learntocodewith.me/podcast. From there, you can browse through recent episodes for find old favorites using the search icon in the upper right corner. If you enjoyed this episode, you can subscribe to my show on whichever podcast player you use. For more free tech related resources, tips and recommendations, visit my website and blog at learntocodewith.me. Tune in again next week for a new episode of the Learn to Code With Me podcast. See you then.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tech isn’t a scary, inaccessible industry—it’s all around us and open to anyone
  • Working in tech can mean saving for college for the kids, putting a downpayment on a house, or building a retirement fund, all while keeping space and time for your family
  • Start with something that you’re passionate about. Think of something that would be useful to you or solves a problem that you care about, and work towards building that.
  • Have a plan. If you just go through all the lessons and courses that you can find, you could be learning forever. Dabble at first, but with the goal of finding something you enjoy and starting on a specific path.
  • Have fun with it and embrace the new opportunities tech brings your way!

Links and mentions from the episode:

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