From looking for means to create a better life for herself and her three kids, this entrepreneur embarked on a mission to transform even more lives.
“We’re teaching kids and students how to produce technology, instead of consuming it!”
Teaching young minds the power of passion, leveraging on addiction of video games to infuse learning for kids, top coder Sharen Eddings, founder and CEO of CodeWithSharen, has launched a coding lesson workshop for younger generation.
“Coding doesn’t only teach you about technicality, but also a lot of other skills such as critical thinking and problem solving,” Eddings stated.
Determined to forge ahead in spite of the pandemic, Eddings switched her coding class virtual and even developed her own software to keep students engaged regardless of the digital format. Her students consist of children from grade six and up.
Road to coding:
Eddings needed a better life, as well as better healthcare and a better career path, this inspired her to a computer programming at a local library where she fell in love with it.
“I saw a lot of potential with the subject matter and decided to put what I learned into my resume. Two weeks later, I landed myself a job at a tech company, and it has changed my life ever since,” Eddings. I had better wages and opportunities and no longer saw the glass ceiling.”
Explaining, she stated working as a computer programmer has been nothing short of remarkable, “Tech companies pay for their employees to think, they would even pay for you to continue your education,” she explained.
“I would brainstorm with my co-workers to solve a coding problem and talk to them about my family at the same time. Everyone knew about my sons and would even ask about them,” she stated, “In the tech world, you’re not merely an employee. You get to keep the role that you have outside of work as a mother, father, sister, or daughter,” she stated.
As a mother of three, Eddings loves the tech world as it provides flexible working hours and the liberty to work at home. “Freedom” was the word she emphasized when asked to describe what success is as a coder, “If you can control your future in any shape or form, that’s a success. If you’re someone who is looking for a change in lifestyle, this is the job that you’re looking for,” she stated.
Her passion for computer programming pushed her further to build her coding program. “I started small with just my son and his classmates four years ago,” Eddings explained, “Then, I started to volunteer in different schools, which soon turned into an after-school program.”
Through the program, Eddings teaches kids how to read, write, and develop code. “There was a lot of excitement for it! I started with fifteen students, which quickly became twenty-five as they kept on sneaking into my classroom,” she said excitedly, “At some point, I was trying to figure out how to multiply myself because the demand was becoming really high, and that’s when I came up with the virtual online lessons.”
With the pandemic setting in and the growing number of students, Eddings plans to take her virtual lesson to the next level as she seeks funding. “Seeking funding is pretty challenging,” Eddings admits. Even though the tech world appreciates her as a working mother, the investing firms? Not so much. According to a research study in 2019, there’s barely one percent of Black female founders in the tech industry who get approved for funding and grants. “Convincing parents to put their kids through a coding lesson can also be challenging at times. A lot of them think that their kids can’t handle it, which is not true at all,” Eddings argued, “In reality, kids are brilliant, plus, parents can also learn it too with their kids!”
Through CodeWithSharen, kids won’t only learn how to code, but also how to expand their creativity. Eddings sets a time for her students to apply their skills into something fun and tangible. “That time is called Free Fridays, and during Free Fridays, students are encouraged to apply what they’ve learned during the week,” Eddings stated. “I remember having a student who was able to recreate the user-interface of a bridal website by the end of an after-school program!” Eddings proclaimed, “We want to teach children to become the producers of technology and not only consumers of technology.”