Coding isn’t just for boys: stories of our women graduates
IT is still an extremely male-dominated field, which can prove to be intimidating for women considering to start a career in this sector. This is even more true in Japan, where they represent only a little above 10% of the tech workforce. But it doesn’t have to stay that way!
Since launching Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp in 2016, we welcomed many brilliant females and helped them move forward with their tech careers. Coming from different backgrounds, they all were excited about the career change and channeled an enormous amount of drive and enthusiasm.
At Le Wagon Tokyo, we strive to make quality tech education accessible to anyone with a drive to learn. There are no prerequisites for enrolling, such as background, age, past careers and most importantly, gender. Anyone can learn to code as easily as they would learn any other skill!
Our female students are coming from all over the world
To be honest with you, we haven’t closed the gender gap in our bootcamp just yet. With the percentage of women employed in the tech industry hovering around 13%, Japan is still not perfect for women in the industry — but we are working to change that:
⭐ We have been chosen as a Community Partner for WomenTechNetwork, a global community that promotes gender diversity in tech.
Discover the stories of Nicole, Laura, Fumiko and Noemi, four driven women who have followed their aspirations and learned programming from scratch.
We hope they’ll inspire you to take a chance and pursue your dream of a tech career!
♀️ Nicole Sano, Batch #310
Now: full-stack developer at Sumutasu Inc.With a major in history, Nicole spent 8 years of her career as a full-time translator. After playing around with HTML and CSS, she got hooked and decided to take the leap in tech, feeling a deep passion for programming languages.
9 weeks at the Le Wagon Tokyo coding bootcamp kept her brain overloaded but the experience was great. Two weeks after graduating, Nicole landed her first full-stack developer job in a real estate startup, Sumutasu. Since then, she has embarked on an exciting career that takes her on more challenging and interesting tasks as time goes on.
Being the only female developer at her company, Nicole hopes to set a good example of how women can succeed in tech.
'In both Japan and the US, women are traditionally supposed to care about the family. There is also a harmful stereotype that men are more science-oriented and women are into humanities. We have to get rid of those stereotypes so we can get more women in STEM and tech in the future’, says Nicole.
♀️ Laura Abowd, Batch #310
Now: freelance web developerBefore Le Wagon, Laura was a first grade teacher. Managing her team’s website at school made her think about creating a way for families to stay informed and posting resources to use with their child at home. When she realized that she could continue to help students and educators through tech, Laura decided to make the shift to programming.
Since graduating, she’s started freelancing and currently working on helping a small business owner build a web presence for his brand.She also volunteers for a youth coding program that hosts sessions for young girls to start learning the fundamentals of coding.
‘I believe women seeing other women in tech roles would continue to help empower women to make the transition into the tech industry. This could be anywhere from women mentors, to women hosting tech events and meetups. I also think that by empowering young girls at an early age to start seeing themselves in tech roles, women in the tech workforce will naturally continue to grow’, says Laura.
♀️ Fumiko Toyoda, Batch #165
Now: product manager at justInCase, Inc.
You're never too old to learn something new, even if it's coding.
Fumiko Toyoda was in her late 40s when she decided to apply for a full-time coding bootcamp. Prior to that, she had been climbing the career ladder in the insurance industry for over 20 years. In 2016, a Design Thinking course in Munich changed her mindset and motivated her to join Le Wagon to future-proof her life.
By going through the rigors of coding, Fumiko gained a sense of confidence and accomplishment, while maintaining and improving her current skills. After the program, she quickly secured a product manager position at JustInCase, an InsurTech startup.
‘Le Wagon gave me a map of how every tech product should be developed,’ says 51 y.o. Fumiko. From time to time, she writes scripts to automate her routine tasks - even though engineers didn’t believe she could code. ‘If diving into tech is what you want, don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of your goal’.
♀️ Noemi Ashizuka, Batch #363
Now: freelance web developerNever in her life did Noemi thought she would end up working as a web developer. She spent the majority of her career as a private tutor in London and always thought that coding was ‘difficult and required high-level math’.
The breaking moment in Noemi’s career came when her friend who went through a coding bootcamp and recommended her to also take a stab at programming. At first, she took advantage of the online courses but decided to switch to a full-time experience to accelerate her learning speed.
‘This experience really struck a chord with me. I didn’t understand anything about coding, but it turned out that no complicated math is needed to build software’, says Noemi.
As of now, she is busy with freelance work and polishing her portfolio for a full-time opportunity.Noemi is firm in her belief that employment should come along with a safe environment and support for female developers.
Are you interested in tech but reluctant to take a change?
As a woman in tech, you’re not only choosing a path full of bright opportunities for years ahead — you’re setting an example for other girls and women. We hope that stories from our female alumni inspire you to take a leap and pursue a tech education. Don’t wait for the ‘better’ timing — despite all the doubts, the future of women in technology is strong.