A quick look at mobile app usage and gameplay statistics make one fact clear: Women use apps equally, if not more so than men. According to a new study by Nielsen, U.S. men use only slightly more apps, but women spend longer on them — 38 hours and 2 minutes per month, compared to 36 hours and 51 minutes per month for men, to be exact. Further, women spent more than five additional hours using mobile apps on their tablets, compared with men in Q4 2013 and more than two hours more on the mobile Web. Why then are most apps and mobile games developed by men? Where are the women app developers?
Taking our cue from the #Ilooklikeanengineer movement, the Leadbolt team set out to put some female faces to app development, and inspire more women to code and pursue a career in technology.
Our first stop was Sabio, a school in Los Angeles whose mission is to introduce more women and other individuals from underrepresented groups to the world of web and mobile app development.
Founded by Liliana Aide Monge in September 2013, the center is responsible for training hundreds of female coders and developers since its opening. It was there that we were introduced to Nicole Klein and Melissa Hargis, co-founders of Shortkey. Together they are launching their first app, Chorbit, launching October 25, 2015.
We sat down with Nicole and Melissa and asked them to share their journey to becoming app developers.
Tell us about your app, Chorbit:
Chorbit is an errands application. It will find you the quickest, most efficient route to accomplish multiple errands. Of course the app is location based, so it will locate you, or you can enter different beginning and end points. The app was designed for busy people.[LB] That’s an important point. Often women developers are recognized for creating apps that focus on “women’s” topics, such as wedding planning, ovulation calculators and motherhood/baby-related apps. It’s a good reminder that women are behind all sorts of other apps, from gaming to utility, that benefit men and women alike.
Where and when did you learn to code?
We both learned to code at an amazing bootcamp in Los Angeles called Sabio. We would highly recommend it to anyone trying to break into the tech industry coming from any background.
What were you doing before you started developing apps?[NK] I was working in finance on a financial advisor’s team. [MH] I was a college Spanish professor.
Aside from coding proficiency, what is the single trait, characteristic or skill that is most important to your success as an app developer or business professional?
Being resourceful is the most important, not only in coding but in business as well. Knowing where to go when you need help and how to use your resources to your advantage is a great skill to have.
Any advice for other women looking to break into the business?
You can do it!! The biggest challenge is believing you can do it. You should never say you “can’t” and from experience, you absolutely can. I feel that women trying to learn to code will be surprised to find how much easier it comes to them than they would think.
Do you have a personal motto, quote or mantra that keeps you motivated?
Don’t ever say negative thoughts out loud, they are more likely to come to fruition if you do. And keep fighting if you are passionate about your cause. With passion, success follows naturally.
Chorbit is available now from the App Store!
Calling App Developers: Are you a woman who codes? We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [biz dev at leadbolt dot com] to say hello.