Heather Caudill is a development manager at PayPal in Timonium, Maryland and originator of the Girls in Tech summer camp held there, which affords local girls the opportunity to work in technology and to solve programming and coding problems.
Caudill has a B.S. in computer science and math and a masters in computer science, both from Towson University.
What inspired you to enter the tech field and to start Girls in Tech summer camp?
“When I was in the seventh grade, I took my first programming class and immediately fell in love. I knew then that I wanted to work in technology, because I was drawn to the logic. It was tangible and I could see the results. Programming and coding are so important in today’s world. They are also a tool to empower, which is the reason I started Girls in Tech summer camp. I wanted to nurture the next generation of female programmers. It is inspiring to see them work at something, have that ‘lightbulb’ moment and see the results of their work much as I did back in the seventh grade.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“As a development manager for PayPal, I oversee two software engineering teams and handle workflow for these teams. I have managerial as well as technical responsibilities, so I use all of my education to do this successfully. My work experience and background in programming are very helpful when it comes to the Girls in Tech program, because they enable me to teach the content and show the students (sometimes with patience) the logical order of steps to complete a task. Sometimes keeping them focused on a task is a challenge in itself!”
What does it take to be successful in what you do?
“Priorities often change with new challenges and projects always being introduced. To be successful, you need to have great communication skills, be highly organized, and be able to adapt quickly. Technical expertise is also required, but to be successful, you must be able to translate that into language easily understood by anyone at any level. Being results-driven is also essential, because at the end of the day, you must deliver results.”
What is some advice you can offer others interested in technology, especially coding and programming?
“It helps to start young. Get kids into technology at a young age, expose them to computers and programming to build interest and attain skills. Use the ed-tech programs available such as Teaching Kids Programming, which teaches people of all ages how to code. I think it is also up to the female engineers and software developers of today to support their fellow female engineers to ensure there are equal opportunities for tomorrow. In addition to my background, what really helped me was getting out of my comfort zone and beefing up my presentation skills.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which
she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.