Saturday, August 26 is National Webmistress Day and Women’s Equality Day – a two-fold celebration for the ladies at Lee Media Group. Webmistress Day honors female web developers and the strides they’ve made in this previously male dominated field. As a certified Woman-Owned Business in the state of Kansas, Lee Media Group is lucky to have two full time female web developers. We also have a girl boss (@webbiegirl on social media) who developed the first HTML course in Wichita.
I work with these women every day so I know firsthand how much passion they have for a job that takes extraordinary talent and skill. I like to say, “they are wizards, and we are muggles.” The web team loves it when I make Harry Potter references. In honor of Webmistress Day, I asked our resident magic-makers a few questions about what drew them to this challenging field and what advice they have for the webbiegirls of the future.
What inspired you to go into web design/development? – When I was in high school, I found out I could build my own web pages for free and have my own space on the internet. I taught myself how so I could have my own pretty website.
Is there a woman in the tech field you look up to? – Just Mia, I guess. It’s pretty awesome how she was able to build this whole company on her own.
What special skills are required to be a great web developer? – Patience, for sure, and the ability to solve problems without freaking out.
Disney Princess or Comic book heroine? Who would you be for a day and why? – Comic book! I would pick Tank Girl because who doesn’t want a tank?
What advice would you give little girls who want to enter a tech field? – Think of a project, and then figure out how you can build it. You might be copying and pasting a lot of examples at first, but you’ll start picking things up along the way.
Erin Thompson – Web Developer
What inspired you to go into web design/development? – I have always been interested in technology and how things work. I grew up on the internet and always wanted to help make it a cooler place.
Is there a woman in the tech field you look up to? – This is gonna sound like I’m sucking up but I really look up to Mia. She has a masters in technology and did a lot of pioneering in her days. Also, Ada Lovelace, she wrote the first computer program.
What special skills are required to be a great web developer? – Attention to detail. Patience because things break a lot and if you lose your cool you will never get it fixed. The ability to concentrate on one thing for hours. Actually, I think you have to be a little kooky to want to be a developer.
Has anyone ever underestimated your skills because you’re a woman? – Surprisingly, no. I think woman have fought so hard for so many years in STEM fields that people are starting to recognize talent is not solely based on gender
Disney Princess or Comic book heroine? Who would you be for a day and why? – As much as I love comic books, I would probably go with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. That castle and library are AMAZING.
What advice would you give little girls who want to enter a tech field? – My advice would be to just go out there and make something. It doesn’t matter if it’s terrible or doesn’t work right. The best way to learn how to build/do anything is to just try. You can also take free classes at Codeacademy.
What inspired you to go into web design/development? – My love for the web started more than 20 years ago on the day it was introduced to the company I was working for – Boeing. I became so excited about the ability to create something that could be shared on a platform with the entire world. I asked permission to spend my workday learning about this new thing which led to teaching others how to do it. I developed the first HTML course and started teaching other departments how to build websites. I’ve never looked back and still love being involved with this process today.
What was it like being a woman in the early days of web development? – My curiosity had to be satisfied by seeking answers from men. Thankfully, I was fortunate to have a few friends that patiently answered my questions. However, I remember this period of my life being a monumental struggle trying to prove that a woman was smart enough and capable enough to use this technology. Things are much different today.
I am so proud of our company which is certified in the state of Kansas as a woman-owned business. We have two web developers who blow it out of the water every day. Building custom websites from the ground up was our first service and remains the longest service we’ve provided. Tabytha and I have worked together nearly 10 years. It’s a dream come true that we work together side-by-side doing what we love. We’re lucky to work alongside other women who are pretty awesome at what they do too.