Mothers – make sure your daughters grow up to be coders

What She Said airs on Sirius XM satellite radio daily at 10:00 a.m. on Channel 167.
What She Said airs on Sirius XM satellite radio daily at 10:00 a.m. on Channel 167.

My favourite radio show is What She Said which broadcasts daily from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Sirius XM satellite radio Channel 167. I’m not able to catch it every day but when I do, there’s always something worthwhile to listen to while I’m in the car running errands. Boomer gals would love it and their guests always stimulate my imagination. The other day Christine Bentley made a comment that resonated with me. During a discussion about the tech world and jobs for young people, she suggested everyone should learn how to write computer code and she was so bang-on I made a note to remind you, my readers, about it.

It’s never too early to learn coding.

When I was still in the business world, computer software was developing and growing (and still is) faster than the flab around our middles.  Corporate resources were limited and programmers were not only too busy all the time, but difficult to find in the freelance market. Many tweaks that are required to existing software are not complicated and if you have basic knowledge of code, it’s possible to make changes yourself. Unless you’re me. I’m not a linear thinker. Maths and sciences were curses during my high school years and I envied those individuals (like my friend Brenda) who “got it” and could easily breeze through the equations to the correct conclusion.

coder2 Perhaps if basic coding were taught in schools, more people, both boys and girls would be able to work with code and build a career around software development. Last August I wrote about the importance of this skill (click here for Both my Left and Right Brain say go for it). As Christine Bentley said, software developers are in short supply; they can work wherever they want in whatever industry they want; they can name their price (supply and demand); they will never have to worry about being unemployed. Even if you’re not a full-time developer, having the skills makes the tech world infinitely easier to navigate every single day of your personal and business life. I failed the challenge, got kicked off the island and now I’m drifting around on a rudderless raft. Make sure any young people you know do not make the same mistake. So, I’m saying it again. Raise your daughters and sons to be coders. The next Mark Zuckerberg, Candy Crush or Angry Bird developer could be someone you know and if you’re nice to them, maybe they’ll pay for your upgrade to a private room in “the home”. I’d call that a good investment.


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Joy and ageism

Jennifer Lawrence is taking some undeserved heat for being chosen to play the role of someone at least ten years older than herself in the new moviejoy Joy. Based on the true story of Joy Mangano who invented and marketed the Miracle Mop on QVC, the movie tells the story of a divorced mother of two who manages to plough through the challenges of business sharks and a family dynamic worthy of  its own soap opera to build her brand into a success story. I do agree that the fresh-faced Lawrence does seem a bit young to play the harried real-life woman on whom the story is based, but she does it beautifully. In fact, she reminded me of an early Renee Zellweger before she replaced the original lovely face genetically bequeathed to her by her parents with a Hollywood-ized version that resembles every other starlet who walked out of a plastic surgeon’s office. But that’s another blog story.

I went to see Joy with two girlfriends and although the movie was a bit slow in spots at the beginning, we enjoyed the entire two hours, except for the popcorn being a bit too salty. On the issue of ageism in the movies I must confess I’m guilty of employing a bit of a double standard. I find the continual romantic pairing of older men with women/girls half their age to be annoying and somewhat disgusting. On the other hand, when an older woman is paired with a younger man I want to shout, “You go girl”. I feel justified through a weird sense of payback.

Who can figure out the rationale behind Hollywood casting? Usually younger women win out, sometimes at the expense of the integrity of the movie. What on earth were they thinking when they cast Sally Field as Tom Hanks’ mother with a bad wig in Forrest Gump or Susan Sarandon as Melissa McCarthy’s grandmother in Tammy? But I loved Jennifer Lawrence’s response to the criticism of her casting in Joy? She said that she’s negotiating with David O. Russell to play Robert de Niro’s mother in his next movie.

With a cast that includes Bradley Cooper (those eyes are worth the price of admission alone), Robert de Niro, Isabella Rossellini (who is wearing her age naturally) and Diane Ladd, it’s a lesson in how becoming a commercial success does not happen overnight; it’s not easy; it involves a lot of stress and hard work, and everyone’s family dynamic is complicated. But it has a happy ending. I recommend going to see Joy.

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