#MyStartInTech: Interview With Hilary Stohs-Krause, Co-organizer of MadisonWomen.Tech | Hacker Noon

The tech workforce in the US is not growing at an optimal pace. The number of schools offering computer science is not enough which is impacting the access of computer science to young women and students from marginalized communities.

The truth is that there are over 410,020 open computing jobs in the US but only 71,226 computer science students graduated into the tech workforce last year. 

This is because only 47% of public high schools in the US offer computer science which deeply impacts its access to young women and students from marginalized communities. 

To address this pressing issue, we have launched #MyStartInTech, a campaign dedicated to drawing attention to this cause and in turn, help widen access to computer science in schools. Learn more about the campaign by visiting www.startin.tech 

As part of this campaign, we present the #MyStartInTech interview series where some of the esteemed tech entrepreneurs and professionals in the industry share details about their journey in tech. With this, we hope to draw attention to the infinite opportunities that will lay open if young women and students are given the opportunity to study computer science.

In this interview, Hilary Stohs-Krause, Co-organizer of Madison Women in Tech and Co-owner & Senior Software Developer at Ten Forward Consulting, talks about how she got her start in the tech world. 

Let’s find out what she has to say!

When was your first interaction with Computer Science?

I was 12 when I had my first interaction with programming; my twin sister and I built a fansite dedicated to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. It had a counter, guestbook, sitemap, and we belonged to several webrings … all the classic ‘90s internet trappings. 

What nudged you into taking up a career in technology?

Despite enjoying programming as a kid, I was never encouraged to pursue it as a career, so I studied journalism in college instead. While working as a multimedia radio reporter, I found myself working with tech more and more as part of my job, and ultimately realized that was the career I actually wanted.

What are your earliest memories of using a computer in school?

A few years before I built my first website, my grade school built its first computer lab. We all had “computer class”, which primarily consisted of typing games. The admin settings weren’t very robust at the time, so I was able to get around them to play minesweeper instead. (I played way, way too much minesweeper.) 

What is the importance of technology to you now and how does it impact your day-to-day life? How important is it to increase access to computer science and technology to underrepresented communities and young women today?

I LOVE being a programmer. It’s a creative, challenging job, pays well, and my specific company works with primarily entrepreneurs and social impact companies, which adds an extra layer of excitement and fulfillment. 

That being said, the solutions we create in tech have to work for everyone, and we can’t do that if only a few types of people are in the room. Diversifying who builds our technology is vital. 

Why do you think access to computer literacy in school is important? What do you think about .Tech Domains taking up this cause?

Computer literacy is an essential skill in today’s world, and because technology equipment is still out of reach financially for many people, better incorporating it into our education system is critical for accessibility. I think it’s great that .Tech Domains and Code.org are championing this cause!

Learn more about #MyStartInTech campaign and lend your support at https://startin.tech/.

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