Lyndsey Scott is a Victoria's Secret Model and Black Girl Who Codes1/04/2014
For many, the mental image of a computer programmer is still a socially awkward, white, male. Women and people of color are increasingly br...
For many, the mental image of a computer programmer is still a socially awkward, white, male. Women and people of color are increasingly breaking down those stereotypes of making their presence felt in the world of coding.
Thanks to programs like Black Girls Code, more and more little girls who never would explored the world of Ruby on Rails, Python, and C++ are being introduced. And they're finding high profile role models -- sometimes in unlikely places.
Lyndsey Scott is a sought after model who has walked the runways for Victoria's Secret, Gucci and Prada. She also develops apps in her free time. Educate! enables users to donate to youth in Africa and iPort allows models and creatives publish attractive digital portfolios.
Business Insider caught up with Lyndsey about her passion. Read excerpts of the Q&A below.
Business Insideer: When did you get into coding?
Lyndsey Scott: I started programming games on my TI-89 calculator in middle school or early high school, but I never thought of it as “coding.” I just thought of it as a way to create cool games to play with.
BI: How did you choose computer science as a major? What school did you go to?
LS: From the very beginning, I knew I'd pursue theatre as a major and thought I'd pursue Economics as a second. Luckily, I went to Amherst College and the open curriculum there allowed me to try all different things. I took Russian and English Literature courses, I took math courses ... At some point I backed away from Econ, considered majoring in Physics, but since Physics didn't fit into my schedule during one semester, I decided to give Comp. Sci. a try. Right away, I was hooked. It was an easy decision. My mind just wrapped itself around those particular concepts and logic so easily.
Lyndsey goes on to talk about her current projects.
BI: Did you consider any software engineering jobs after college?
LS: I didn't consider any software engineering jobs. I knew I wanted to pursue acting and I started auditioning in NY as soon as I graduated.
BI: What made you decide to get back into coding? How long have you been a "lurker" on Stack Overflow?
LS: I've intermittently done programming of some kind or another since college and though I only created my profile once I needed to ask my first question, I probably have read forum posts on Stack Overflow for a few years now.
BI: What other languages do you have experience with? What do you like and dislike about the languages/tool sets you worked with?
LS: I've programmed in Java, C++, Python, and I've also done a little programming in MIPS. I'm a huge fan of Python – it's super intuitive and I imagine if I were to write my own programming language, it would look a lot like Python. But at the same time, I tend to focus on one language at a time and I'm so immersed in Objective-C right now that my Python would definitely need a brush up if I were to get back to it.
BI: What are you working on now?
LS: I'm currently working on a pretty cool networking app that I hope to release within the next month.
BI: Are you aiming at the iPhone, the iPad, or both for your app(s)?
LS: It depends... My iPort app (available on the Apple App Store) is solely for iPads since it's a portfolio app for models and other artists that is best viewed and edited from a larger device; but in most cases, I prefer to design my apps for use on both iPhones and iPads just to give users the option.
BI: What's your current development machine? Do you have a special work setup?
LS: Just my MacBook Air for now. I'm definitely considering an upgrade though because, although it's a great device and easily portable, I keep running out of space.
Finally, Lyndsey discusses the gender disparity in technology.
BI: There's been a bit of controversy lately with a particular VC claiming that it's tough to get girls into coding and computers. Do you think that's true? What do you think needs to be done to get more young women into computer science?
LS: Ha, yes, I'm aware of the controversy. I read through his interview and although I think people are definitely reaching by calling him "sexist." Thirteen-year-old girls can easily become interested in computers and technology as long as they're given the opportunity.
I know I personally became interested in programming when I was 13 or younger as soon as I realized I had a TI-89 calculator capable of being programmed and a book full of documentation. I think, in general, many young people would love to better understand what goes into making the technology they use on a regular basis, but too few of them are given the opportunity.
Just last month though, students around the world were in fact given an opportunity with the release of Code.org's Hour Of Code and over 20 million of them tried programming for the first time within weeks. And please pass along this message for me to this “particular VC”: Most of them were girls!
Related:Study Finds Black Women Continue to be Left Behind in STEM
21 Black Women in Tech to Know