Jamie Lau is no stranger to fighting the good fight. Prior to attending the Grace Hopper Program, she worked at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), supporting their campaigns for human rights and social justice equality for Asian American and Pacific Islander women. It was there, while making edits to the NAPAWF website, that she was introduced to HTML, and the excitement of seeing her changes go live made her want to learn how to build an entire site herself.
Now a Grace Hopper grad and software engineer at PaintZen, Jamie is still interested in helping women achieve equality, and while obviously the tech industry is of personal interest to her, she believes in and is working toward empowering women across all industries.
360-Degree Support at Grace Hopper
When Jamie began looking at coding bootcamps, she only considered all-women options because she knew how challenging it would be to thrive in the male-dominated tech world. Immersing herself in an environment in which everyone around her understood the reality of what she and her cohort were up against was really important to her, and she found that at Grace Hopper.
The community was supportive, helpful, and empowering, and she’s still friends with women from her program. Beyond being surrounded by other women, she loved the deferred-tuition model because she knew that meant the Grace Hopper team would actively work to help grads get hired. After all, if grads don’t get jobs, the program doesn’t make money. That means Grace Hopper isn't just talking about the need for women in tech—we’re doing something tangible to help them get there.
Paying it Forward as a Fellow
After graduation, Jamie applied to be a teaching fellow so she could offer support to the women coming through the next cohort at Grace Hopper. She was ready for the questions she got, mostly because they were the very same she and her classmates had struggled with just a few months before. She loved seeing her experience come full circle and helping these new students succeed and learn the concepts through-and-through as she had.
Women-Oriented Tech Groups
Jamie feels strongly that no matter what industry we’re talking about, the way for women to achieve equality is by supporting each other. In this way, everyone benefits from the experiences of the collective. No matter what your challenge is—from negotiating a raise to having a rough time emotionally to feeling outnumbered in work meetings—no woman feels quite so alone when she’s part of a bigger community.
To actualize this philosophy in her own life, Jamie belongs to different groups that offer camaraderie among women, like Ladies Get Paid,Women Techmakers, and Tech Ladies. She encourages other women to join these sorts of groups so they can feel less alone and continue to break barriers in traditionally male-dominated industries.
And she offers a little advice to those women (and men!) who might be considering a coding bootcamp: Don’t wait until you feel ready. Sometimes, you just have to jump in and trust that you’ll learn as you go—and that your community will be there with you every step of the way.
Keep the inspiration flowing: Check out another empowering success story--this one from Grace Hopper grad Katy Eng.