As a child, Preeti Raman was curious about the world around her. “While many of my early experiments in the kitchen failed, I learned to love science,” she says. “I also discovered that math was everywhere, from shopping to baking.”
Raman’s love for science and math eventually led her to become a computer science engineer and a leading web development specialist.
Raman credits her success in the male-dominated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field to her inquisitive nature, positive attitude, and nurturing support from her parents, teachers, peers, and colleagues. “I was always in an environment where I could try new things, take on new challenges, and try to solve problems,” she says.
Today, as Founder and Managing Director of ADDITY Inc., a research-based math teaching school, Raman is inspiring future female STEM leaders in a similar way. “I founded ADDITY to create the same type of environment I had for younger generations — one that’s inclusive and fosters growth in students of all abilities,” she says.
Women and web development a great fit
Raman is also an Advisory Council Member for the new Full-Stack Web Development program at the York University School of Continuing Studies, where she leads the program’s curriculum development. Full-stack web development — which includes building websites end-to-end, taking them apart, and fixing issues as required — is the fastest-growing job in the web development field.
It should come as no surprise that Raman is a strong advocate for having more female full-stack web developers in the workforce. “I think it’s a great career choice, because it involves critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving — things that women inherently excel at,” she says.
A flexible and inclusive program
Learning the required skills for this career, however, has typically meant spending a lot of money and taking time off to attend web development boot camps, which is not a realistic option for many people. But that’s changing. Through its innovative Certificate in Full-Stack Web Development program starting this fall, York University is making the field more accessible to everyone, regardless of gender or economic situation.
The program’s part-time format allows students to work and study while helping to remove financial and scheduling barriers. Students receive intensive training within a relaxed schedule with the lowest weekly time commitment, compared to other programs in Canada. Students are also able to work with employers on live web development programs to get real-world experience, hone their business and communications skills, and build their portfolios.
Diversity and inclusion is prominent in the program’s mandate. “The program is guided by a diverse group of leaders in the web development field, with equal gender representation,” says Raman.
Upon completion of the 12-month program, students come away with the ability to create end-to-end websites that meet specific business requirements, to discern and effectively communicate the overall architecture of any given website, and to use creative problem solving to troubleshoot issues and debug broken code, among other skills.
Best of all, with classes held during the evenings and weekends, the program accommodates the unique needs of women balancing work, family, and social commitments, making the prospect of pursuing a fulfilling STEM career in a short time more realistic than ever.