#WhyICode: Coding transformed my work life

Anna Felicity Friedman is the Creative and Marketing Director (and doer of most things!) at MyBodyGallery.com.


Coding (and technology in general) has allowed me to radically transform my work life. In 2013, I was a single mom going through a bitter divorce, and I needed flexibility and income. I started my own social media consulting business which morphed into a position for the body-image website MyBodyGallery.com (MBG).


At MBG, I was lucky to work under a supportive founder who offered me opportunities to learn on the job. I figured out how to edit HTML and CSS when things were glitchy, I gained the ability to write SQL queries, I learned a ton about the backend structure of a crowdsourced-material-driven website through managing a responsive redesign project and ongoing maintenance. And so much more.


By mid 2016, ever the data geek, I realized I held 75% of the skills to move into a more specific role with data. Machine learning and predictive analytics has always fascinated me, so I enrolled in a three-month coding bootcamp for data science. An intensive, full-time program was a perfect way for a single mom to learn to code—night classes were out (because I’d never see my daughter). My child and I were able to simultaneously go to school. Constrained by limited childcare options, the short-term commitment made this educational goal a reality for me, as I only needed to arrange babysitting here and there in the afternoons.


I’m proud that I can now properly code in Python and manipulate data in so many exciting ways. Some of the fruits of that labor can be found on my Github, and I’m looking forward to fleshing out those projects in coming months. I recently launched a Medium blog where I’ll be using some of my new skills to investigate the MBG data. There, you can read a corporate history and play with a data visualization that demonstrates MBG’s global reach—to all UN Member Nations except Nauru. (And hey, if you might happen to know anyone in Nauru, get them to visit the site.)


I’m not sure where these new adventures will take me, but learning to code has opened up a wealth of possibilities. My daughter has seen not only that women can succeed in tech, but that we should never stop learning.”

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