Toni Warren has a vision for making coding education affordable and accessible for adults looking to retrain or rebuild their resume. Through the Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild, an immersive not for profit coding education program, the organization bridges the gap for both job-seeking adults and companies in need of the craft and skill-set that they're teaching. The Academy at Suncoast Developers Guild opened its doors on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete in 2018.
Years in St. Pete
8 years in Tampa Bay, 4 years in St. Pete
Organizations involved in
Women Who Code, Girl Develop It, Suncoast Developers Guild Junior, National Day of Civic Hacking, Tampa Bay Hackathon, Innovation Summit, Emerging Tech Leaders, Tampa Bay Humane Society, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful.
What gets you out of bed every day?
People and helping them learn a skill that allows them to positively contribute to the community. I am motivated by working with community members and mentoring them to pursue their dream career in coding.
Why St. Pete?
St. Pete is attractive because of the arts and culture, the bustling tech scene, the food. Really it’s a creative city that allows designers and coders to thrive and on top of that it has absolutely beautiful weather and the people and city are so welcoming.
What is one habit that you keep?
Personally, I have a goal every day to see the Bay. I walk my dog every day to the Bay, it helps me realize I’m very small in this big world out there.
Professionally, I always ask myself what I can do better, what i can do to be a better community organizer, leader, mentor. Constantly refining my craft/skill.
Who are some people that influence you?
My sister. Her name is Samantha Warren, creator of Style Tiles and she’s a creative director at Adobe in San Franscisco. She’s the reason that I am a woman in tech. And I pay it forward by giving a talk about traditional and nontraditional jobs in tech. She’s an active leader in the community and she shares her knowledge, which has pushed me to also do that.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
A few years ago, my sister shared with me Lean In. That’s from a while ago but its still relevant. It empowers specifically women but all people to step in and really be confident. When I’m working with people who are learning a new craft they can really doubt themselves, and a big piece of that is instilling the confidence that they can do and that they’re good at doing it. And Lean In does that in many ways.
Another is David and Goliath, which tells a story about how there’s not just one way to be successful. People thinking outside the box, going outside the status quo still find success in that.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I don’t think that I realized the power of this type of education. I knew I wanted to be in the tech and education space. I knew we were delivering an education to people that didn’t have the opportunity to learn in-person. I didn’t realize how powerful this model is. This immersive, craft building model gives them an edge and skillset that is much larger than what I ever thought it was.
I am in the process of forming a not for profit immersive code school with a fabulous team that I’ve had the privilege of working with in the past at The Iron Yard. We will be opening the Suncoast Developers Guild hopefully in the next few months in downtown St. Pete, which is an in-person training center for adults to learn code education.