#CodingIcon Naomi Wu - Dismantling Stereotypes!

#CodingIcon is a mini-series from Jewelbots highlighting the amazing women building the things we use everyday.

Naomi Wu is a maker and hardware enthusiast from Shenzhen, China who is challenging both gender and tech stereotypes on a daily basis. She can usually be found dressed in a crop top and wearable tech and her flamboyant, public personality has gained her visibility as a strong advocate for women in STEM, open source tech, and DIY maker projects.  

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She works full time as a web developer, and on the side, Naomi uses her YouTube Channel, Sexy Cyborg, to share about her life in China and her tech projects. Her content ranges from guides for setting up 3D printers to demoing how to create high-tech wearables; making her a popular on Reddit and other sites. Some project favorites are Naomi's LED Infinity Skirt and Tampon Magazine Dispenser!

Although Naomi's appearance is controversial, she is very well aware of the fact and uses it to her advantage. Knowing that women in tech are rarely featured (especially in Chinese news), Naomi uses her bold style to reach her audience, and has her strong mind do the talking.

Her fashion direction may make people a bit uncomfortable, but Naomi takes pride in her nonconformity. Living in a city of 12 million people, she has not seen a single person who has the same style. Some see Naomi as "not family friendly", so she is often not allowed at tech conferences and conventions. However, Naomi is quick to point out hypocrisy within the tech and maker community as male makers use sexy girls to deliver products. Standing up for women in STEM is a focal point in Naomi's work.

Full Name: Naomi Wu
Fun Fact: She made Pi Palette - a hacker's cosmetic case
YouTube: SexyCyborg
What's your position at work?
Junior Web Developer
Who are/were your role models?
Limor Fried, Liz Fong-Jones. Limor supported me from the very beginning when I started doing hardware projects, Liz just stepped up and fought for me like no one ever has when my problems with inclusion got really bad. Both amazing women. So many women have helped me along the way to be honest, I hope I'm not doing them a disservice by singling Limor and Liz out but they are fresh in my mind this week...
How old were you when you learned to code?
20 years old
Naomi is known for her awesome 3D printed projects (find them on Thingiverse!)
How did you learn?
Online. CodeCombat.com then CodeCademy.com, TeamTreeHouse.com then One Month Rails (OneMonth.com). I had no interest in coding really, just needed work and already had good math and study skills. I just threw a ton of hours at it, pure brute force. Eight hours a day for months, flash cards, all that. Probably took me more time than anyone in history LOL but I finally got through enough to get entry-level work.
What's your favorite part of being a coder?
Freedom. For personal reasons I have a bit of an unconventional appearance, it's a gender expression issue so quite important to me. It makes the typical Chinese workplace environment, or most office environments for that matter not really an option. So I freelance online under male pseudonym. No one knows what I look like, I have absolute freedom, am paid and judged entirely by the quality of my code. It puts a cap on career development- I can't do voice or video chat, can't show up at conferences or collaborate in person. But that anonymity and freedom is worth an enormous amount to me so I can accept those limits.
Naomi isn't afraid to share her opinions!