Making moves to close the tech gender gap: Yes! Girls code too.

Who said that coding is a man’s job? If you haven’t heard, the new trending topic is  #girlscodetoo. A novice may ask, “What is coding?” CodeQuest.com simply defines coding as “what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites.”  In fact, all of the technological devices that we depend on exist because of code. This includes, “your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook . . . they’re all made with code.”  In the last several years, the push to promote science and math education amongst girls has heightened. It is believed that the earlier we can get girls to embrace science and math, the more well-rounded they will be and better prepared to compete with their male counterparts.

WHY IT MATTERS

0.3%

In middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science. (Image and information taken from GirlsWhoCode.com)

Teaching girls how to code is one of the ways organizations across the country are showing that it’s past time to close the tech gender gap.  For those girls who want to take on the challenge, there are countless opportunities to get their code on. Last summer, the University of Alabama-Huntsville hosted the first Tech Trek in the state of Alabama. Rising 8th grade girls from across north Alabama were invited to attend a week-long residential Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (STEM) program.  During the program, campers created cell phone apps, built robots, and learned about engineering design among other things.

Tech Trek is not the only program aimed at promoting the desperate need for girls to enter technological based fields through learning how to code. A quick google search using the words “girls code” will bring up countless organizations that are now in the race to teach girls how to code.  One of the most popular groups is Girls Who Code. The founder, Reshma Saujni proudly states, “This is more than just a program. It’s a movement.” In fact, major corporations like Google who has initiated its $50 million dollar Made with Code program recently donated $190K to another group, Black Girls Code. The purpose of the donation is to provide money to support the code training of minority girls.  The movement is indeed growing.

Ironically, girls are not only the targeted audience. Women based groups are also hosting programs to teach women how to code as well. Once again, Made with Code has allotted money to pay for thousands of these women to attend Code School, an online web training school.  If these initiatives are successful we can expect to see a large increase in females moving towards careers in Engineering, Software Coding, Technical Writing and Computer Science.

If you or a girl you know are interested in learning how to code for personal projects or to advance your own career here are some helpful pointers:

  1. Locate one of the many groups that cater  to teaching women (there are monthly workshops and summer programs happening all across the country).
  2. Find online coding programs and tutorials from groups like Code Academy and Khan Academy (both are free).
  3. Enroll in boot camp coding programs in your area (you can receive one-on-one instruction but you will have to pay a substantial fee).
  4. Enroll in university courses (take programming classes in the university setting).

Anyone can code and be successful at it!  You’ll be proud that you learned a new skill. C’mon girls of all ages. Let’s start coding!

For more information on learning how to code visit: www.girlswhocode.com, womenwhocode.com, blackgirlscode.com

Keisha Kennemore

 

 

 

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