Attracting more women to computer science
It is well known that a gender gap remains in the tech sector, and while it is narrowing, computer science continues to see one of the largest gender gaps. There are plenty of people doing their share to change this, however.
People like Sammy Lowdermilk is program director for Tennessee Code Academy, a program of Launch Tennessee business accelerator The Biz Foundry, in Tennessee.
Lowdermilk said, “Coding education is a great way to get more girls involved in computer science – and to narrow the gender gap that currently exists. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, women earn just 18 percent of undergraduate degrees in computer science.
In his own words below are ways Lowdermilk says this gap can be narrowed:
Method one: workshops
Tennessee Code Academy’s 100 Girls of Code is a series of free, one-day coding workshops for girls ages 12 to 18. In its first tour of Tennessee, 150 young females attended the workshops, and 90 percent of the participants said they would consider a career or college degree in computer science after the workshop. That’s 15 percent more than respondents from Tennessee Code Academy’s coed camps. Getting girls interested in coding earlier in life is one way to narrow the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
Education World recently named 100 Girls of Code among four other programs dedicated to getting girls interested in computer science. 100 Girls of Code recently completed a successful round of Indiegogo crowdfunding to take its second tour of workshops outside of Tennessee.
Method two: apps
These days there is an app for everything, and coding education is no different. They are a great way to get kids involved in computer science. Some great apps include Kodable, Hopscotch and Scratch. Play-I robots look to be another great introduction into coding and robotics.
Method three: online classes and programs
Two organizations also mentioned in the Education World article offer online classes on development or programs young girls can use to learn to code. These tutorials are a great way to spread the coding education outside of the bigger cities and technology hubs. Tennessee Code Academy has recently partnered with Team Treehouse to offer their online programs at a discounted cost.
Lowdermilk and his team is involved in amazing programs like 100 Girls of Code, and with leaders in the field devoting time and resources to narrowing the gap, the future looks bright!
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