Girls Can Code

‘Computing is too important to be left to men’ declared British computer scientist Karen Sparck Jones, who campaigned to increase female participation in computing. Women have long been integrated in computing as evidenced by Ada Lovelace who lived from 1815-1852 and created the first computer programme with her analytical engine.

Recent role models are also apparent. Real life model, the world famous Karlie Kloss, has sponsored computer science scholarships with her Kode with Karlie programme. The BBC has also commissioned the series, Girls Can Code which sets to obliterate gender stereotypes and encourage entrepreneurship. So, women engaged in coding is increasingly apparent in the popular media.

Yet, a massive disparity between men and women in computing is apparent. Only 17% of the tech jobs in the UK are held by women, and women only account for 17% of business owners. In addition, only 7% of students studying Computer Science at A Level are women.

 

These statistics are enormously discouraging, especially since computing is undoubtedly the nationa's future. Technology today controls and/or affects so many things including the economy, our personal relationships with others, and tons of information – maps, directories, train times, etc. Women need to have a role in that control of power! We cannot let oursleves be prevented from participating in and shaping the world around us.

I might never have the programming ability of James Bond’s sidekick and the wearer of fantastic knitwear, Q, and even though I am potentially disadvantaged with no mathematical background (I still count on my fingers), I have managed to learn about programming. Code First: Girls runs a programme here in St Andrews that I thoroughly recommend. It is free, and the course teaches HTML, CSS, and JQUERY – if you have ever heard these words and want to find out what they mean, definitely sign up! In the course, everyone – no matter of initial knowledge – creates websites which are functional, visually attractive, and interactive. Pretty impressive considering most participants didn’t know how to download a zip file at the beginning of the course!

 

However, if you can’t wait until next year to start coding, check out these free ways to get into coding now:

1.       Dash Academy

2.        Code Avengers

3.       Codecademy

4.       Code Kingdoms

5.       Udacity

6.       Lynda