Women earn only 12% of computer science degrees today (down from 37% in 1984) so you’ve likely heard how difficult it is to find, let alone, hire a female engineer. Girls Who Code, one of the most popular coding programs for girls in the nation, aims to change that with their battle cry summer immersion programs. Following very successful program launches in NYC, San Francisco and Seattle, a chapter has finally arrived in Boston with today’s launch of their 2014 Summer Immersion Program at Twitter's Boston offices.
The summer program aims to be an über cool day camp for girls who want to learn all things coding. At its core, Girls Who Code mission it to give girls exposure to coding and technology culture with an aim to increase Computer Science majors and women in the technology profession. The organization believes it is critically important that people working on the solutions we all use, be gender balanced. Reshma Saujani, the Founder & CEO of Girls Who Code, eloquently zeros in on it by saying “from the middle school computer lab to the upper echelons of Silicon Valley, the tech world has been a boys club for too long. This summer, with the support of our industry partners, Girls Who Code is addressing the gender gap head on by giving young women a positive experience with computer science that will impact their education and career decisions down the road.”
The 7-week, Monday to Friday program will host 20 girls. Girls Who Code targets sophomore and junior high school girls, which is typically the age where decisions are made or ideas are formed about a career path. Girls Who Code's summer programs aim to form a “network effect” that support girl coding communities, which are rare. Applicants are chosen based on their expressed interest and commitment to the program, with a goal to have a balanced ethnic and socioeconomic mix of girls. The classroom lessons are interactive and cover the basics of coding, exposure to the various coding languages and interaction with speakers who are professionals working in technology. Participants will also take part in field trips to tech companies around the area. The aim is for this group of 20 girls in Massachusetts to morph into a number of community chapters and groups, focused on supporting the next generation of female hackers in New England.
Summer programs in NYC and San Francisco have been hugely successful in engaging this demographic. A recently hosted event with Google had 160 girls attend to meet and interact with the women who are working on their Driverless Car Project. Girls Who Code sees Boston as a natural community for events like this one and as a strategic partner in its mission to get girls interested and engaged in coding. Given our established technology community and thriving startup scene, the timing is truly is perfect for this chapter. Itself a growing startup, Girls Who Code wants to be creative and welcome all kinds of ideas and out of the box partnerships to help them grow their footprint in the Boston area. Anyone can get involved and there are many, many ways to help. They are currently looking for space to hold events, mentors for program participants, speakers, field trip locations and more. If you are interested in helping out, you can reach out to Emily Smith, who is leading the Boston program at firstname.lastname@example.org.