Women in Coding
Ashton Sullivan never considered herself a “computer nerd” like her father and brothers. Though she found a rewarding career as a software developer for Drive Capital, many women have a difficult start getting into the tech world. Women are often discouraged from pursuing STEM fields from a young age, and as such, many of these careers remain male-dominated. In fact, only 20% of computer science professionals are women.
Luckily, several programs are cropping up to mend the gender gap in computer science careers. Many take place right here in Ohio. Here are a few local coding groups working to help women and girls launch their careers in the tech industry.
Programs for Women:
We Can Code IT’s mission? Championing social equity through technology. As a coding bootcamp, this organization gives workers the skills they need in software development, web development, programming and analytics. With classes available in Columbus, Cleveland and online, students can jump into a 14-16 week program and expect to make an average annual salary of $56k upon completion.
Girl Develop It empowers women of all backgrounds to learn about web and software development. Above all, the program prides itself on its affordability, hands-on style and judgement-free environment. Originally founded in New York City, Girl Develop It now boasts over 55,000 members nationwide. The Ohio chapter has programs in Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Ashton’s program, Tech Elevator! Though not specifically geared towards women, Tech Elevator prioritizes teaching students from diverse backgrounds how to code. 94% find programming jobs after graduation, with an average starting salary of $58k per year.
Programs for Middle and High School Girls:
Though 74% of young girls express interest in science and technology, many lose interest by the time they reach high school. As such, intervention during these early years is critical. The summer day-camp Blossom Scholastic gives 8-12 year old girls the opportunity to fall in love with science and technology using the kid-friendly program Scratch. In fact, 80% will continue to teach themselves STEM skills for fun after attending.
Saddened by the reports and statistics she saw on women in STEM fields, Purba Majumdar founded CoolTechGirls to give her daughter and others like her a chance to explore computer science and technology. Through workshops, mentorship programs, and partnerships with local tech companies, CoolTechGirls helps teenage girls find their passion for STEM in a supportive and collaborative environment.
Girls Who Code wants to close the gender gap in technology, which has only gotten worse over the years. Ranging from coding clubs to college loops to summer immersion programs, this organization intends to create a passion for programming. With a special focus on historically underrepresented groups, Girls Who Code has served over 185,000 girls to-date.