Coding? Two New Companies Inspire Girls in Tech
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Laura Plant
Laura Lyn Plant is a Director at Ladies Learning Code and Co-Founder of HackerYou (@llcodedotcom and @thisishackeryou). The link between technology and human relationships fascinates her. This has ignited a personal passion for exploring and helping others – women in particular – to learn how to leverage and evolve the technology available to us in our world today and even tomorrow.
I am often asked about why I think there aren't more women in tech, and I have always embraced this discussion among others concerning issues of diversity or lack thereof. Honestly, I believe there are a lot of contributing factors to these realities. But really, I always prefer to talk about why we need more women in tech and what we Aunties can do to encourage our teenage and college-bound nieces and create more gender diversity. This leaves me with direction. This is why Ladies Learning Code and Girls Learning Code exist and why we love what we do so much.
Tech companies really understand, now more than ever, the value of gender diversity in this industry. Simply put: it's smart business. With diversity comes unique perspectives and ideas. Any lack of diversity will, in consequence, make innovation and forward thinking difficult. Aunties, take note that not only are you good for tech, frankly tech is good for you and the innovative niece in your life. Technology is powerful, and leveraging this power can help you do great things. Embracing technology and its resources can be very empowering, whether it is through making a career out of engineering or building tools to help us share our passions or purpose with the world.
Initiatives like ours, Ladies Learning Code, are helping bring this issue to the forefront and providing opportunities for you to develop technical skills in a way that has never been available before. The path to closing the gender gap has begun. It's exciting! But if we don't start approaching this common objective in a proactive way, companies will continue to trudge on with their own individual efforts to attract and retain this in-demand candidate market.
Our girls need to be introduced and exposed to technology in ways they rarely are today and at a young age. With more focus on how technology can be a creative outlet and a tool that can help them change the world and by making technology less intimidating by teaching it in new and better ways, eventually more of our tech-loving nieces will emerge in the industry. Savvy Aunties can mentor our nieces to support this goal.
One major point Aunties should bring up with hesitant nieces is that learning to code simply means “having a basic grasp of how computers work instead of blindly following whatever a talking paperclip tells you.” Coding is not an esoteric study meant solely for computer nerds. Here are six reasons from HackerYou that you can share with your teen nieces to encourage them to enter the coding world:
1. It’s like learning to read or write.
“Learning to code is to being a professional programmer as learning to write is to being a journalist/editor.” […] Just because one does not aspire to professional programmer status, does not mean that they can’t have these basic skills. “There was once a time when books were only read and written by an elite group. Now, everyone can read – and everyone can write. There are still the elite authors that write better than the rest of us. Just because everyone can write, doesn’t mean everyone is trying to be a professional author.”
2. It’s useful, even outside of computer geek circles.
As [bloggers], it sometimes feels like coding would be a useful tool, as we sit in front of these machines all day. And really, anyone who works on a computer might find some utility in learning how they operate. […] Having a skill nobody else has will give office worker bees a leg up in this already tough economy.
3. It helps you talk to actual programmers.
If you drive a car, it’s a good idea to know what the carburetor and other parts of the engine do if for no other reason that you have some idea of what your mechanic is talking about. Some passing knowledge of code may not make you a coder just like changing a sparkplug doesn’t make you a mechanic. But it is helpful if you ever have to talk to one.
4. It’s a fun hobby.
Seriously. Just head on over to the Codecademy. It’s pretty addictive. If you like learning languages or math, it has that same feel. […] Coding can be just that: a hobby. One doesn’t need to go full on programmer.
5. Computers are a part of society.
At this point, one feels a little ignorant for not knowing how a computer works. Yet, so many of us don’t know the basic language running our favorite blogs and social networks and whatever else we do… With just a tiny bit of coder knowledge we can change that.
6. It teaches other skills.
Science has shown making kids learn piano makes them better at math. […] The point is it teaches other important skills. Learning to code works like that. “Learning programming has helped me in many other walks of life,” writes commenter Andrest. “It has taught me that every problem can be tackled with a systematic approach, given enough time. I like to think that helps me to notice things that would have gone unnoticed without. More than anything else, it is this approach, enforced by programming, for which I hold gratitude. Critical thinking,” he continues. See, useful.
Published: August 7, 2012