Women Who Code: Hacking Stereotypes
Despite the overwhelming interest in computer science by girls in lower stages of school, only a fraction continue to graduate in a relevant discipline. With Computer Science jobs predicted to be the highest-paying sector over the next decade (paying almost $15,000 more than average) young, tech-savvy girls are missing out.
But, with National Coding Week kicking off last Monday bigger and better than ever before, it is important to recognise the success of female programmers and reassert their importance to the industry. As the sector becomes more central to the world economy, it is essential more women are inspired and enabled to be part of it.
Despite the frequent misconception that coding is a jargon-fuelled, complicated amass of numbers, programming is “one of the most prestigious and well-paid careers that you can teach yourself entirely online and with nearly no financial resources” according to Glamour.
Matter Of Form had a conversation with Lara Inskip, a Full Stack software developer from Washington, who stumbled across coding following a degree in History. After chatting with her father about HTML, she found herself inspired to complete a Makers Academy course for programming. She has since worked on an incredible range of digital consultancy, from client-based projects with Waitrose to her own audiohistory project. She has had “a hugely positive experience”. However, whilst the tech industry is largely progressive, Lara acknowledged “the real lack of female tech leads”. Girls are clearly lacking essential inspiration that cements and progresses career choices.
Since the beginnings of the industry, women have played an integral role in programming. Ada Lovelace, born in 1815, was the world’s first computer programmer who helped construct the phenomenal Analytical Engine, providing the basis of many essential features of the modern digital computer. Thousands of women across Europe formed the essential crypto-analyst task force during World War Two. While Dina St Johnston founded Vaughan Programming Services in the late 1950s, the UK’s first software house serving the BBC, Unilever, BAA, British Rail and GEC.
One of MOF’s front-end developers, Amadea Kimmins, is testament to the opportunity for women in programming. Knowing very little of coding following a degree in Economics and Philosophy, Amadea enrolled in as many free courses as she could find to get to grips with the basics. From there, she began a three-month web development course and began her career with Matter Of Form.
“It was pretty intense and long hours but it is crazy how much you are capable of learning in just 3 months, enough to have left the course with a portfolio of 4 projects. On leaving the course I was by no means an expert but it gave me a great foundation to continue learning when I started working at MOF.”
Amadea has been working closely with our client, Yachting Partners International, creating a dashboard for their brokers to use with customers every day when selling, buying or chartering yachts.
“Having more females will transform the industry and will lead to increased diversity in the workplace. Having a group of people that all think differently with varying perspectives will increase the pool of resources and ideas available, and ultimately increase innovation.”
Another of our front-end developers, Kat Chumak, drew inspiration from her mother; a mathematician programmer who worked on the Soviet ES EVM computers in the early days of the USSR’s computer industry.
“As a child, to hear my mother’s stories about working on computers the size of a room was just so exciting.”
Working with clients such as Tangle Teezer and The New Craftsman, Kat brings our designers vision to life; “every project still has that bit of magic – people all around the world can interact with your work.”
There is an exponentially growing number of training courses that facilitates and nurtures budding inspiration. Code First: Girls and Women Who Code work with companies and individuals directly, to help increase the number of women in tech.
Women Who Code envision a "world where women are proportionally represented as technical leaders, executives, founders, VCs, board members, and software engineers". (Image from Women Who Code Connect 2018 Conference)
Matter Of Form has recently acquired Experience Haus, offering the latest in digital training for individuals and organisations. The courses aim to demystify the jargon - offering practitioner taught technical skills training for high demand disciplines such as Product and UX Design, User Research, Agile Project Management, Front End Web Development and Influencer Marketing. To see a full list of all upcoming courses see here, or follow Experience Haus’ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked In.
Improved access to coding is true for more than just the UK and has much wider implications for young girls across the world. With the necessary resources, global tech camps provide a rare opportunity for young, often economically-disadvantaged, girls to pursue STEM careers.
In Morocco, NGO, Dar Si Hmad has organised a 10-day camp where a group of 20 young girls learn basic coding, the fundamentals of social media and digital photography. In fact, female-based coding programs have sprung up all across Africa: from She Codes for Change and in Tanzania, The Clicking Generation in Botswana and Genius Centers in Cameroon to name but a few.
From a business standpoint, diversity in coding is essential. Great coding is the result of an eclectic mix of ideas, peoples and characters. Reducing the pool from which you choose an innovative, self-determined team creates a monotonous approach. How can you expect revolutionary change-makers when everyone thinks the same?
Up for the challenge? To find out more about Experience Haus’ Front-End Web Development Course and learn the basics of coding, please get in touch via email@example.com.
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