How Much Math Should You Know For Python Junior Developer Getting More Girls to Code

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Getting More Girls to Code

Why are so few girls interested in computers?

The gender gap in IT is growing. In 1984, women accounted for 37 percent of all computer science graduates. Today, that number has dropped to just 12 percent. At the same time, the United States faces a shortage of skilled developers because large segments of the population are not considering tech careers, and the number of women and minorities interested is even smaller.

Seventy percent fewer students have majored in computer science since 2000, according to data from the Computing Research Association, and the number of women studying computer science has dropped by 80 percent. The Higher Education Research Institute determined that of the only 1 percent of students who majored in computer science in 2009, 0.3 percent of them were women. By 2020, universities are expected to produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29 percent of the 1.4 million IT specialist jobs.

According to data collected by the National Center for Women in Technology, only 25 percent of computer-related jobs in 2009 were held by women, and only 2 percent of those women were African-American, 4 percent were Asian and only 1 percent were. Latin Women of color make up less than 3 percent of people in tech fields, according to Women 2.0.

But why? A 2009 report by the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology suggests that a lack of access to technology and computer classes in schools, and a lack of role models and mentors, are among the barriers to entry of women and people of color. and stay in the computer and technology fields.

Underrepresented students are more likely to be in school districts without resources for rigorous computer science curriculum, the report found, and unequal access to technology and curriculum from the K-12 level creates a disadvantage constant Additionally, the perception that computer science is a “white male profession” discourages girls and minorities from entering the field, especially girls of color.

Additionally, women and minorities working in computer science and engineering often experience feelings of isolation or exclusion caused by being the only woman, minority, or minority in their work environment.

Isolation is a key factor in a higher attrition rate among women and minorities, Director of UNC’s Information Technology Diversity Institute, Charlotte Teresa Dahlberg, told the SD Times. And nearly half of all minorities leave tech jobs for other occupations. In a room full of 25 engineers, explains the non-profit startup Girls Who Code, only 3 of them are women.

What it is not

It’s not that boys are innately better at science and math than girls, said researchers who analyzed international tests and found that girls have the same ability as boys to succeed in math and science in a 2012 study called “Debunking Myths About Gender and Math Achievement.” .”

“If you take the averages around the world, you don’t see any gender gaps: boys and girls perform about the same, on average,” they found. The research suggested instead that cultural and social factors affected whether someone was good at math, not gender.

The study analyzed data from 86 countries using international standardized tests for math and science. They found that in many countries there was no gap between the average scores of girls and boys. In other countries, including the US, they found that a gap existed, but that it was narrowing over time.

In the 1970s, for example, there were 13 boys for every girl who scored exceptionally high on the SAT math test. By the 1990s, the ratio had declined to three boys for every girl.

Interestingly, countries that ranked highest in gender equality – women’s performance relative to men in education, health, political power and economic participation – had higher math scores overall for both girls as for children. The United States, by comparison, ranked 31st out of 128 for gender equity. (Iceland was ranked as the country with the most gender equality in 2012, with Finland in second place.)

Another 2012 study by the Association for Psychological Science concluded that women and girls not only have strong skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, but also have strong skills in other areas such as verbal skills that may lead them to choose career paths other than STEM.

However, it is questionable whether girls really have no interest in STEM fields. According to Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, 74% of high school girls express an interest in STEM, but when choosing a college major, 0.3% of high school girls choose computer science.

“Much has changed since my college days, but there is still a dearth of African-American women in science, technology, engineering, and math professions—an absence that cannot be explained, to say, a lack of of interest in these fields,” says Kimberly Bryant. , senior biotech manager and founder of Black Girls Code. “Lack of access and lack of exposure to STEM subjects are the most likely culprits.”

Closing the gap

Recently, new programs aimed at helping close the gender gap in tech careers have emerged. Many of these programs focus on intervening early, when girls are still exploring what they want to study, with the hope that earlier exposure will lead to more women choosing tech and engineering fields.

non-profit group based in Manhattan, Girls who codefor example, it launched just last year and offers an eight-week program where high school girls learn software programming, public speaking, product development and other skills to prepare them for jobs in the technological industry.

Black Girls Codea Bay Area organization that launched in April 2011, aims to increase young women of color (African American, Latina, and Native American) in the field of digital and computer technology.

Black Girls founder Code Bryant says that while there are many organizations that focus on girls, women and technology, most of them fall short when it comes to attracting girls or women of color to their programs “It’s overwhelmingly white, Asian and rich,” he said in a 2011 interview with Loop 21.

Black Girls Code girls, ages 6 to 13, spend six weeks learning the basics of programming at San Francisco’s 100% College Preparatory Institute facility in a KidsRuby class and taking trips to tech companies leaders , including Facebook and Google. They learn to use a computer language called Scratch to play a simple game and create graphics that illustrate their name and personality.

Girl Develop it is an international organization with the goal of offering affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development. “Our vision is to create a network of empowered women who feel confident in their abilities to code and create beautiful web and mobile apps,” they write. “By teaching women around the world from different backgrounds how to learn software development, we can help women improve their careers and confidence in their everyday lives.”

Hackbright Academy – a 10-week software development training program exclusively for women, based in San Francisco, CA – was “designed to help women become amazing programmers.” They aim to teach command line skills, python, javascript, html and css, git, flask, django, pair programming, sql/orms/nosql, deployment and interview. After the program, graduates are introduced to local Silicon Valley startups looking to expand their engineering teams.

Breaking the stereotype

“Early on, societal stereotypes and unconscious biases reinforce the perception that girls and minorities are not as good as white boys in STEM disciplines,” explains Caroline Simard, Ph.D., in her report of 2009 for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. “Obstacles and Solutions for Underrepresented Minorities in Technology.” “Because of often unconscious bias, parents and teachers are likely to discourage girls and minorities from computer-related activities…For women of color, the dual bias of gender and race puts them in a major disadvantage when it comes to computing. and engineering.”

Black Girls Code and the others aim to break the stereotypical image of a computer programmer, which many kids identify as a geeky white male sitting alone in front of a computer screen.

“That doesn’t resonate with most girls, especially elementary and middle school girls,” Bryant told CNN. “We do a lot of group work and couple programs because they need that connection and collaboration. It helps break the stereotypes of always being alone.”

Getting more girls coding

“When I was first introduced to computer programming … I remember being excited by the prospects and hoping to embark on a rich and rewarding career after college,” Bryant wrote. “But I also remember, as I pursued my studies, feeling culturally isolated: few of my peers looked like me.”

“Imagine the impact these curious, creative minds could have on the world with guidance and encouragement that others take for granted,” he said.

Bryant believes the key to getting more kids of color interested in STEM is to give them exposure to the many career options that STEM allows and a strong support network.

“I think more minority students neglect to pursue a career in STEM fields because of a lack of exposure. They generally don’t see these fields as a career option and therefore don’t pursue a technical career path,” Bryant said in an interview . with Loop 21. “That’s why it’s important to have more black tech founders and women tech founders in positions of influence so that minority students can find a role model that they can identify with. They need to see that this path is accessible for them to achieve it.”

The field needs diverse voices to serve an increasingly diverse population, says Lucy Sanders, CEO of the National Center for Women in Technology.

“Computer science is a creative endeavor and when you have a diverse set of voices at the design table, you’re going to have people creating technology in different ways than if it were a homogenous group,” Sanders told CNN.

And in fact, studies show that diversity leads to better group decisions, creativity and innovation. Diversity brings different skills, perspectives and ideas to teams and companies that can create improved market opportunities and overall better work.

“One of the things that’s true about the IT talent pool in this country is that it’s really in jeopardy,” Sanders said. “With the degrees we’re awarding now, we’re only going to graduate enough people to fill a third of the jobs. … We’re not going to fill that talent pool if we’re only going to the places we’ve always traditionally wanted.”

Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, the daughter of two engineers who were refugees from Uganda, said she developed the idea for Girls Who Code when she was on the campaign trail for Congress. As she traveled from school to school, she repeatedly saw computer labs without a single girl.

“I saw the ability of technology to increase poverty or reduce it, and I saw that girls didn’t have the same opportunities that boys had,” she told the New York Times. “In the 1960s, there was no gender parity in law or medicine, but something happened and women started going into those professions. We have to do that in IT.”

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