Technology is a constant force in our lives. We can connect to people from across the world, we have robotic vacuum cleaners, and we can get anything delivered to our door with the click of a button. But why is it that this huge component of our lives is predominantly created and run by men? Only 26% of professional computing occupations in the US in 2017 were held by women.
This lack of women in technology begins at a very young age: computer science courses in high school are primarily composed of male students. Girls don’t realize what they are missing out on: computer science gives you the power to create. I decided to take an Intro to Programming class at my school where I learned the basics of Java. By the end of the course, my classmates and I were able to code our own calculators, tic-tac-toe games, hangman, and so much more. Although the class was predominantly male, I found that it didn’t bother me because I loved the power that came with learning computer science.
That summer, I attended the seven week Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Warner Brothers where I expanded upon my computer science knowledge while building friendships with 20 other girls and hearing from women who work at Warner Brothers. While this program taught me how to program a robot and build a website, it also taught me the power of sisterhood and perseverance. By talking to the Warner Brothers employees, I learned that there is no path to success; success comes from determination and grit. I also learned that there are so many things that you can do with technology, and this further encouraged me to continue studying computer science so I can learn to create more and more things. By the end of the program, a few of my friends and I had built an app that manages your medications, my proudest creation yet.
The next summer, I attended the two week Kode With Klossy Level Two program. During these two weeks, I saw the power of the female mind and what it can accomplish. My classmates and I learned how to access a database, how to create a Snapchat lens that can be shared with thousands, and how to code virtual reality.
The Girls Who Code and Kode With Klossy programs are just some of the many free resources available to encourage girls to learn computer science. These programs are not just meant to close the gender gap in technology, but they’re also meant to empower girls by showing them that they have the power to create and build; their only limit is their imagination.
By Kaylen Melamed