I have been a longtime advocate of Girls Who Code and admire their mission to build the world’s largest pipeline of female engineers through computer science education and programs. At its start, Girls Who Code offered free coding clubs for middle and high school students. Over the years, the organization has grown and expanded its offerings to meet the demands and needs of its community. All of their programs continue to be free! I will review the different programs in this article and let you know how girls can participate.
On a Mission to Close the Gender Gap
Closing the gender gap is very important to Girls Who Code! Today, only 26% of computing professionals are women, and an even smaller percentage are women of color. As tech solutions rapidly expand to every facet of daily life, women’s absence from computer science hinders innovation and leaves almost half of the population without equal representation in our digital world.
Dr. Tarika Barrett, CEO of Girls Who Code, told me that offering flexible programs, resources, and support is essential to their goal of helping students succeed in their education and work lives. “We know our students are ready to make a difference. It’s up to us to give them the tools to succeed.”
Benefits of Girls Who Code
My daughter benefited from being part of Girls Who Code, and so have many young women I’ve interacted with over the years. For some, it was an introduction to coding that launched them into computer science classes in high school; for others, it was a path to studying computer science in college. Since 2012, Girls Who Code has reached 580,000 students through its free clubs and programs. Today, 185,000 of Girls Who Code’s alumnae are college- or career-age, and the organization is on track to close the gender gap in entry-level tech jobs by 2030.
How to Get Involved
Learn more about what Girls Who Code offers below, subscribe to their mailing list, and follow them on social media.
Girls Who Code Clubs are free computer science programs for 3rd–12th-grade students of all genders. Thoughtfully designed with step-by-step guidance and dedicated live help, Clubs give eligible volunteer adults the tools to lead over 120 hours of flexible, project-based programming—no coding experience is required. Plus, Clubs offer swag benefits and a Clubs Fund to deliver critical supplies and inspire computer science interest. Facilitators and students can sign up to start a Club, or check out the locations map to find a Club in your area.
College & Career Program
Girls Who Code’s free College & Career Programs help college-age students and early-career professionals (ages 18-25) to persist in computer science. Programs like on-campus, student-led College Loops build community. Others, like Technical Interview Prep and the Hiring Summit, focus on developing professional skills and helping students land their first jobs in tech. Get updates on these and other college & career programs with the College & Career Newsletter.
Code at Home Activities
Girls Who Code has developed free Code at Home Activities to deliver high-quality computer science materials students can do at home. Code at Home offers online and offline activities of varying difficulty levels and features pioneers of innovative technology. Anyone—students, parents, and educators alike —can enjoy coding activities at home.
Girls Who Code offers myriad ways for students to get involved with computer science and join a vibrant network of female engineers. As their tagline says, they’re “here to change the face of tech!” If you don’t have a Girls Who Code club near you, I encourage you to start your own club at your school, library, or community center! You don’t need coding experience to start a club, just the curiosity and enthusiasm to learn and work with others!
I would love to hear from Girls Who Code alumnae. I invite you to comment about your experience and your current work.
Image Credit: Girls Who Code