We’ve had a great start to the year here at Ridge Marketing. One highlight for me was the opportunity to give a presentation to the Girls Who Code group from William Annin Middle School of Basking Ridge. Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology by encouraging young women to learn about coding in order to pursue careers in predominantly male-dominated technology fields. The local chapter reached out to us hoping to learn more about what coding happens at a digital marketing agency.
As a fellow girl who codes, I was delighted to have the chance to introduce them to web development! We discussed how the Internet works, the difference between front- and back-end development and the frameworks behind some of their favorite web apps. (There was a lot of enthusiasm for agar.io in particular.) We also talked about our day-to-day tasks as developers at a full service advertising agency, and what a career as a web developer looks like.
Talking to the group gave me a chance to reflect on my own road towards becoming a programmer. This happened to be the middle school division of the local Girls Who Code group, and I also had started becoming interested in coding at their age. Unlike them, though, there were no communities available to encourage my interest. Every class, after school club, or camp that I found was dominated by boys, so I quickly gave up on that route and began teaching myself web development through Internet tutorials. I didn't find the confidence to participate in a coding class or group again until I attended an all-women's college, where I eventually minored in Computer Science.
During our talk to Girls Who Code, I tried to convey some of these sentiments about where women coders have been and where we're going as a group. As of 2016, the Girls Who Code organization is teaching over 40,000 young women in over 42 states through clubs and summer programs to learn coding and gain exposure to college tech programs and future jobs. Besides these quantifiable metrics, Girls Who Code provides the simple benefit of creating a space for girls to feel like their interests are valid.
There's still a long way to go towards equality in STEM fields, but the progress that has already been made is making a huge difference for girls like these middle schoolers. Ridge Marketing was excited to be part of this great organization’s efforts to encourage girls to love coding.