I don’t have a technical background.
My friends at university weren’t technical.
Two years ago I would have screeched at Python and bought a day return for Ruby on Rails.
But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be technical.
For many young women, a lack of basic programming expertise or knowledge can be a major barrier to joining the world of tech entrepreneurship. EF has seen this first hand with only 25% of applicants and 10% of the final cohort being female. Women make up only 19% of those on computer science degree courses and although there are fantastic initiatives to teach young girls to code, it will be some years before they bring gender parity to the workplace.
Many young women do not feel a natural affinity to technology. They appreciate its applications and uses, but lack the understanding of how it works. This lack of knowledge can act as a major barrier to entering tech entrepreneurship as they cannot speak the language of their technical peers and can feel out of their depth.
Last summer Tim, EF Cohort 2012, gave me and Emily, EF Cohort 2012, a crash course in coding. After four hours a day, for four weeks, doing a bit of hacking in Python, Django and SQL suddenly didn’t seem so alien. It was a challenge, but it was stretching, interesting and satisfying.
Emily hit the nail on the head when she said "learning the basics of coding not only taught me a skill so highly valued (and increasingly so) in the tech world, but it also allowed me to appreciate and understand this world far better: To get a handle on the language spoken there opened a window of understanding and opportunity. It was also incredibly fun! I got a real kick and sense of satisfaction from the problem solving elements."
EF has an opportunity to address this gender imbalance by equipping high potential female graduates with a basic knowledge of different coding languages, an understanding of the logic behind programming and the ability to build basic websites/apps.
You may never have seen yourself as a coder and you may never be the back-end developer for your startup, but the world is going digital and being part of this revolution, rather than a passive bystander, is vital.
Code First: Girls