Entries in girl power (2)


One Course Leads to a Career Path

We have a guest writer this month.  Shaine is a high-school senior who is doing an internship with Start Code.  She will be assisting students in our labs for a couple weeks and helping with 2014 planning.  She wrote about her experience with programming and future plans.  Take it away, Shaine!

"Truthfully, before eleventh grade I had not much of a clue what a programming language was.  Of course, like most kids my age, playing videogames was a big (if not seemingly essential) part of my life. However, the thought never occurred to me to pursue this passion for gaming on a serious level until I took a computer science class my third year of high school. I was taught the basics by working with some beginning programming tools, such as Scratch, Greenfoot / Java, and Python.  I was also fortunate enough to have a calm and well-versed teacher by the name of Mr. Blanck helping me along and correcting my beginner mistakes. I was actually thrilled at how uncomplicated coding seemed to be. I had always imagined programming to be a frustrating and confusing profession, something way out of my league, but after the class I was shocked at how much I had learned and how much I had actually enjoyed learning it.

...I was shocked at how much I had learned and how much I had actually enjoyed learning it.
- Shaine, High-School Senior

Little did I know then that my curiosity about the world of programming would pave the way for my college education and choice of career- but surprise, surprise, it has. With my graduation from high school later this spring, I have decided to go to a college where I can get my bachelor’s degree in game programming- all because of this one class. I have also been working diligently to improve my programming skills, both in school and out of school. A couple months ago I began to work with the Unreal Development Kit, a programming tool used by an array of gaming’s big name companies, such as Ubisoft and Square Enix. I hope to create some type of game prototype for my senior project, and show others this seemingly crazy dream of mine is possible, and I am on the road to achieving it. 

To anyone out there who is curious about programming, computers, or even gaming, I encourage you to take at least one computer programming class- the sooner the better. The more you get to know now, the better it will be for you if you decide to pursue a career having to do with either of those three topics. My advice is start early! Even if you are unsure of what you want to do with your life in the future, taking a computer programming class is a good way to broaden your horizons and possibly help pinpoint your interests. Plus, colleges love to hear about your past experiences and extracurricular activities in such a technological field (trust me, I would know). So, good luck fellow and potential programmers! It’s a great, big, wide world out there, and there is always room for more techies." 


Girl Power in Technology

A recent New York Times article looked at recent data on the difference in pay between men and women.  A company called PayScale examined a wide variety of professions requiring a bachelor’s degree and organized them by college major.  The data shows that men still make more than women across almost all degrees.  Such a trend is unfortunate if not surprising and hopefully we are making progress to close this disparity.  But there is one shining bright spot!
“The only one of these disciplines that graduates women who earn more than their equivalent male counterparts is information technology.“
Hooray for IT!  How awesome is that?  In a field that is typically viewed with a stereotypical view of male geeks, women are showing other fields how it’s done.  It’s amazing to look down the chart and see Information Technology as the only standout.  Computer Science and Computer Information Systems are also on the chart in the middle of the pack.  At least they weren’t at the bottom. And what about a degree that is usually viewed as female dominated such as teaching?  According to the NYT, “the majors whose male graduates earn the biggest premium over female graduates are architecture, education, and criminal justice.”  Education?  This is both shocking and disappointing.  Hopefully this is a mistake or a temporary blip in the data.
Let’s encourage our girls to pursue careers in technology.  They can be treated as equals, have a chance to earn more, and the jobs are out there.