The name Girls Who Code is both an accurate description of an organization and a difficult term to work into a normal sentence. When we were working on titles for the articles we’re producing in support of GWC, we tried to walk a fine line between using the name enough and clarifying that we weren’t just talking about the general idea of supporting girl who happen to code – though I support that, too.
That’s a rambling preamble to this point: Girls Who Code is excellent and you should give it your time and/or money.
Three things make me want to send GWC my entire paycheck. First, the software industry continues to be the employer of the future. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that the number of software developers will increase by 17 percent between 2014 and 2024. That’s a full 10 percentage points above the national average.
Getting kids excited about technology, and coding specifically, is going to be a key to keeping the US economy a strong, global competitor in the next ten years. Growth in the tech industry also means that, for many, it’s going to be the best way to achieve the American Dream.
Kids need resources to learn coding, but anyone can do it. This isn’t a field that requires expensive schooling or crazy accoutrements. You can get started at school, at home, or at the library. You can build a computer on a Raspberry Pi for around $70 and just hook that thing up to your TV.
All that is to say, it’s a great time to learn how to code.
Girl do code
Second, the tech industry still lags behind in its gender balance. While little kids – under 12 – love the idea of being computer scientists, that all falls apart in middle and high school. 66 percent of girls between 6 and 12 years old say they’re interested in computing, but that falls to 4 percent by the time they enter college.
Those kids are being done a disservice. Whether through social pressure or lack of resources, we’ve ended up stifling the outlook for those girls. They enter college thinking that either they can’t do something or it’s not worth it for them to enter into computing.
Both are false. There’s no gender-based quality difference in coders – more on this in just a second – and it’s a fantastic field to be in. The median salary for these jobs is over $95,000 per year. Are you kidding me? I will never in my life make that much money. Maybe in my whole lifetime! (Just kidding, Capterra pays well and is an excellent place to work. Come join us.)
Good people make good coders
Finally, many of my favorite people are coders if one sort or another. A brief series of personal anecdotes. In another life, I worked as a project manager. I would say I was middling, at best. While I loved my boss and the company, the real reason I went into work everyday was to see my friend. She was the lead developer for the business and one of the smartest people I know.
My wife is a techie. She’s actually doing some work with Code.org – another excellent program – today for its Hour of Code. I think she always thought she didn’t have the talent for coding, but she does and she always has. She just needed to get the opportunity to find that out for herself – thanks, SILS! In short, good people make good coders.
GWC recognizes all of these elements and works to make the world a better place for young women and, subsequently, for all of us, and it does it in a positive, educational environment. You can be a positive part of that environment and help these kids get setup for an awesome future.
The ways you can help Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code has clubs and immersion programs across the country and it’s always looking for places to set up new programs. You can’t code? They don’t care. If you’re over 18 and you’ve got some management or teaching expertise, you can facilitate.
If you don’t have that kind of time, I understand. Luckily, like almost every organization, GWC is happy to take your cash. That’s right, you can give cash-money. Charity donations are always a win-win, and donations to help educate kids doubly so – a (win-win)2, if you will.
Quick example for the uninitiated, if you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket, every $100 you give to charity only costs you $75. Normally, you’d be paying $25 of that $100 to Uncle Sam – please don’t give money to anyone named Sam unless he works for the IRS, by the way -leaving you with $75. You give the $100 away to charity, and you’re only actually out $75, as the $25 obligation leaves with the donation.
Finally, you can just be a nice person. Give a girl a ride to her program when her parents can’t. Set up an internship program at your company. Give your employees the chance to donate their time. Make it as easy as possible for the people around you to chase their dreams.
The best part is, these are great dreams. We’re not talking about the five-year-old who wants to be a dinosaur veterinarian, we’re talking about 13 year olds who want to enter $95,000 a year jobs with massive growth potential.
Here’s where you go to give
So go give Girls Who Code your money or your time, and find a way to be involved. For our small part, Capterra is donating $1 to Girls Who Code for every confirmed review we get through December. You can give GWC our money just for telling us how much you hate – or love – your CRM.
I hope you have the chance to help Girls Who Code and I hope you have the chance to help a girl who codes. Be the person that a future computer rock star looks back on and thinks, “There’s someone who cared.” It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and I’d love for you to join us in helping where we can.
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