What must we do to encourage more female coders?

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I have become much more aware that the software engineering industry does not support female coders as much as it should.

Primarily this is because I welcomed a daughter into the world two months ago.

So...

  • What can we, as an industry, do now to encourage more female coders?
  • What can I, and other fathers like me, do to help my daughter if she decides to enter this industry?
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What can we, as an industry, do now to encourage more female coders?

Give visibility to the women that already are in the industry. This week I was at Nordic.js and about half of the speakers were women and it was awesome. There were also quite a few women attending the conference, and it was amazing to realize how many women with great ideas and experiences are already there but we seldom notice them.

I've seen a trend in the past few years that more women are creating content and getting exposure and, honestly, we need to keep doing that, it's important that everyone can find role models in the industry and I'm tired of hearing women saying that they never considered working in tech because it is a guy's thing.

 

Thank you for your reply.

I originally made CodeTips as a dedicated to my daughter, and a resource to help her learn to programme should we want to take that route.

Is there anything I can do on that site to give more visibility to women who code? I'm asking because I don't know - should I try and get a regular female writer, would that help?

Any other ideas?

 

Congratulations about your daughter! I think it is awesome that you want to support your daughter if she wants to enter the industry. That is a great place to start with encouraging more female coders. I can't speak for other female coders but for me, I don't get much or any support from my family about being in tech. My family particularly likes to put down the accomplishments I've made as a developer since many of these accomplishments aren't paid so in their eyes they don't count as well as saying negative things to get me to give up. So if your daughter does decide to enter the industry, be her biggest cheerleader by celebrating her accomplishments she does have and just nurturing any love she does have for coding.

Depending on her age when she gets interested in coding, you can use different resources to nurture that interest. Code.org has fun coding games that teaches kids how to code plus it features characters kids are familiar with like Frozen or Star Wars. There are also websites like madewithcode.com/projects/ which allow girls to make cool coding projects. It doesn't seem like it has been updated in a while but the projects are still up for people to make or play the games. Then there's awesome organizations like Girls Who Code and Girls in Tech which empower girl coders.

The industry can encourage more female coders by promoting more women in tech doing awesome things and sharing stories of other female coders. I also believe mentoring is super important for encouraging female coders and helps them throughout their coding journeys.

 

Thank you for your message and congratulations!

but for me, I don't get much or any support from my family about being in tech. My family particularly likes to put down the accomplishments I've made as a developer since many of these accomplishments aren't paid so in their eyes they don't count as well as saying negative things to get me to give up.

I'm sorry you have to go through this, but never give up if it's something you enjoy. Besides, Software Engineering is the 7th highest paying job in the US (source), so make sure you tell them that if they care about the money aspect 😄

So if your daughter does decide to enter the industry, be her biggest cheerleader by celebrating her accomplishments she does have and just nurturing any love she does have for coding.

I'll be her biggest cheerleader no matter what she wants to do. I don't need her to follow in my footsteps, I just want her to be happy.

Depending on her age when she gets interested in coding, you can use different resources to nurture that interest

Thank you for those resources, I'll definitely make a note of them for when she's older/if she's interested in coding!

The industry can encourage more female coders by promoting more women in tech doing awesome things and sharing stories of other female coders. I also believe mentoring is super important for encouraging female coders and helps them throughout their coding journeys.

I run a small platform (CodeTips) to try and help those new into the industry, or those that need support/mentoring. I've not specifically targeted female coders, but is there anything else I can do on the site to encourage more females?

 

That's great you'll be your daughter's biggest cheerleader no matter what she did. That is in the end what matters the most since the messages sent to girls can be pretty toxic. I saw a video on Russell Howard's channel about toys for girls are and the impact these messages have on girls. He particularly does this with the laptop examples. You can watch the video on Russell Howard's channel but it just shows how important it is for girls to hear messages that tell them to create, build and do awesome things no matter what they want to do.

As for CodeTips, definitely feature more content from female coders. Especially with the authors. You can do interviews with female coders or allow female coders to write a post teaching something coding related. Perhaps reaching out to other female developers or software engineers asking them to create content. You can do this very easily on Twitter. You can also do something for International Woman's Day and highlight women in the programming or do a celebration similar to what The Practical Dev does for #shecoded. #shecoded doesn't just encourage female developers to write posts but they will promote those posts the entire day.

Those are some of the suggestions you can start with. I just took a look at your site and that's some of the things I've noticed. Hope this feedback helps.

 

I have a 4 yr old daughter. She sees me on the computer all the time and asks what I'm doing. She asks if she can program too. Sometimes, I want to say no because I'm busy, but then I realize that the 5 minutes it takes for her to write the word "function" on my editor as I ask her to find each letter on the keyboard may be worth more than 5 minutes of lost time.

Let the option come to her. If she is interested in what you're doing, show her. Kids, especially young kids are often underestimated in their capabilities. You never know what will stick. For a while, my daughter thought that I was a carpenter because she saw me building things all the time, and then I'd see her building things out of blocks and pretending that she is me.

Not saying that my personal experiences are what you should do, but I think in general, kids are so sticky that if you start sooner than later, you never know what will happen.

 

I wish I could "heart" this reply 100 times. It must be hard not to "shoo" her away when you're in the middle of something important, but those five minutes will probably mean the world to her and you'll always remember them 😄.

Thanks for the reply - it was nice to read.

That is awesome! Man, kids of today are so bloody smart!

With such a nurturing/supportive dad, I bet they're going to grow up to make the next Amazon/Google. Good on you!

My wife and I have vowed to not let our daughter be raised by the TV. Sure, she'll be able to watch TV, with us, but we want to engage her brain through playing etc.

Sounds like you put a lot of time into your kids, which is great!

 

oh my, that image is just amazing!

I will support my daughter doing whatever she wants, I was hoping to hear about specific things I can do to help her IF she wants to get into software engineering.

I've not come across those issues, being a male, so wanted insight early.

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