I have a background in History, and only after finishing my Master Thesis, I discovered the joy of coding. Inspired by websites like code.org, Codecademy or C
In your opinion, why is it particularly important to recruit women to the STEM fields?
First of all, I’ve encountered many preconceptions about programming and IT. I had these preconceptions myself. I had the image off IT as boring, nerdy and a boys thing. My computer science class in high school only taught my how to use Excel and it really didn’t get me excited. Many women like me drop out off IT. There’s a study from European Schoolnet that sheds more light on this: Not only do girls and boys show differences in how they perceive computer science studies and careers, girls are often actively discouraged by families, teachers and career advisors from pursuing further studies or careers in the field. Most girls drop out of ICT studies after secondary education. This can be attributed partly to lack of support from role models, persistent stereotyped views that the sector is better suited to men, a lack of understanding about what ICT means etc. The lack of women entering the ICT sector currently represents loss of talent for industry and loss of opportunity for females entering the job market. I think it’s really important to break this pattern and that we should encourage girls to gain a better knowledge about what IT is, and remind our them about the freedom you have as an individual in choosing to enter IT realm.
What would be your advice to women who are interested in learning how to code?
Ask yourself, Why do I want go get coding and what do I want to get out of it? Would you like to be able to build your own website? Or are you just curious? Either way, there are so many resources online. You could start at Codecadamy and find out if coding is something you’d like. Read some books about coding and start coding yourself. Don’t be afraid to break it, learn by doing (break your code, fix it). Keep putting into practice all that you’ve learned. I’m currently running a website with all kinds of resources to get you started: codepancake.com. Happy coding!
You can find Lieke’s presentation from the GIT NL event, Cracking the Code, here.