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Google's Made with Code Initiative

Google's Made with Code Initiative

Even though female students comprise of 56 percent of all advanced placement test-takers, only 19 percent of those girls take AP the computer science test.

Elizabeth Hoyt

June 24, 2014

Google hopes to close the gender gap in computer coding with their new initiative aimed at getting girls into coding at an earlier age.

Google’s new initiative, Made with Code, aims to “help ensure that more girls become the creators, and not just the consumers, of our collective digital future.”

While Google has invested in initiatives to increase diversity in computer sciences since 2010, the company is planning to put an additional $50 million into the new initiative over the next three years.

The initiative also includes collaborating with girl-positive organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls, Inc.

Perhaps, this is a result of Google’s recent workforce demographics release, where it was shown that a mere 17 percent of the company’s technology employees were women.

The Computer Sciences Gender Gap

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, while girls and women are avid users of technology, they’re grossly underrepresented in its creation.

In fact, even though female students comprise of 56 percent of all advanced placement test-takers, only 19 percent of those girls take AP the computer science test.

Similarly, 57 percent of women earn all undergraduate degrees. Today, less than 1 percent of girls are majoring in computer sciences. Made with Code was created to bridge this gender gap for the future.

The Made with Code Initiative

To help promote an active interest in coding, they launched an interactive web site, Made with Code, where girls can participate in exciting projects that involve coding at different levels.

Site participants can partake in various levels of projects. From beginner’s projects, like coding a 3D bracelet (which will be sent to the coder within 3-4 weeks) or animating one’s name, to intermediate projects like designing an app or creating beats, the site has something to spark any student’s interest.

You won’t find intimidating blocks of numbers and symbols, either. The projects are based on Blockly, which is described as “a web-based, graphical programming editor developed by Google and used by services such as code.org and MIT’s App Inventor to teach beginning coders the concepts of coding in a fun, visual way.”

The site also includes profiles of inspiring female role models who code as well as resources where girls can find coding classes, camps and clubs to encourage those who want to learn and develop their coding skills.

Google also plans to promote gender diversity amongst coders through other organizations like Girls Who Code, Code.org and Black Girls Code.

They’re also planning initiatives to encourage and reward teachers who encourage female students to take interest in computer science courses through DonorsChoose.org.

Why It Matters

The site details why learning to code is so important for any modern student’s future.

And, while it is geared towards students of the younger variety, it’s actually a site that students of all ages looking to learn about coding would likely enjoy due to the user-friendly interface.

According to their findings from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Made with Code site details that computer science jobs “will be one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying sectors over the next decade earning the highest entry-level salary of any bachelor’s degree. At about $60K, that’s almost $15K more than the average college grad will make in their first year in the workforce.”

That’s a job market that girls will likely want to get in on and coding (as well as computer science degrees) can help make that possible for the future. With 50 percent of the talent pool untapped, there’s a lot more potential waiting to be discovered.

To learn more about Google’s Made with Code initiative, visit MadewithCode.com.


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