Career Planning

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

April 10, 2018

Google's Made with Code Initiative
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 initiative, Made with Code, explains the issue they're trying to combat on their site. "Girls start out with a love of science and technology, but lose it somewhere along the way. Let’s help encourage that passion in teen girls." Google has invested in initiatives to increase diversity in computer sciences since 2010, and the company continues to develop new and exciting ways to get girls interested and involved in computer sciences at a young age. 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 2017 workforce demographics stats, where it was shown that a mere 20 percent of the company’s technology employees were women. While that number itself isn't very impressive, it's important to put in perspective that the number has increased from 17% three years ago. Women make up 31% of all employees at Google (compared to women making up 48 perfect of the general workforce).

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. In 2016, 56 percent of bachelor's degree recipients were female, but only 19 perfect of all 2016 Computer and Information Sciences bachelor’s degree recipients who were women . Similarly, in 2017, 57 percent of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce were held by women. Out of that 57 percent, only 26 percent were women in professional computing occupations. 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. The site regularly updates with fun and exciting free interactive projects for all different skill levels and ages that will spark an interest in just about every student. 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. Educators, take note! According to the site, "Encouragement from adults and peers is the #1 contributor to a teen girl’s decision to pursue Computer Science."

Why It Matters

The site details why learning to code is so important for any modern student’s future. Can you believe that "In the United States, 74% of girls and teen girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in middle school. By high school, only 0.4% of teen girls plan to major in Computer Science," according to the Made with Code website. And, while the site 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. To learn more about Google’s Made with Code initiative, visit MadewithCode.com. Looking to get inspired by women in successful STEM careers?
Our Women in STEM series highlights women in the field forging the path for female students everywhere. Check out part one of our Highlighting Women in STEM series.

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