Ca­reers with byte

CLEO (Malaysia) - - YOUR LIFE, YOUR RULES! -

“Those with cod­ing skills con­trol the world’s tech­nol­ogy. We need more di­verse groups cham­pi­oning th­ese de­ci­sions,” says Re­nee Noble, soft­ware en­gi­neer and co­or­di­na­tor of Syd­ney Univer­sity’s Girls Pro­gram­ming Net­work (GPN). Run by vol­un­teers, GPN en­cour­ages fe­males to pur­sue ca­reers in IT by teach­ing all things com­puter soft­ware and of­fer­ing free quar­terly cod­ing work­shops. They ad­vo­cate the men­tal­ity that pro­gram­ming is not just a skill for IT pro­fes­sion­als, but a uni­ver­sal lan­guage that will boost ca­reer prospects for those in non-tra­di­tion­ally com­put­er­centric fields. “We want to show girls the dif­fer­ent kinds of things they can do with pro­gram­ming,” ex­plains Noble. “No mat­ter what your pas­sion, you can pair it with the abil­ity to code.” Take 28-year-old He­lena; she’s a com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager with zero IT ex­pe­ri­ence. But she codes. Two years ago, while liv­ing over­seas, she took an In­tro To Pro­gram­ming course specif­i­cally for women with non-digi back­grounds. “Some­times it seems if you’re not on­line – es­pe­cially if you’re a busi­ness – you don’t ex­ist. So I wanted to learn,” she says. Now, He­lena is able to man­age the on­line strate­gies of her clients and ac­tively con­trib­ute to the con­struc­tion of their web­sites. “In­stead of just hand­ing over copy to a free­lance web de­vel­oper,” she adds. “I can drop it in my­self and make cod­ing changes with­out any help”. For an em­ployer, that’s a ma­jor perk right there.

Then there’s Caitlin, 24, a retail worker with a pas­sion to start up a busi­ness, who stud­ies cod­ing via Open Univer­si­ties ( open.edu.au). She hopes that her pro­gram­ming skills will al­low her to cre­ate an app, which Caitlin says will work as “a mod­ern re­sponse to de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety hot­lines.” Like He­lena, she felt learn­ing to code would up-skill her enough to launch projects in­de­pen­dently. “I wanted to work out how to make peo­ples lives eas­ier, and I needed tech­nol­ogy skills to do that,” she says.

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