Careers with byte
“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.