We chatted to Ally Watson, the CEO and cofounder of Code Like A Girl to get the low-down.
For someone who has absolutely no idea, how would you explain coding?
Just like humans speak in languages, computers speak in programming languages. Coding is the process of giving instructions to a computer in the language it understands. How did you get into the industry? I spent my lunch hours at high school in the art department. But my dreams of becoming the next Frida Kahlo never quite came true and, after two years of rejections from art school, I decided to enrol in Computer Science. I excelled in problemsolving and had always got good grades in maths, so I was confident I had the fundamentals down. Six months into the course, I fell in love with programming and this led me to a seven-year career working in creative agencies as a web developer.
What perceptions about the tech industry would you like to see changed?
The greatest challenge for us is removing the stigma that “tech is geeky” or “it’s only for guys” and engaging girls at a young age. Coding is one of the most important skills of the 21st century and there’s a talent drought. Girls are not exposed to problem-solving and electronicbased games in the way boys are. This has led to a huge imbalance in the number of boys compared to girls who pursue technology as a career path.
What inspired you to start Code Like A Girl?
After experiencing the isolation associated with being the lone female developer, I decided to host an evening event to bring women together to network and knowledge-share. We received over 100 RSVPs to our first event and it was at this moment I realised we were onto something. What started as an event series has become so much more. We now run educational workshops and code camps for women and girls of all ages, a job advertisement service and a national internship program.
What are some of the cool things you can achieve with coding experience?
What I love about the tech community is the many makers, tinkerers or entrepreneurs who thrive off the limitless possibilities of what you can create with technology.
It’s just such an inspiring and exciting community. Every business is a tech business nowadays and, with coding experience, it’s hard to find any company or industry not looking for someone who knows how to code!