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The journey of debugging the gender gap

A couple of brave SilverStripers have just embarked on an epic journey to bridge the gender gap in the tech world.

Posted in Company

Tagged event

Posted 7 October 2016

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A couple of months ago, SilverStripe Programme Director Diana Hennessy suggested to the women of SilverStripe (and a few interested blokes as well) that we go to see the documentary 'Code: Debugging the Gender Gap'. Little did she realise that event would lead Rachel and me, a couple of ‘non-technical’ women at SilverStripe, to embark on an epic journey of learning to code.

Code: Debugging the Gender Gap is a documentary that was put on by Women In Spatial. The documentary exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. It raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code?

Within the documentary, mention was made of Kodable, which is a game made for children, to teach them the basics of coding and to empower girls and women to code. This seemed like a great place for us to start teaching ourselves (and our children) a bit about what it is that our colleagues here at SilverStripe do so well. It was a quiet way to introduce ourselves to coding at our own pace, in our own time. After a few conversations with some of our inspiring and supportive colleagues about their journeys into code, and a few evenings spent having fun, learning the basics of conditions, loops, functions and thinking algorithmically, and talking about it at work, we began to wonder what was next.

In a company where the main focus is finding solutions, wondering about such things out loud is inevitably going to end up in a spectacularly thorough range of suggestions and potential solutions.

So two months after Diana suggested we go to the flicks, Rachel and I have enrolled in CS50. This is Harvard's introduction to computer science, the first weeks of which feels like we are embarking on an epic journey. To quote their website, topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, encapsulation, resource management, security, software engineering, and web development. Languages include C, PHP, and JavaScript plus SQL, CSS, and HTML.

We both work full time and both have young families, so we will endeavour to report back on our progress — albeit briefly — about how our journey is progressing. But in the meantime, if you, or anyone you know, is curious to find out a little bit more of what's out there... dive in.

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