Each event is hosted by area software companies, giving the students a first-hand look at the industry’s day-to-day activities.By becoming exposed to software development at a younger age and becoming interested in the possibility of a computer related field of employment, we hope to increase the number of women who earn degrees in Computer Science or a similar field in the next generation.
Led by local software professionals and university students, the event aims to dispel myths about software development and share the fun and challenges of the profession.
Girls and their parents are invited to CQL on the morning of September 26th. We will start the day by giving a tour of our facility in Grand Rapids, followed by a discussion of what we do here at CQL.
The students will break out into groups for some hands on activities where they will create their very own website. Several women instructors will be available to help guide their learning and answer any questions. One of our own women software developers is eager to talk to the students about why Computer Science is such a fantastic field, especially for women.
At the end of the day, parents will return to see their students demonstrate their creations.
Students will be provided with healthy snacks and lunch. BitCamp supplies MacBook Air computers which the students will use to complete their coding project onsite with the aid of BitCamp instructors.
CQL believes in encouraging positive change in our community. Understandably, we are especially interested in supporting the next generation of software developers! We wanted to find a way for CQL to contribute to encouraging girls to pursue software development. BitCamp was the perfect opportunity and we are very excited to show middle school students what it is like to work in the software industry.
Every day we come to work in a fun and open atmosphere where we can collaborate on fascinating projects, and build some really incredible things. We hope after learning about some of these possibilities, the students who attend BitCamp will start to become as excited about software as we are.
Software development is a male-dominated industry, but we believe through support and exposure many young women would enjoy this field. The National Center of Women and Information Technology provides information on women in computing over the years. Approximately 57% of undergraduate degree recipients were women in 2012. During that same year, only 12% of Computer Science undergraduate degree recipients were women.
In contrast, back in 1985 about 37% of women earned undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. Recently, between 2000 and 2012 there was a 64% decline in the number of first-year undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science.
Despite there being so few women working in the field, the demand for software professionals is growing in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nearly 1.4 million openings for I.T. jobs in the United States by 2020. Over two-thirds of these jobs could go unfilled due to the insufficient numbers of college graduates with computing-related degrees.
Women represent a vastly untapped talent pool that would help fill this shortage. Because software development is seen as a stereotypically male field, many women and girls don't consider it as an option for them. Programs like Bitcamp compat this stereotype and the talent shortage by exposing girls to coding early.
If you know a 7th or 8th grade girl who may be interested in learning about programming, please invite her to attend BitCamp at CQL! The event will be held on Saturday, September 26th. Sign-in starts at 8:30am and the event wraps up at 3:00pm. No prior programming experience is necessary. The event is free to attend, but preregistration is required.
If students are interested in programming but unable to attend the event, several online resources are provided on the BitCamp website.
We'd like to encourage other local companies to host a BitCamp event of their own. More details on hosting an event at your workplace can be found here.