The Coder Dojo organisation is preparing for DojoCon, its 2014 conference which is taking place in Sligo this weekend. The conference will gather together parents, mentors, educators, technologists and pretty much anybody with an interest in CoderDojo.
The focus this year is to 'Look to the stars; Enthuse, Create, Collaborate’ - and we hope many of our attendees this year will also be women of all ages and here's why:
"Great coders are today's rock stars" - will.i.am
There are estimates that by next year there will be 700,000 unfilled ICT jobs in the EU and this will continue to grow as industries become more technology oriented. But even more than that, it's about power. Almost everything we do is governed by technology. In the past few years most of us use computers and mobile devices to manage many aspects of our lives. Having the skills to power the machines that run our lives is empowering. Even if it's just learning enough code to create a family website, how much better does it feel to be able to achieve that oneself instead of having to rely on other in demand and expensive resources.
2. Employment opportunities
Learning to code is a new kind of literacy. Web development skills are transferable and applicable to every industry--from agriculture to entertainment to banking and everything in between. Once you learn, or at least understand, the fundamentals, you make yourself much more marketable in the employer hiring pool. It also gives you more flexibility to choose your own path as you will have a variety of options open to you in terms of your career.
3. To understand and impress the developers you work with.
No-one wants to feel left behind when your colleagues are talking about html5 or java. Even a small amount of knowledge will go a long way into understanding what makes the developers you work with tick. And by keeping up with their conversations you may even learn something new yourself!
4. You won’t be in it alone!!!
The tech community, although seemingly very large, is incredibly tight knit. Women particularly have a lot of support as there are many organisations set up to connect females in the tech industry. This will not only offer you the opportunity to meet like minded people and make new friends but could open new doors through the networks you make.
5. Women have the edge.
Women are statistically the biggest consumers of technology. Catering for this audience requires insight into their needs and preferences. In a world where new ideas are welcomed and often thrive, there is no better position to be than as a women in the tech industry. The technology industry with its ideas and products have been male dominated and male orientated in the past few decades but this has started to shift. It is widely recognised that women are a largely untapped target market in the technology industry as they consume more technology products than men and still hold most of the household purchasing power. Creating only male orientated products is a huge oversight by the technology industry and this new wave of opportunity in creating products for women is just more likely to be capitalised upon by a woman or at least in a team with diversity.
6. Keeping up with the kids
As mothers of the next generation of very tech savvy kids, women can really influence the choices and options that young people have as they pursue further education and career opportunities. Parents being comfortable with coding and hands on in supporting their kids as they learn coding makes a huge difference to how much progress children can make.
7. It’s fun!!!
Last but certainly not least is that coding is fun! Don’t be intimidated. Coding is not and should not be stereotyped as uncool or boring. Learn code to enjoy yourself and get creative when you’re learning to code!
Mary Maloney is CEO of the CoderDojo Foundation. DojoCon 2014 takes place this evening (Friday October 3rd) and tomorrow (Saturday October 4th) in Sligo. Fore more information go here.