On Tuesday this week, 27 Middle School girls took part in a six-hour coding marathon where they worked in teams of three to create a video game. They had to incorporate the theme of gravity into this programming task, which resulted in a lot of references to Bugs Bunny, outer space and falling objects.
According to Hackergal’s website, “By 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer science, yet it’s estimated we’ll only have enough qualified graduates to fill just 29% and less than 3% will be filled by women. And the number of women in computer science has dropped from 37% in the 1980’s to less than 18% today.”
Grade 12 student, Julia Garbe, is a good example of these statistics. As the only girl in her computer science course, she believes that any and all efforts that demonstrate to girls how fun coding can be are essential in order to eliminate this growing gender gap. “It’s good to get them interested in programming at a young age to help them realize how fun coding really is.”
CDS was fortunate to have the founder of Hackergal Ray Sharma on hand to help the girls with their tasks. Ray has an international reputation as a thought leader in the evolution of the application economy. His not-for-profit organization, Hackergal’s mantra is to introduce girls across Canada to coding in the style of a fast-paced event in which computer programmers or “coders” work together to solve problems and create functioning software.
“The day was awesome,” enthused Phil Moorlag, Head of Math and Computer Science at CDS. “The girls were so creative and I think they realized that coding is not so scary, mathy or techy. Instead it requires creativity and team work, and best of all – it’s fun!”
The girls didn’t want to leave at the end of the day, they wanted two more hours to work on their projects. It is Mr. Moorlag’s hope that many of these girls will come back next year, go on to enrol in one of our computer science courses, and possibly consider this field for their future.
Mr. Moorlag would like to thank Ms. Houston, Mr. Houston, and Julia Garbe for all of their help in making this hackathon a huge success.
Sounds like it was a win-win! Watch for our Hackathon video next week!