The tech industry is one of the fastest growing industries, but only 28% of proprietary software jobs are held by women. The industry is slowly changing, and diversity initiatives are supporting women to get jobs and rise in company ranks. At Oursky, we have women across all our teams and leadership whom have helped shape our inclusive company policies. For Women Entrepreneurship Day (Twitter #choosewomen), we wanted to share the awesome organizations — founded by women! — that help women and girls take off as awesome developers.
1. Hackbright Academy
With a mission to increase female representation in tech, Hackbright Academy is the leading engineering school for women. The company’s leadership team is majority women and Sharon Wienbar has recently joined as the new CEO. Hackbright aims to create a place for women to learn code and speak with mentors and industry professionals for guidance and its graduates have been hired by leading companies such as Slack, Indiegogo, and Heroku or gone on to found their own successful businesses. The school offers several courses that can be done full-time or part-time in the Bay Area. The school requires admission applications but promises to mentor and guide women through their journey with code. Currently, they offer a full-time Software Engineering Fellowship course and a part-time Introduction to Programming course. Some languages participants can expect to learn during the courses are Python, HTML, CSS, and Flask.
“Right now, with the very small number of women in tech, if we can increase the ratio, that’s better for companies, better for productivity, better Silicon Valley, better for consumers.” — David J. Phillips via Techcrunch
2. First Code Academy
A previous growth hacker for Buffer and Mentor for Hackbright Academy, founder Michelle Sun’s First Code Academy teaches kids how to code in Hong Kong and Singapore. Sun got interested in programming from her first startup and wanting to communicate better with the engineers. She attended Hackbright Academy to further her skills and returned to Asia to bring coding to an otherwise traditional education system. Her mission with First Code Academy is to empower the generation of creators. The academy offers lessons for kids and teens aged 6-18 years of age and has attracted media coverage over its rapid growth. This growth has led the company to expand into Singapore, and though it is offline for now, First Code Academy has a scalable model that can reach new markets in Asia.
“My tech background has helped me because marketing has become such a tech-heavy experience with analytics, systems, and everything digital…Coding is the next form of literacy. It’s the next language everyone needs to learn how to speak.” — Michelle Sun via Techcrunch
3. Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code, a non-profit organization offering computer science education in several states across the U.S., was formed with the mission to close the gender gap in technology. Founder Reshma Saujani, a TED speaker, started Girls Who Code after witnessing the gap in computing classes in local schools. Girls Who Code offers a judgement-free place for young girls to learn to code through after school and summer intensive programs. Though the organization is a non-profit, it has experienced great success because of its business partnerships with companies like Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Yahoo! just to name a few. Parents (and students!) can use the website to search up a local chapter or start their own. Coding is always more fun with company to bounce ideas off of.
“I started a company to teach girls to code, and what I found is that by teaching them to code I had socialized them to be brave.” — Reshma Saujani at TED 2016
“You don’t have to have a college degree in Computer Science and you don’t have to be 20 years old to break into tech. It is totally possible to build a career in technology with no prior experience, and to start when you are in your 40s!” — Adda Birnir via The Huffington Post
5. Girl Develop It
This New York City-based organization was founded by Vanessa Hurst and Sara Chipps. The non-profit organization offers affordable programs for adult women who want to learn how to code. Girls Develop IT was started in 2010 and has since grown to have many chapters across the U.S. and Canada. The site offers languages such as HTML, CSS (beginner and intermediate), and Intro to Git & Github. Though the site is mostly offline, they do provide online resources under a Creative Commons license. Hurst also founded Code Montage, a site to improve the human experience, and their impact on the world through coding.
“I grew up thinking you could be a teacher or a doctor if you wanted to help people. I had a big awakening when I realized the power of computing to help people.” — Vanessa Hurst via I Want Her Job
6. Learn to Code With Me
Learn to Code with Me is a a blog and podcast with reflections and skills sharing for sprouting developers. Bradford is a self-taught coder and her anecdotes are sure to hit every self-taught coder right in the feels with her story of how she started to learn to code. Since then, her site has grown to include guest posts from tech industry professionals who want to share skills and experience with new developers. Her free newsletter, “10 Tips For Teaching Yourself How To Code” is especially popular. The site also has videos and podcasts of people sharing their stories and skills. Bradford’s personable personality and easy to understand explanations make coding very fun to learn.
“Like you, I am a multi-passionate person. I love to write, travel and now (of course) build websites and web apps. Acquiring digital skills and working for myself has allowed me to be flexible and given me more time to pursue these passions.” — Laurence Bradford via Learn to Code with Me
7. Women’s Coding Collective
The Women’s Coding Collective is a web-development community that aims to narrow the gender gap in technology. They offer many courses online for various coding languages. The community was founded by Susan Buck and Nicole Noll and offers online and offline support for users. It’s online support consists of scheduled courses, “Two-Week Online Courses” includes HTML, CSS, and Python basics as well as challenge sets. The Collective’s offline support consists of meetups and in-person events. Women are encouraged to meet online and offline to get feedback, share resources, solve problems, or one of the online collaborative courses.
“We offer web development classes and host speakers on topics related to programming and entrepreneurship. In general, our mission is about cultivating open, supportive environments where women and girls of all ages can learn and code together.” — Susan Buck via Laserfiche
These are just a few places on our list, and there are so much more out there. We know it might seem like a lot of work to leave recommendations because you’re like the women who founded these organisations.
But we’d love to hear the projects you’re working on now and the tips you’d give to aspiring developers!