Human Resources, Nonprofits, and Technology

BitCamp develops female coders

December 15, 2014
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BitCamp develops female programmers
A software development instructor works with a student at one of SoftwareGR’s BitCamp events to expose more girls to the industry. Courtesy OST

SoftwareGR is helping girls get a jump-start in the predominantly male software industry.

The nonprofit is partnering with tech companies to produce free BitCamp events across the region to offer free hands-on training on software development to girls in seventh and eighth grades.

BitCamp will be held on Jan. 31 at Springthrough, March 7 at Atomic Object and April 18 at Mutually Human.

A BitCamp was held this month at Open Systems Technologies, or OST, which partnered with Spectrum Health to host the event, its second of the year.

The event features a roster of 10 female instructors with backgrounds in software development, application development, systems management and information services. Healthy lunches and laptops are provided for the girls.

“What makes the program unique is that it takes place in actual workplaces, and the students can see the amazing and creative work environments that exist right here in Grand Rapids,” said John Rumery, director, SoftwareGR.

“We also take time to talk with parents about this career path, its breadth and depth, so they can encourage their daughters to move forward. It is cool to code.”

The recent OST event drew about 25 girls from schools across the region.

“According to documented research, only 0.4 percent of female college freshmen plan to major in computer science,” said Tamara Iakiri, manager of talent acquisition, OST, and a SoftwareGR board member.

“The lack of participation from women in such an important and growing field has real consequences for the future. If women are not represented in technology, their ideas, concerns and designs won’t be included as the innovations of tomorrow are being created.”

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