CompTIAWorld, Issue 6, Fall 2019

TechGirlz Sets World Record for Girls in Coding

by Michelle Lange On March 30, hundreds of girls met in person and online for TechGirlz Code Breakers and set two world records—one for the most girls coding at the same time in one location and one for the most girls coding in multiple locations.

As the clock struck noon in New York, the coding began. Girls in grades 5 to 9 from states including Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee logged on to the Make a Website Using HTML/CSS workshop from TechGirlz and got busy developing their own customized websites. Promoting Camaraderie Among Girls in Tech During the event, each group of girls sounded off from their own location on a shared livestream—a way for them to feel connected and get them excited about working with other girls in tech, both in person and digitally, all around the world. “Oak Ridge, 21!” the team from Tennessee cheered over the livestreamed video, projected into about 20 technology spaces across the country. “Philadelphia, 70!” shouted the girls from Pennsylvania. “I just heard from Colombia and they have 38 chicas!” said Amy Cliett, national director for TechGirlz, a non- profit dedicated to getting middle school girls interested in tech careers. “We’re doing it!” In Chicago, 20 girls filled a large conference room overlooking Lake Michigan. Data scientists fromOpex Analytics volunteered for the day and helped the girls set up their computers and walked them through the basics of building a website. “We’re going to take this website to the next level,” said Julia Greenberger, who taught the girls about list tags, headers and changing font colors. Girls from all over the city as well as Indiana and Michigan came to code in downtown Chicago. One family drove more than two hours fromHolland, Michigan, to be at the event. In all, 342 middle school girls fromDenver to Durham and all the way to PSL Software labs in Itagu, Colombia, worked together in person and virtually building websites and setting two world records. The Opportunity for Girls to Thrive Like all TechGirlz events, during Code Breakers, the

girls were immersed in their technology projects and talking, learning and asking questions. “We’re always looking for more ways to get and keep girls excited about technology,” said TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman. “We created the world record and hope it will quickly be broken.” According to Welson-Rossman, more girls are joining programs like TechGirlz because they’re interested in tech. They want to learn new skills with their friends or see if tech could be a well-paying and empowering career. Events like Code Breakers get girls together for technology projects and show them howmuch fun it can be to create phone apps, play with binary code and build websites related to topics they are interested in. To date, TechGirlz has reached 15,000 girls through fun, hands-on tech workshops, and is on track to expand its reach to 20,000 girls by 2020. “Ultimately, a tech career is a ticket to newly empowered economic and social status for women,” saidWelson-Rossman. “Coding is one part of the puzzle, but it serves as a fun entry point to the big world of technology careers.” CompTIA’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures, has been a longtime supporter of TechGirlz and its mission to train more women for the future tech workforce. The nonprofit acquired TechGirlz in March in order to further its mission of identifying, inspiring and preparing the next generation of technology workers. “We are excited TechGirlz set not one, but two world records related to girls coding,” said Charles Eaton, executive vice president, social innovation, CompTIA, and CEO, Creating IT Futures. “It’s critical that we collectively work to expand and diversify our future tech workforce.” Free, open source technology courses from TechGirlz can be used by anyone to inspire curiosity, impart confidence and build community as the foundation for the application of technology throughout a girl’s career and life. To try out the courses, including the lesson plan used during Code Breakers, visit TechGirlz.org.

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CompTIAWorld | FALL 2019

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