Gone are the days when the programmer/ computer scientist was a stereotyped weirdo with no social skills and most often thought of as male. This stereotype was shattered by supermodel Karlie Kloss who has taught herself how to code (the skills behind becoming a programmer) and is now sponsoring a program to get young girls in the United States into coding. Kloss, of Victoria’s Secret fame, says coding is a superpower and opens an unlimited amount of doors and girls need to be encouraged into the field as they are currently under-represented.
I can also say I am breaking this stereotype. I am a beginner programmer learning the backend of website design with hopes by the end of this year I would have good working knowledge and a portfolio of work in two different languages. I, like Kloss, was never really introduced to coding at school. I went down the most traditional route of a girl who was good at maths and went into biology, ending up with a degree in chemistry and genetics. I found coding when I started full-time work and started my own self-driven lessons online, much like Kloss. I was getting more satisfaction doing online tutorials on different coding languages that I ever was in my work. This lead me to enrol in a coding school, here in the United States where I am now based. The school, Codefellows, runs intense coding classes which, in the space of 6 months you can go from beginner to job ready in a language of your choice.
Coding isn’t all ones and zeroes, there is a creative capacity within it. You also don’t have to be good at maths to learn to code, you just need to be able to think logically. Coding is an endless process of trial and error and problem-solving and requires persistence which makes it an extremely rewarding pursuit when the program works or the bug is fixed. Our society is now so reliant on technology that the skills of coding could be your ticket into any industry from science to fashion.
The remarkable thing is not that a supermodel is breaking stereotypes in the tech industry, it is that young girls are being driven away from learning how to code because coding and computer science is perceived as being uncool and a subject that boys are typically going to excel at. This deterrence isn’t a literal but a subconscious one, up until now there have been no role models in this industry who are female. Kloss is taking steps towards breaking this stereotype and encouraging more girls and women to choose to code as a career.
My advice is to try it. You won’t know if you like if you don’t. I’ve listed below a few online resources that will help you dip your feet in the water.
- Codecademy: interactive learning which is a fun step by step process for learning a wide range of languages, it’s great for beginners and best of all it’s free!
- Treehouse: features lecture videos, quizzes and code challenges. Treehouse is a paid service requiring a monthly subscription.
- Code School: These courses are more in depth and would be recommended after completing some of the codecademy courses. Also free to signup.