Some years back, knowing how to operate a computer was enough. Technology as it stands today has become the epicentre of all subjects. For the purpose of study, work, manufacturing, medicine or more, technology has become an integral part. Products and services surrounding technology have become mainstream and tech companies have become the industry giants. But something is amiss. Despite the fact that women are consuming massive amount of internet time these days, they aren’t contributing enough to create the same online space. Young girls shy away from coding because it is assumed to be a male-dominated sphere.
Why not think the other way round? Why not make-a-mark in a space that’s unexplored? Scientific facts prove that women are more creative and productive when it comes to mental labour. We did some research and brainstorming with a few eminent people from across the world of coding to find out “Why coding is an ocean of opportunities for women”.
1. Coding = New Literacy, Global Language
995 million native Mandarin speakers, 405 million Spanish worldwide and 360 million English speakers – all stand united by one language…the language of technology. Backbone of the world that finds driving every facet of our life. Smartphones, TV, cars and for that matter even this article that you are reading needed a bit of coding. In short, coding means a creative solution to all our technical needs.
Garima Jain, Senior Android Engineer, Fueled, New Delhi takes joy in informing, “I was always fascinated by what computers could do. It’s beautiful how a few lines of alphabets, backed by a software, can accomplish anything we want. With coding we can experience, build anything which would otherwise be really tough if we try to achieve the same in any other domain.” (sic)
2. Massive Job Opportunities
The Oxford Martin Institute’s ‘The Future of Employment’ study reveals that 47% percent of jobs which exist today will succumb to machines in the decade. So why not harness an understanding of code and technology, along with upgrading creative skills to build a safe career? Tech jobs have seen a steady rise in the last decade, since coding is required in every field…be it art, medicine, science or education. Non-technical jobs have not experienced the same meteoric rise.
Amit Garg, Director, Devoir Technologies asserts, “Coding is a profession which not only gives girls the desired independence, but also a safe career option. You can even continue from home if you are on a sabbatical for maternity or any other reason. Also, as an IT entrepreneur, who deals with coders on daily basis, I have found that women coders have more concentration and stability.”
Samantha Neil, a web-coder from the USA says, “If you think logically then coding is just the right space for you. Coding means change and this change drives technology, which in-turn drives the world. Every passing year most of us buy a new smartphone because technology is evolving. This evolution needs better codes, more coders. So the career graph moves only upwards.” Unlike Garima, who is an engineer, Samantha learnt coding online sitting at home after her first child. Today she works from home, drawing a better pay-cheque than her husband.
3. Boosts Entrepreneurial Prospects
A majority of new start-ups are being set-up by professionals who are coders. Because they can get there faster without anyone’s help. Saves both time and money, even if you need assistance at a higher level.
Nilesh Ukey, Director Operations, Nickelfox, New Delhi informs, “With time, more women are turning entrepreneurs and creating amazing products which keep pushing-up the limits of innovation. And this generates a need to know how to code since coding skills come handy to launch innovations into the world.” Ukey and his team worked with an all-women team to develop the Lily App. It is a ‘Perception & Empathy Engine’ based app that lets women users find and purchase clothes that fit their body type, all from inside a chatroom. Today it is listed in the Forbes Magazine. So imagine how high the entrepreneurial prospects for women are.”
4. Coding: NOT A Boys-Only Zone, NOT TOUGH
Neither is it a boy-only zone, nor is it tough to learn. Garima is happy to inform, “In my journey of 4 years in technology, I have only met great co-workers. Gender bias might be prevalent at some places, but then not every company is the same. Think beyond the box and you can definitely find a company which will help shape your career in the right way.”
Talking from the “tough career option” point of view, Nilesh Ukey, who is also an IIT engineer, asserts, “The stigma, that acquiring coding skill has a huge learning curve, is a myth. One needs to starts from the basics of OOP (Oriented Programming). Believe me only that is needed to work up the coding skill ladder. Knowing design patterns would be cherry on the cake. Once those are in place, choose any language with excites you and start building your career on it.” (sic)
And if you still think coding is tough then you are surely unaware that most of the programmers these days write in high-level languages like Python (a computer programming language). It is easier than the algorithm classes you attended in Class 12. The hard work goes in learning Syntax, which are the rules of a programming language. But then isn’t some hard work required in every career option?
5. Coding is the IN-THING!
Once you learn how to code, it’s absolute fun and helps you to express in multi-million creative ways. Go as far as you can imagine. Design games, make smartphone apps, create blogs… in short churn the wildest of idea you have, into reality!
Nilesh advocates, “Even basic knowledge of coding is enough to sail through many online tools available to create amazing pilot projects.”
6. Women Have the Edge
It is widely recognised that women are a largely untapped market in technology, whether product-development or product-creation. This new wave of opportunity can be harnessed successfully by a woman since she better understands the requirements of her counterparts.
Garima Jain gives the parting shot, “If you have come so far reading this, then it is the best career for you like me! Also, there is no age or time to start how to code. Start now. I would love to see more women join me in coding world.
Amit Garg seconds Garima and wraps up urging, “I recommend coding to women. Dream big since technology from here will only go upwards. As we say ‘Sky is the Limit’…so leap to the horizon!”
Mahima Sharma, Columnist TechThirsty
Author is former News Editor CNN-News18 & ANI (a collaboration with Reuters)