Opening the door on technical careers for Northampton’s young women

The man-woman divide in the technical industries is unmistakeable.

First at university and now in the workplace, I’ve become accustomed to being in a male-dominated environment. Far from wanting to start a debate on the reasons behind the lack of women in technology, I’m much more interested in having a chance to educate, inform and encourage women about the technical career opportunities available to them.

This year, for the second time, I was invited into Northampton School for Girls to run a web development workshop. In three 50 minute sessions with groups of girls aged 13-14, I challenge them to build a photo album web page. No WYSIWYG editors in sight, these girls get to work with the guts of a webpage,  writing HTML and using Javascript to create a cool lightbox effect.

From my perspective the challenge is to get the students not only interested in my favourite subject, but also impart enough knowledge and technical skill that they feel able to pursue an interest in web development should they choose to after the session. This means talking about my educational history and career path, explaining the basics of web development and HTML and then running through the activities step by step whilst also giving a helping hand to individual students who have questions. And all this in 50 minutes.

There’s no better environment for honing the skill of explaining the technical to non-technical folk. And there is no greater reward than seeing faces light up around a room as they delight in what they have managed to achieve.

  • That’s brilliant, Hannah. What a fantastic opportunity!

    A little while ago I was lucky enough to get sent to rural Victoria here in Australia, and spent two days training a group of about a dozen boys and girls (girls out-numbered boys 2:1). I was training them in the basics of web development, and how to use WordPress. It was really great to see them all taking an interest, and showing them that gender and geographical location didn’t have to be barriers for careers in technology.

    Love your work! :)

  • Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it.

  • I really like the fresh perpective you did on the issue. Really was not expecting that when I started off studying. Your concepts were easy to understand that I wondered why I never looked at it before.Glad to know that there’s an individual out there that definitely understands what he’s discussing. Great job

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