There's a terrific new program called Code Camp being offered by Square, the innovative company which has made taking credit cards easy and accessible for everyone from crafters and musicians at shows to major chains like Starbucks. According to Techcrunch, Square's CFO, Sarah Friar, who has a masters in engineering, noted dramatic numbers reflecting the number of girls in the field. High schools offering AP computer science programs number in the single digit percentages. Girls taking those classes comprise fewer than 20% of students enrolled in them. But, those girls who are able to start in high school are also significantly more likely to major in computer science than girls entering college without that base. This speaks clearly to the value of having computer science education available at the secondary school level.
Square's Code Camp is available to high school girls in the San Francisco area, but is not the only program of its kind. Another program is Girls Who Code which has clubs in numerous cities around the country, including Boston. Hopefully, these all can become models for other programs to be created nationwide. Code Camp runs parallel to the standard school year, meeting twice a week in the evenings with a combination of lectures and practical application activities. Each student is also assigned a mentor from the Square staff, to assist in all aspects of learning and planning, including for outside of the program. It sounds like a wonderful program to get girls more involved in computer science, and be inspired to stick with it.
Check out the original story about Square's Code Camp on Techcrunch: For Aspiring Female Engineers, a Square Meal of Code