Girls’ Coding Workshop Aims To Make Tech Field Less Of A ‘Boys-Only Club’

Claire, 14, was one of the students at 100 Girls of Code in Nashville. They learned, among other things, how to program computer games. Credit: Katy Campen / 100 Girls of Code

Claire, 14, was one of the students at 100 Girls of Code in Nashville. They learned, among other things, how to program computer games. Credit: Katy Campen / 100 Girls of Code

Fifteen girls in Nashville spent the day Monday coding their own websites and building computer games. It was part of a one-day programming workshop trying to get more women in computer science.

100 Girls of Code, as the workshop is called, teaches basic HTML, CSS and Javascript. Lead instructor Katy Campen says it’s designed to get girls ages 12 to 18 excited about a field that sometimes feels like a “boys-only club.”

“I think that’s the biggest barrier and question that we ask — what can we do to let females know that this is a booming trend, but also a great opportunity to help diversify the workplace.”

Nashville was the third stop on a 10-city tour of Tennessee, one day in each city. That’s not a lot of time, and Campen says she knows not all the girls will continue on their own. But she says that’s OK in her book — to make it in computer science, they have to be self-motivated.

“It is a critique that these are so short,” she says, “but i think one thing that we’re trying to do is really excite them.”

Twelve-year-old Haley Burt says she came to the workshop because she wanted to learn how to build websites. She wants to go into forensics, and she says she knows girls who shy away from STEM subjects like math.

“I was one of those girls, actually,” she says. “My brother was always so much better than I was, so I felt like I was just not good at it. But I feel more confident now, … and it’ll help with engineering and everything.”

Campen says most of the students are hungry to learn more. And for those that want to continue, the workshop’s organizer, Tennessee Code Academy, puts on five-day coding camps throughout the summer.

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