When you think of a software developer, you probably picture the cast of “The Big Bang Theory” and not “Sex and the City.” But one organization called Girl Develop It is working to change that perception – and reality.
Girl Develop It is a low-cost educational program that enables underrepresented groups, with a focus on women, to learn and practice software development in a supportive environment. It’s a program that’s accessible all over the world ranging from cities like Sydney, Australia, and also here locally in Cincinnati.
“It was started out of frustration of the lack of women technologists in this industry,” explains Erin Kidwell, coordinator of Girl Develop It in Cincinnati. “[We wanted] to encourage women to get involved even in a very fundamental level, to get comfortable asking technology related questions, and to become accustomed of coding and decoding and to become producers and not just consumers of technology.”
The organization’s mission is to create a supportive environment for its students while instilling hope to women and other minority groups that lack representation in technology related fields. Girl Develop It is now offered locally, according to Kidwell, because Cincinnati is a growing city with an increasing number of people interested in advancing software knowledge.
“We want to make sure people understand that there are no stupid questions,” says Kidwell. “We give you a general understanding of various programs. You see a high level of development in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is a prime location because of design companies that are located here.”
Business owners, and even individuals with a general interest in web design, can participate in low cost classes that form creative technological freedom. The cost is affordable at only $80 per course.
“In general, our intro to HTML class always sells out. We normally set a capacity to 25 to 30. I’ve sold out twice in Cincinnati,” says Kidwell. “I know a lot of people who just have a general interest in HTML CSS and some people who want to start their own websites or manage simple things on their website they already have. That is probably our most fundamental course.”
Girl Develop It hopes to continue to expand through future relationships with businesses, more classes, and reaching a wider audience.
Kidwell says they’re getting involved in many STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fairs so they can reach out to younger generations. “There are women in technology roles and that this is not just a male-dominated field forever. Women can achieve that here,” says Kidwell. “We are also expanding our classes. I’m hoping at one point we will have intermediate class so once you graduate one class you can advance. We also want to develop sponsorships and partnerships relationships with local companies who maybe want to send some of their employees to our classes.”
Click here to learn more about Girl Develop It and the classes they offer.