February 22, 2022
Training the Next Generation of Computer Scientists Will Help Fulfill the Promise of US Digital Transformation
February 02, 2022
Digital transformation is top of mind for many organizations today. Beyond the immediate reality and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations in all sectors of the economy are considering how software technologies including artificial intelligence, cloud services, and advanced data analytics can improve the quality of services and streamline stale work processes for the long haul.
However, a critical barrier hindering the full potential of this digital transformation is the pressing need for workers trained in the in-demand computer science and STEM skills required for today’s digital economy. Too often, young women simply don’t see themselves as coders and never consider the nearly 16 million jobs in the software workforce as an option for them. Reporting from the US Census Bureau reveals that in the traditionally male-dominated tech industry, women only hold 27% of US STEM jobs despite comprising nearly half of the total US workforce. The gap remains especially stark among computer workers and engineering occupations.
In an effort to encourage more young women to consider choosing a career in STEM, Software.org: the BSA Foundation is proud to partner once again with Girls Who Code to host a virtual, Washington, DC-based chapter of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program.
In this two-week virtual program, high school students across all 50 states will join Girls Who Code to learn computer science and coding fundamentals. Many of these students will enter the program with absolutely zero coding or computer science skills. As part of the program, these future leaders will hear about STEM careers directly from women working in the technology industry, build relationships, participate in a series of mentorship workshops, and hone the interpersonal and collaborative skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.
In 2021, Girls Who Code’s virtual programming reached over 6,700 students—more than half of whom came from historically underrepresented groups in the technology workforce. Girls Who Code finds in its latest impact report that the overwhelming majority of SIP participants saw the program through to completion and program alumni go on to major in computer science, STEM, or related fields at a rate of 15 times the US national average.
While the direct engagement with supportive instructors, peers pursuing CS in high school and college, and female mentors currently working in STEM fields is invaluable for these young women, we realize not all students have the ability to join a live program Monday through Friday. For those who are unable to dedicate the full two weeks to the Summer Immersion Program, we encourage students to consider taking advantage of a new summer offering: The Girls Who Code Self-Paced Program.
Both the Summer Immersion Program and the Self-Paced Program are offered completely free of charge, and needs-based grants and technology support are available to qualifying students.
The application for both the Summer Immersion Program and Self-Paced Program is now open. All interested young women in grades 9-12 should click the link below and submit their application before March 18, 2022, for general application consideration.
We at Software.org are thrilled to host a chapter of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program for the eighth consecutive year. The software industry needs more passionate and creative thinkers for the years ahead, and with these young women at the helm, the future looks bright indeed.
Program Manager, Software.org
Jake Morabito serves as Program Manager at Software.org: the BSA Foundation. In this capacity, he provides research, analysis, and project management support for the Foundation’s key organizational initiatives and events.