Connecting the Dots

Welcoming the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program Class of 2023 and Learning About Software at Work in Our Nation’s Capital the BSA Foundation partnered with Girls Who Code (GWC) for its ninth straight Summer Immersion Program (SIP) this year, beginning this week with a special presentation for young women nationwide on software in Washington, DC.

BSA CEO and President Victoria Espinel gave opening remarks during the SIP kickoff call, highlighting the importance of diversifying STEM fields not only inside the classroom but also in the job market.

Watch the full opening remarks below.

Software at Work in Our Nation’s Capital brought together SIP participants for a conversation about the importance of building skills to support a career in tech or software – an important topic for Girls Who Code participants, who learn the basics of coding, designing, and new this year, an introduction to game design as part of the program.

BSA | The Software Alliance Senior Director of IT Modernization and Procurement Jessica Salmoiraghi moderated a discussion on governmental relations in Washington DC with SAP Senior Director, US Government Affairs, Head of Global Cybersecurity Policy Anjelica Dortch, Autodesk Senior Manager, Government Affairs Kelsey Moran, and IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs, Workforce Policy Yelena Vaynberg.

The tech industry leaders spoke about how the role of coding and coders is constantly evolving in the future job market. Dortch emphasized the importance of ensuring that technical expertise translates from technical experts to developers so that they can work together to build trustworthy, secure, and innovative solutions.

“Make sure that you’re following certain rules and guidelines so you don’t expose yourself and your organization to vulnerabilities,” Dortch said.

The speakers took some time to talk about how software is shaping the future of the tech landscape through issues such as consumer privacy, cybersecurity, generative artificial intelligence, and more. Moran spoke on how when she entered the enterprise tech industry, she didn’t know how software is not only a tech issue, but how it is incorporated in every sector.

“There’s still more that needs to be done in eliminating the gap between tech and non-tech industries when it comes to policymaker thinking,” Moran said.

Since software is in every sector, the speakers illustrated how having diverse thoughts in every aspect of product development to ensure that the product is properly developed, tested, and implemented.

“Diversity in thought and diversity in tech go hand in hand,” Vaynberg said. “You can’t develop whatever it is you’re developing with having different perspectives. We have found it really important to have those kinds of multidisciplinary and diverse teams.”

All three speakers encouraged the students to create a strong network and to learn to negotiate their salary. With an expanded network, students should feel empowered to ask mentors, family members, or another trusted resource to ask for help when negotiating a salary.

The students enjoyed learning about the government relations aspect of the tech industry and how they can get their foot in the door as a woman in STEM. Later this week, students will meet with a House Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, and SAP Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer Julia White to learn about technology policy in DC.

Check the Connecting the Dots blog for recaps on the partnership sessions during the Girls Who Code 2023 SIP.

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Gideon LettGideon Lett
VP & General Manager,

Gideon Lett serves as Vice President & General Manager of the BSA Foundation, overseeing the Foundation’s programs, operations, and outreach.

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