19 May 2013

Resources for Girls Who Want to Code

I'm on the Park Slope Parents Tech list, which is a listserve for Brooklyn parents who work in tech. Recently a mom sent this question to the list:

I am not in the techfield and hope you don't mind the intrusion of this message ... My daughter is studying Video Game Design in college and having a tough time in some subjects because she never did any coding before she got to school... Seems lots of kids had a passion for coding well before college so it's put her at a bit of a disadvantage.  I thought it might be helpful to work on this over the summer and wonder if you have any suggestions on how she can do this... Should she find a tutor proficient in this and if so where?

Are there specific summer classes that would work?  Online classes?  I asked her academic adviser exactly what she should be working on and I'm including the list she sent ... This reads like greek to me so I can't answer any questions related to this list specifically. Thanks! 

 - The C# language & Visual Studio (the 2010 version is what we currently use)
 - Variables and data types
 - Arrays
 - Conditional statements: if, if/else, switch (and the logic that goes with each of these)
 - Loops: while, do/while, for, foreach
 - Objects & Classes
 - Inheritance
 - Polymorphism
 - Properties (a.k.a. getters & setters)
 - Abstract classes
 - Interfaces
 - Data Structures: Stacks, Queues, Linked Lists
 - C# Collections, specifically the List< > class


I surprised myself by how many suggestions I had, so I figured I'd share them here (and add a few more) in case any one else had the same question. 

I'd suggest she get into some Coursera courses (https://www.coursera.org/). They are free and she can learn a lot if she sticks with them. She should also look into Coder Dojo - http://coderdojonyc.com/about/ where she can find a mentor to support. GNOME also has a women's mentorship program that she might be too young for but she should look into it anyway (http://projects.gnome.org/outreach/women/2006/). Oh there is also Google Summer of Code and she should get involved with Ada initiative (I am involved and a supporter!).   On a slightly less technically demanding level, Wikipedia always needs more women contributors and I'd be happy to put her in touch with my buddy Sarah Stierch if she's interested in that.. 
I am also a supporter of Black Girls Code, which is a group committed to help young black girls, aged 7-17 become innovators in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. What do *you* suggest?

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