Google wants more girls in tech and is putting up money to make it happen
Rolling out $50 million over the next three years, Google aims to bring diversity to the technology industry by encouraging girls to take up coding.
The $50 million Made with Code program honors influential women in the computer science industry, recognizes girls who have began coding, and provides resources to community programs to engage girls through coding events.
Made with Code's core projects include Bracelet, which involves using a 3D printer to generate a bracelet; Accessorizer, which calls for the use of the Blocky programming language to customize a photo; Avatar, which entails using Blocky to turn shapes into an avatar; Gif, which involves using Blocky to create an animation; and Beats, which will be used to sequence drum loops and soundtracks.
Made with Code has partnered with other institutions to offer sets of beginner and advanced projects. Some of the entry-level projects include creating a meme and animating words, while the advanced programs include building a website and designing an app for a mobile device.
The Made with Code project follows suit with Google's previous efforts to foster an increase in the number of females who work in the field of computer science. The company has, since 2010, poured $40 million into Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, the NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) and Code.org.
Google reported in May 2014 that just 17 percent of its tech employees were women. Though it's a paltry figure, it's actually higher than the percentage of woman who receive computer science degrees, which was last reported at 12 percent.
Lucy Sanders, CEO of the NCWIT, said she is encouraged by Google's Made with Code initiative and happy a dialog has been opened on the diversity issues that have been plaguing the field of computer science.
"It used to be that as a computing community we didn't really talk about gender issues," said Sanders. "But now we're really pulling together, from corporations and startups to nonprofits and universities. I'm very optimistic."
Danielle Feinberg, director of photography for lighting at Pixar, has been selected as one of Made with Code's mentors. Feinberg, who described herself as shy in school, said she would listen as other people made assertions during classes and she would believe them, due to the conviction with which they spoke.
It took Fienberg a long time to realize her classmates didn't have all of the answers, and now she hopes to instill confidence in girls today.
"I wish for the younger generation of girls to just believe in themselves and put their voices out there and be heard so that they can be a part of the conversation," said Feinberg.