Getting more women into tech has been a priority for iD Tech since day one. We’ve blogged about it at length; and we talk about it a ton.
And yet, here we are. Talking about it once again.
We revisit the topic often because yes, the issue is still prevalent, but also because talk leads to change. Sure, talk needs to be met with action in order to make progress, but there is zero hope that comes from silence.
Thus, we've been taking action too, inherently and actively, since we opened camps back in 1999. Our founders are female. 57% of our program directors are women. Over 50,000 girls have graduated from our programs! We are in prime position to facilitate change, and it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
From all of this, 24% of all of our campers in 2018 are female. Just four years ago, that figure was 12%—so we are making strides toward our goal of 50/50 gender parity.
But while we make it our mission to provide the opportunity, the long-term effect won’t reach its full impact without the student who takes the ball and runs with it.
Students like Brijae.
A self-proclaimed “nerdy kid,” Brijae has always been interested in computer science and pursuing a tech-centered profession, but like many, didn’t have access to do so at school, especially when she was younger.
Brijae found opportunity, though, with iD Tech, starting with lessons in coding at iD Tech Camps - where she was one of the few girls in the class - then moving on to the all-girls Alexa Café, where she dove into fields and subjects as diverse as video production and Android app development.
“I learned so much about myself, how I handle pressure, and what do in certain environments...and how useful code is! It’s something I want to do—now and in the future.”
Most recently, Brijae completed our AcademyNEXT program, an intensive, four-week tech boot camp for advanced students held at Stanford.
“AcademyNEXT was WILD. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Super vigorous, and honestly, the lessons kicked my butt! But, it was so cool to be learning about things like quantum computers and such; the feeling of gratification after being challenged to do something you’ve never done before is indescribable.”
Brijae’s journey is unique and special, and it’s just getting started. We are proud to share her story, and believe it can inspire other young women to pursue pathways in STEM.
She strives to pay her experience forward; rightfully seeing herself as a role model for other girls interested in tech. Her long-term goal is to mentor up-and-coming girls, and steer them through what can be a difficult and unforgiving environment to help create the next generation of programmers and engineers.
“The more girls that get involved, the more ideas there will be; and fresh ideas. More voices will also increase the chances of big notions and innovations making their way to the surface. STEM is awesome and cool, but for so many people around me, it’s not that cool yet. I want to help others see that, through experience, you begin to do and see things you couldn’t have ever imagined.”
Over time, such an approach will prove to be invaluable, as higher education student bodies will become more representative of the population, and Silicon Valley will be “freshened up” with these new ideas and perspectives it is so desperately missing in its current state.
Attention and guidance from people like Brijae, who have been-there-done-that, can make all the difference in changing the future.
It starts with a blog post; a conversation, but it's fueled by real action, real resources, and real commitment in order to blaze new trails and break glass ceilings. It’s fueled by students like Brijae.