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August 09 Edition Cover

Women charging into male-dominated industry

30 Mar 2017

By Sunny Liu

Women interested in dipping their toes into information technology (IT) joined the free coding workshop held at the Coder Factory in Docklands on March 25.

IT professional Tanya Butenko founded non-for-profit organisation Node Girls Australia last year and created this workshop for women who were often hesitant to get into the male-dominated industry.

“IT can be a very exclusive industry with very few women. So we want to change that phenomenon by encouraging more women to learn about basic coding skills and showing them coding can be fun,” Ms Butenko said.

“I want women to realise that programing is something they can do even if they have a full-time job or if they have kids,” she said, “if women find out they really like it, they can change their career.”

At the workshop, participants learned about JavaScript and Node.js, two of the most widely used programing languages.

Attendees were divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced studying groups where they acquired and shared knowledge about programming under the guidance of experienced tutors.

Node Girls organised its first coding workshop in Melbourne a few weeks ago and more than 100 people attended – including 70 women.

“It shows that women can have a strong interest in IT, but they may not have the tools they need to learn,” Ms Butenko said. “Coding is a great skill to have and it’s not as hard as people think it is. They just need someone to show them how easy it is.”

Ms Butenko said she thought technology skills were extremely important in today’s world and Node Girls provided an “on-demand” service for women who wanted to boost their employability.

“IT professionals are needed in nearly all industries and there will be even more demand in the future. Having knowledge about coding and other IT skills can really help women’s career,” she said.

Even though the workshop targeted women, it was not completely exclusive. There were also male mentors and Ms Butenko said the previous workshops had male participants too.

“It is also important to show men how brilliant women can be in IT and to get men’s support,” Ms Butenko said.

 

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