Having made serious strides in their knowledge of coding, 90 secondary school girls will graduate from the Bridge21 CodePlus programme to bring their skills to the wider world.
The programme, hosted in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), is a new pilot initiative supported by ICS Skills, which was created with the aim of raising interest among post-primary girls in taking up computer programming, thereby boosting the number of women engaging with the field of computer science.
Operating since January this year, one of the programme’s biggest initiatives is now the CodePlus programme, which teaches the students of Coláiste Bríd, Clondalkin; Mercy Secondary School, Inchicore and Mount Anville, Goatstown, about programming.
The programme places significant emphasis on breaking down at least some of the barriers that have tended to prevent girls from contemplating a career in computing.
The 90 graduates were taught in three topic areas: computers in society, computational thinking and computer programming.
Working in teams, the students were asked to solve problems, develop their ideas for technical solutions to real world problems, and create detailed animations and computer games, while some took their first steps into web design and app development.
World of IT a poorer place without more women
The graduates will now look to expand on their projects until September this year but will today (7 May) be presented with certificates by Prof Jane Grimson, who in her 34 years of academia broke a number of barriers by being named the first female Dean of TCD’s Faculty of Engineering and Systems Sciences, the first female vice-provost (2000-04), and the first female president of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland (1999/2000).
Associate professor in computer science and academic director of Bridge21 at Trinity, Dr Brendan Tangney, said of the students’ potential: “The world we live in needs creative people to play a variety of roles in the IT sector and in the ever-increasing areas of life which utilise IT.
“The world of IT is a poorer place from not having more women involved at the cutting edge. The innovative partnership between Bridge21 and ICS Skills is making an important contribution in helping to address this issue.”
Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.
Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.
Girls coding image via RJ Taylor/Flickr