app-camp-for-girlsApp Camp For Girls is a non-profit organization with the goal of raising interest and awareness for software development to girls and women. The organization is currently based in Portland, but co-founder Jean MacDonald hopes that with this  funding round they will be able to 1/ prove that the concept works 2/ expand outside of Portland.

As a former developer, I’ve worked with a small number of talented female engineers but to put it mildly, software development isn’t always a career option that comes to mind for many girls and women. This happens for many reasons, including the fact that this is not an activity that has been traditionally associated with women (not so long ago, it was unthinkable that a “doctor” could be female, and not so long ago some European architecture or engineering schools simply forbid women from applying…). It’s also not hard to imagine how one could feel that she or he “does not belong” when the gender ratio is extreme.

Regardless of the cause, getting a taste of software development could ignite some passion and lead to exciting careers for talented female engineers. Not everyone likes to code, but everyone should take a look at it and see if that’s something that they would like to pursue. I used to work as a video game developer, an industry in which 8 to 11% of the workforce is female. By some estimates, mobile software development includes only 4% of female workers.

Like anything else, people should do this because they love it and because they’re good at it, but getting the chance to learn it and weigh this option in an educated manner is critical, especially since the wage difference with other jobs can be significant. Finally, as a society, we would get better software and products by selecting talents from a pool that is twice the size.

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