By Alina Bradford
Even though women make up around half of the workforce, they only occupy a little less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs. This statistic doesn’t mean that the guys are better at STEM jobs, it just means that more ladies need the skills to break up this huge sausage fest... And coding is a great way to get started.
"I'd definitely encourage more women to get involved in coding, since it's super fun for anyone who likes puzzles and making things,” Sophia Sanchez, a software engineer who taught herself to code using online tools told MTV News. "I thought about doing one of those code schools, but for me, it just wasn't an option financially at the time, and I had been told that as long as you have the motivation, you can learn everything online for free. And it's true!"
Wanna be like Sophia and learn some rocking skills to get you a great job without getting buried in debt? Here are 21 online and offline tools and resources that any chick can use to learn how to code like a mofo.
Go To The LibraryRobert Alexander/Getty Images
Though your first thought may be to look online for resources, you may be surprised to find that your local library can help you with your quest to code. "I first recommend seeing what resources are available through your local public library. The New York Public Library, for example, offers a free, eight-week coding class for beginners,” recommended Emily Davis, Branch Manager for Adecco Engineering & Technology.
According to ladies in the biz, Codecademy is one of the most popular sites for learning code. One of the reasons it is so popular is that it teaches interactively, so boredom isn’t an option.
What could be more fun than designing your own game while you learn? Hopscotch is an iPhone app that’s taken this idea and run with it, and people are loving it.
Technocademy is the leading site for teaching veterans and seniors technology skills -- and it's popular with chicks that want to learn to code, too. Hey, if they can teach granny, they can teach anyone, right?
Meetup can be a fantastic tool for meeting others ladies who want to help each other learn to code, according to Corinne Warnshuis, Executive Director of Girl Develop It. “So many of our students are looking not only to learn but to meet like minded individuals on similar paths, which is why hosting all of our events on Meetup has been so successful; it attracts people who are already interested in and looking for opportunities to get together,” Warnshuis said.
Women Techmakers is an online community created by Google that not only provides resources for learning code, it also provides a meeting place for women in tech to collaborate and learn other skills to get ahead in the marketplace.
Want to make a website from scratch while learning coding skills? Mozilla has a nice webmaker that anyone can use for free.
Many coding ladies point to Python as being a great programming language for women, because it's a power language that lets you do a lot with a relatively small amount of code. Girl gamers are in luck! CodeCombat teaches Python coding through an online video game.
Learn Python The Hard WayLearn Python The Hard Way
Another way to learn Python is Learn Python The Hard Way. Don’t let the name fool you. This resource comes with video lessons to help you quickly slither your way through learning this programming language.
Coursera’s Stanford Algorithms CourseCoursera’s Stanford Algorithms Course
Sanchez also recommends trying Coursera’s Stanford algorithms course, which is one of the ways she learned coding.
Trygit allows you to collaborate with others on a series of code. This is a great way to learn from more experienced coders.
Women Who Code/Girl Develop ItWomen Who Code
Women Who Code (WWC) and Girl Develop It (GDI) have chapters across the nation and internationally. They offer free or heavily subsidized workshops and meet-ups to help women get better at coding. “I've found that forming a community of supportive women (and men!) has been incredibly important because it can feel quite daunting at first. It's good to know there are other people out there who are struggling with the same problems I am,” Sanchez said.
Google CS First
Want to start young or just need a user-friendly, fun way to learn? Then Google’s CS First may be right up your alley.
MIT App InventorMIT App Inventor
The MIT App Inventor is a free/open platform that beginners can use to learn coding while creating something cool. "With it, in only a couple of days, (my daughter in 5th grade) created a rudimentary Pong game and a trivia game. She loved it," Josh McColough, a corporate communications manager for Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide told MTV News.
Roblox helps kids, teens and kids at heart learn coding and game development by building their own game world.
Code SchoolCode School
Ever have an idea for a great app? Code School teaches you how to make your very own app from start to finish. The first lesson is free.
If you want all of your needs met with one site, this is it. Code.org has a wide range of videos, games and tutorials that cover everything you need to know about coding.
Coding Tutorial by Udemy is a free app for iPhone that teaches coding while you are on-the-go. Now you can make your commute useful.
Android DevelopersAndroid Developers
“It is expected that by 2018 the U.S. will need a whopping 5 million computer science jobs. Luckily, for women looking to learn to code, there are a ton of free resources available,” said Emily Davis, Branch Manager, Adecco Engineering & Technology. Android Developers offers a free class and coding tools to anyone who dreams of creating their own app.
If you’re a visual learner, then you’ll love TheCodePlayer. This side has demos of how coders built various projects. It’s like peeking over the shoulder of a mentor without ticking anyone off.
While you’re learning to code, Sanchez also recommends creating a github account so that you can post all of your projects online. She stresses that it's really important to start building a portfolio right away, even if you feel you can only do basic things at first. For women that want to jump into a male-dominated field, every little advantage helps.