How Google is supporting a new generation of female coders
Since 1994, the Computer Science contest InfoEducatie has helped hundreds of Romanian students develop their coding skills. This annual event, which has now achieved national Olympiad status, takes place at a youth camp in the Romanian countryside, where students come together and work in teams to design and build applications.
As part of our Grow with Google programme, which helps people find jobs, grow their business or careers in the digital era, we’ve been supporting InfoEducatie for the last eight years, providing funding for participants and recruiting Google volunteers to deliver inspiring workshops. Since 2017, this support has been used to encourage more girls to engage with Computer Science, with 58 female students receiving funding to participate over the last two years. What’s more, the commitment of strong female role models, such as Google engineer Ioana Atoche, is helping to inspire a whole new generation of female coders.
Ioana volunteered her time for two years running, working directly with girls at the camp, offering advice and insights about the career opportunities available to them. “It was so great to see students learning about new technologies and working together as a team. I was happy to share my experiences and show the students what skills in computer science can help you achieve.”
In today’s digital age, coding is becoming a basic literacy. It’s important for all students to be able to understand the technology that surrounds them, and having young people learn coding prepares them for the future. It’s not only the practical tech skills that students can gain - creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication and other skills are all byproducts of students learning to code.
Women are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields, with research showing that only around 30 percent of all female students select STEM-related subjects in higher education. This makes it even more important to show girls, in particular, that learning to code is both beneficial and fun.
For many, attending InfoEducatie can be a life-changing experience, as student Nicoleta Ciausu can testify. “I come from a small town, and didn’t know anyone else as passionate about creating apps as I am. I was absolutely amazed by the community at InfoEducatie – people who are creative, absolutely dedicated and passionate about what they do,” she says. “It made me realise just how important it is to stay determined and put effort into what you love.”