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Education Google Programming

Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative 548

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-good-coders-more-good-software dept.
theodp writes: On Thursday, Google announced a $50 million initiative to inspire girls to code called Made with Code. As part of the initiative, Google said it will also be "rewarding teachers who support girls who take CS courses on Codecademy or Khan Academy." The rewards are similar to earlier coding and STEM programs run by Code.org and Google that offered lower funding or no funding at all to teachers if participation by female students was deemed unacceptable to the sponsoring organizations. The announcement is all the more intriguing in light of a Google job posting seeking a K-12 Computer Science Education Outreach Program Manager to "work closely with external leaders and company executives to influence activities that drive toward collaborative efforts to achieve major 'moonshots' in education on a global scale." Perhaps towards that end, Google recently hired the Executive Director of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), who was coincidentally also a Code.org Advisory Board member. And Code.org — itself a Made With Code grantee — recently managed to lure away the ACM's Director of Public Policy to be its COO. So, are these kinds of private-public K-12 CS education initiatives (and associated NSF studies) a good idea? Some of the nation's leading CS educators sure seem to think so (video).
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Girls Take All In $50 Million Google Learn-to-Code Initiative

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  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:17AM (#47281131) Homepage

    ... wait to see if this increases the number of women taking these courses and going into CS. If it does then that suggests that women are interested and just needed the right environment or some encouragement. If it doesn't we can conclude that they just are not interested because of genetics or whatever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:24AM (#47281191)

    No, you can't come to a conclusion based on a failure to achieve a goal.

    You just know that method didn't work. Not that you can't make a lightbulb.

  • Want to code? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:27AM (#47281221) Homepage

    Are you a girl? Great! Here's all kinds of grant money to help people make that happen.

    Are you a boy? Get out of my classroom, if we have too many of you it will threaten our grant money.

    That's "progress" for you.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:31AM (#47281273)

    Another part of the "whatever" could be students visiting workplaces and finding out they've all switched to open-plan work environments with extremely high noise levels, constant interruptions, and zero privacy, and students are switching to other majors where they can have a career path that doesn't cap out by the time they're 35 and in which they have a work environment conducive to concentration.

  • Re:Want to code? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:33AM (#47281309)
    No, it's more like "why is ~50% of the country not pursuing IT?" Seeing as IT is fantastically important to today's economy, and half of the population just isn't interested in taking part in it, it seems like an issue that should be researched. This is one way to do that. You can act all put upon and oppressed, but as you're not, you just sound like one of the people who causes people to think IT is full of socially-awkward neckbeards who think they're special.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:36AM (#47281339)

    So now Google thinks they need to pay women to learn to code? What an absolutely sexist campaign. Women are plenty capable of learning to code, they don't need cash payouts by patriarchal companies; this is akin to prostitution and Google should be ashamed.

  • by Sperbels (1008585) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:39AM (#47281375)
    Who knows if there's something genetic but there's obviously something cultural. Most women don't strive to immerse themselves in a culture that is predominated by socially awkward beta males. I don't understand why nobody accepts this obvious explanation for the lack of women.
  • It will never work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raseri (812266) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:41AM (#47281391)
    There's been an ever-increasing push over the last 10 or 12 years to get more girls and women into tech, with almost no visible results; in fact, the number of women in tech has been declining for decades. This seems odd at first, but the reason this push is constantly being attempted at all is that it's part of a larger effort to increase the pool of applicants and decrease salaries. It's the same reason that Facebook, Google, et al. want to increase the number of H1-B visa workers.

    There is nothing stopping a girl or woman from learning programming/networking/etc. if she wants to, and these increasingly bizarre, desperate, and creepy attempts to lure in women will end up pushing away the ones who might have pursued tech careers otherwise.
  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:44AM (#47281411)
    I don't blame misogyny for girls not getting into programming, because I don't think computer programming is necessarily characterized by social interaction. The lone "cowboy[/cowgirl] coder" is much more of the norm than our zealous gender imbalance adjusters think.

    When I was getting into programming in the 90's I certainly didn't rely on anybody else's affirmation -- I learned how to program sitting by myself at my computer(s) with very little in the way of two way communication with the outside world. I realize it's not the 90's anymore, but the argument that says you have to have a vibrant Twitter presence and go to local programmer meetups to be a coder today is, quite frankly, hogwash. It's about the code, friend.

    Here's another theory that I will probably be flamed for -- maybe girls don't get into programming as often for the same reason that female deer don't bash heads against each other as often as the males do. Maybe it boils down to testosterone. Males of many species have an impulsive drive to accomplish certain things, and in humans' case this is largely independent of intellectual aptitude. Yes, girls are smart. Many could be good programmers. But do they want to? Are they driven to? Am I (at least partially) driven to my peculiar lifestyle of being glued to a screen and eschewing much social interaction because of testosterone? ("Yeah, you'd like to _think_ so" I can hear my naysayer naysaying.) But these are questions I honestly ask.
  • Re:Want to code? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:45AM (#47281435)

    Really? Men are not put upon?

    So, here we have a situation where it is explicitly stated that no resources will be used for males, yet all kinds will be spent on females. How is this not blatant discrimination? It sounds very similar to "Blacks need not apply" signs.

    But, yes, you're right. Men have had it so good for so long (this is very debatable), that clearly they can never have any grievances about the state of society. Ever.

  • Re:Take all? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:52AM (#47281477) Homepage

    Because sexualization of women whenever the topic of women in IT comes up is a great way to interest more women in IT?

  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert.laurencemartin@org> on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:56AM (#47281527)

    She would most likely start cutting down one of her microseconds to strangle some folks. We don't need to do stuff like this we need to get kids to learn from the beginning that

    1 Girls are not SEX OBJECTS
    2 Smart and Pretty are not exclusive of each other
    3 Some girls can do Math and some boys can't do Math (and science and tech and...)

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:58AM (#47281545)

    Why doesn't someone put fifty million into figuring our why fewer young men are graduating from universities than ever before, instead of trying to "lean in" on what feminists perceive as "soft skill white collar" industries.

    Sounds good?

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:02AM (#47281571) Homepage

    Maybe the "whatever" is that we are importing a steady stream of H-1B workers to reduce salaries, and that you're about as likely to find a job in IT after 45 as you are to find one in the NBA.

    Maybe the "right environment" is where we only allow H-1B visas when unemployment is below 4%, and make it a felony to fake job postings to give jobs to foreigners instead of Americans.

    45-year old guy here says you are full of it. Unless we are confining the job search a very narrow area with a history of ageism (Silicon Valley), I call bs on that kind of statements (statements I've been seeing for the last 20 years). Some of my colleagues/ex-colleagues are approaching their late 50's and are still getting well-paid, 6-figure gigs (both perm and contract).

    If you are worth your shit, you will get a job in IT regardless of your age.

  • Really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:02AM (#47281579) Journal

    My salary has been steadily increasing and I certainly haven't found that there are skilled developers sitting idle at home. I can collect a small fortune in placement fees, if only I know some out-of-work developers I wouldn't be ashamed to recommend.

    The simple fact from where I am standing is: There is a lot of work and there are not enough skilled people to do it yet we are only using 50% of the population.

    But the sector has a massive negative image. Not even so much anti-women as anti-human. If you don't fight for yourself you won't get raises by just doing a good job and managers will happily have you do 80 hours with no compensation if they can get away with it. So a LOT of good developers I know have started their own businesses to get out of the rat race. You really got to love coding to stay with it when you can make money in consulting.

    But part of the problem is the gigantic hatred you see on this site and sites like tweakers any time a story of this kind comes up. "The girls are getting some money, UNFAIR!". Crybabies. There are tons of initiatives to promote coding in general, plenty of competitions if you so wish, plenty of events to visit often with booth babes. No booth boys.

    Let it go! Or at least accept that if this news story makes your blood boil, you got issues. And your issues are poisoning your work place or are even the reason you can't find a job despite your leet skills.

    Nobody with real skills fears competition. If you see a new employee as anything but "FINALLY, some HELP, here is ticket 1000-9999, I take the remaining 1 million until you are up to speed", you are not a developer, real developers don't have enough spare time to worry about their jobs.

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:41AM (#47281977)

    Girls are not SEX OBJECTS

    Yes, they are. In the sense that men look upon women and have a desire to sleep with them.

    The problem is thinking that women are only sex objects.

  • Re:Want to code? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:01PM (#47282221)

    Sorry, but when I hear a MRA whining about how bad men have it, it's just asking for violin.

    And really? It's too much to ask for men to not rape? To the point that about one in ten men confesses in anonymous peer-reviewed surveys to having raped at least once, and a third of those to serial rape? It's really too much to ask for it not to be this absurdly common?

    Yours is the most pernicious hypocrisy, guilty of the same sexism you fight against.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:06PM (#47282283)

    according to our social contract

    Show me this "social contract". I think a big part of the problem here is delusional reasoning based on imaginary things that don't actually exist. I grant that there is cooperation in a society, it is an inherent and necessary component. But to claim that is a "contract", requires that the thing be voluntary and agreed to. That generally is not the case.

    I find that most of the people who use the term, "social contract" want me to do things for them, but can't be bothered to come up with reasons aside from vacuous, moralistic bullshit for doing them. My view is that these "social contracts", such as they are, are driving societies into the ground by creating all sorts of hefty obligations without providing the empowering means for satisfying those obligations..

    Yup. The "social contract" is the rallying cry of the young liberal who wants some illogical, inequitable bullshit. It's their version of "There oughta be a law!".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:09PM (#47282311)

    Why doesn't someone put fifty million into figuring our why fewer young men are graduating from universities than ever before, instead of trying to "lean in" on what feminists perceive as "soft skill white collar" industries.

    Sounds good?

    I work at one of the largest Universities in the US.
    On our campus, females outnumber males by 3:2. This divide is growing. This is championed as a great thing for equality, diversity, etc.
    Of course, if it were reversed, it would be a shameful failure that needed $$$$$$$$$$$ and political outrage to be fixed.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:16PM (#47282375) Journal

    Agreed with all but this one bit:

    ...a career path that doesn't cap out by the time they're 35...

    Not everyone in IT is a developer, eh?

    At one month shy of 45 years old, I'm drowning in recruiters wanting me to talk to people, testing on my part has shown that employers are hella eager to speak with me, and they all see "20 years of experience" right at the top of my frickin' resume.

    Seriously though - where in the hell does everyone get the idea that just because your beard turns gray you're suddenly worthless in IT? Sure I've seen IT folks who are, in all honesty, well past their expiration date - but this is mostly because they've either mentally checked-out, burned-out, or they're deluded prima donnas with demands that no other employer with a brain would want to even contemplate. The prima donnas are usually considered to be rock stars within the little company where they've worked for 15 years or so, but discover to their horror that the sweet little deals they have with their employer is something no other employer would want to buy into. The first two are fucking helpless whenever something new or unusual comes along. None of these, single or combined, make up the majority, and judging by my own experience, most employers know it.

    Assertions aside, there's also the hordes of graybeards out there who not only read and write COBOL, FORTRAN, et al, but along the way write their own effing paychecks. Why? Because they know the ancient languages which the trend-chasing .NET and Ruby-on-Rails s'kiddies apparently can't be bothered to learn. ;)

  • Re:Want to code? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday June 20, 2014 @01:02PM (#47282793) Homepage

    Claiming that men have no legitimate qualms when it comes to gender equality; that is sexist.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:24PM (#47283637)
    It is filled with socially awkward beta males because they are working on their computers Saturday nights while the teen girls are banging the alpha males. I can tell you that if more girls would have wanted to have sex with me in high school, my technical skills would have been far lower.

    So, the non-mysoginist explanation of what is deterring women from the field is that women are not being deterred. They are just not being attracted to the field because they are at a disadvantage due to the fact that they spent their youth treating men as sex objects instead of studying technology.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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