Omaha is a great place to be a kid who loves code.  Between the AIM Brain Exchange, free classes at DoSpace, conferences like Code Crush, and programs like Careerockit, kids from kindergarten to high school have the opportunity to try all sorts of technology and find mentors to take them to the next step.  One organization that is near and dear to my heart is Girls Who Code, a national organization devoted to closing the gender gap in technology by getting (and keeping) young girls interested in code and computer science.

Agape Red has always been passionate about getting more women into technology, but we know it’s not enough to just focus on women who are already here. We have to bring more people in and look to the next generation of future coders. I’ve been volunteering with the Omaha branch of Girls Who Code since I was an Agape Red intern, and in a very short time I have seen it expand from two small classes of middle and high schoolers to multiple locations in the  metro area with students who return class after class. Girls have gone on from our classes to enter Computer Science internships and college programs. One group who met in the first session banded together and, with the mentorship of one of our teachers, won this year’s Omaha Bring It On IT competition with their website for connecting teens and elders through technology. The organizers from the original Omaha club are expanding too, and are now offering custom curriculum in video games built in JavaScript and database design using SQL and Ruby.

If we’re going to keep up with the growing demands of this rapidly expanding field, we need to get young people excited about code and give that enthusiasm an environment in which it can flourish. If you’d like to get involved as a mentor or sponsor, you can reach out to Omaha Girls Who Code, DoSpace, or any of the organizations fostering the future of the Omaha tech community.

By Shannon Jackson.

 

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Photo: Omaha Girls Who Code

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