The Girls Who Code computer science club met up on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Ardent Academy Northwood from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The girls were ready for their second meeting of the club’s new season, led by club instructor and software engineer Bill Foote.

The girls, who meet every Saturday starting in September, worked on their laptops to resume their projects on a coding program called Codesters while Foote lectured on how to deal with repetitive code in Python. The girls applied the concepts to their individual Python-based projects in order to not only enhance them but to also gain experience using the new concepts.

“I have taken other coding classes before,” Girls Who Code member and freshman Katherine McPhie said.“But this environment—to be with all these girls—is especially important and helpful in learning about code... since this field is typically dominated by men.”

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry can be very intimidating, and the work done by Girls Who Code is just a way of leveling the playing field when it comes to getting jobs in this department. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, only 10 percent of people in the computer science workforce are women.

“Being a woman, [front-end developing] is an intimidating environment,” explains web designer and keynote guest speaker Katherine Shaw.“But it’s a lot better now. And it’s only getting better by the work that we are doing in [Girls Who Code] and the outreach this organization has for girls.”

The director of the Girls Who Code club, Sophie Courtney, agrees with Shaw as well.

“There is an incredible underrepresentation of girls when it comes to computer programming,” Courtney said. ‘This problem isn’t because of a lack of interest, but rather because the environment is unfriendly and unwelcoming to girls, and Girls Who Code is trying to counteract that.”

The Girls Who Code club has one sole purpose: to spread the love of coding and computer science to girls in Orange County. “Hopefully Girls Who Code can give girls not just the desire to pursue the computer field, or STEM in general, but give them the confidence as well,” Foote said. “They need to be excited about it in order to love it, and I think that’s what Girls Who Code is trying to do.”

OC Coder offers classes year-round for local students. For more information, visit occoder.org.