Coding in pink: leading more females into the technology industry

In 2013, only 18% of U.S. college graduates with a computer science degree were women.  It seems like if you give the opportunity for a woman to code, the technology industry expects her to ask “where are the pink accessories?”

More girls should be granted access to tech spaces. The root of this problem does not lie in universities or even Silicon Valley and their notorious nonexistent gender diversity. It stems even further, from a very young age. Girls and boys are taught that math and science are for the boys. Whenever a computer crashes, you call a technology specialist and chances are, he is a male. So how can this field invite girls in? A potential answer is “pinkifying” coding. They use this tactic because girls may find coding uninteresting and using the color pink can help encourage and invite them to try something new. The color is meant to emphasize “you’re a girl who codes” and “you’re a coder.”

Emily Reid, curriculum director of Girls Who Code, tells Mashable the tendency to pinkify coding comes from a desire to “meet girls where we think they are.” While she says the intention is good, the problem comes with assuming girls won’t be inherently interested in computer science — that things like “pink and princesses” are needed to lure them in.

Coding is a space that is historically not inviting to girls, especially African American girls. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, also uses the color pink to appeal to girls.

All in all, it’s a controversial solution. If girls were encouraged from childhood, this would not be so “offensive.” But it’s definitely a baby step towards evening out a male-centered profession.

Article via Mashable, January 24, 2016

Photo: Crossroads Elementary School via DoDEA [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


Firms should be looking for lawyers with cyber security knowledge

New stories of businesses being hacked are constantly being brought to light, and many need guidance from their legal teams on the measures and steps necessary after such an incident occurs. Cyberintrusion isn’t only confined to big businesses, though. Even the U.S. government and healthcare providers are also experiencing hacking. With this in mind, the Department of Justice has provided instructions for cybervictims through the Cybersecurity Unit called Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents. According to the Department of Justice, it is important for businesses and organizations to have a legal team familiar with cyberintrusion because it poses different concerns than a physical intrusion. For example, business need to know which measures they can or cannot take in order to try to remedy the situation. A wrong move could result in legal action against the company, which is the last thing one wants to deal with after being hacked. Additionally, businesses can better protect themselves against hacking if their lawyers know which cyber security practices are legal and effective to use.

The lack of uniformity surrounding how companies must react to cyberintrusion also requires lawyers to be extremely knowledgeable about the laws effecting their location. Though the U.S. government may soon implement a law that requires the same response for every company no matter its location, currently there are policies specific to each of the 47 states that have requirements concerning investigation into hacking. Additionally, companies that process credit cards should be familiar with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. With so many regulations and procedures that may change in the future as policies are taken into consideration by state and national governments, it is more important than ever for lawyers to be tech and cyber-savvy.

Article via E-Commerce TimesJuly 20, 2015

Photo Code view via Jeffrey Zeldman  [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

 


Coding is for everyone

Once thought to only be useful for engineers and computer geeks, coding is rapidly becoming not only commonplace but also necessary for many professions. This is even true for lawyers, as law firms are looking for lawyers who have experience with cybersecurity and patent lawyers aren’t knowledgeable enough about the software industry to fully understand potential lawsuits. Education focusing on computer science is even being implemented in grade schools, and for good reason. An article by the Huffington Post explains that if learning code is relegated to a small portion of the population, especially if that portion does not include individuals knowledgeable about the law, hackers will find it very easy to outmaneuver lawyers. It is becoming more imperative every day that people educate themselves about coding. Even if you don’t think you’ll be using your new coding skills in your day to day life, the logical reasoning and problem solving that coding requires can be applied to many situations.

Thankfully, one can learn to code at any age, and there are lots of resources available online. Coursera provides free online classes taught by computer science professors at well-known universities around the country such as Rice University and Stanford University. If “going back to school” isn’t your thing, Khan Academy features videos on a multitude of subjects including coding. Pamela Fox, one of the coding instructors for Khan Academy, describes the videos she creates as “five minutes that will work for pretty much everybody”. Codecademy, another great resource, lets you choose how you want to learn coding, whether that be through concentrating on projects or taking a course. Steve Schwartz, who praises Codecademy for allowing anyone to start with the very basics of computer science, also draws parallels between the logical reasoning required for the LSAT and for coding. Even if you’re years away from practicing law, learning to code can still be extremely useful.

I’ve highlighted just a few options for starting to learn code, but there are hundreds of resources online, with focuses ranging from women in coding to underrepresented groups in STEM. To see some great options, check out Free Coding Courses under the Courses tab.

Articles via The Center for Innovative Justice and Technology, August 24, 2015; The Atlantic, March 23, 2012; Huffington Post, August 25, 2015; Business Insider, November 5, 2014;  and LSAT Blog, December 19, 2013

Photo: Matrix Code via David.Asch [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]