Coding is worth it, trust me.
My name is Briana Berger, and I’m from Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL. I LOVE to understand the ins and outs of everything and always ask questions. I think that my love for code grew out of that.
I started coding when I was in middle school, creating basic websites with HTML. I was introduced to it by my aunt who worked in information security. She has fiery red hair, loves to make jokes, wears makeup, and exudes confidence. She was my role model and her influence propelled me towards a future in tech.
Yet, in my introductory coding classes and camps, I was one of the only girls. At first, I didn’t really care until people would give me a double-take because of being female. Once, a boy entered my class and loudly said “Wow, I didn’t expect there to be any girls in the class” as he eyed me sitting in the front row. A few years later, I was an iD Tech Scholar and the only girl in the group. Those experiences compiled and made me feel alone as a girl who codes.
Determined to pursue my passion for computer science, I did some late-night googling and came across Girls Who Code, a sisterhood bound by computer science. I felt less alone knowing there were some other — actually a lot of — girls like me out there. I anxiously waited for a year for a Club to start in my community and joined the Club at University of Florida as soon as it opened!
My Girls Who Code Club has given me a family of girl coders: we laugh; we sing along to Hamilton and Disney songs; we support each other; we push each other to succeed; AND we code.
Girls Who Code doesn’t just represent a sisterhood of coders, though, it represents a change in society. Bringing more women into the tech workforce is severely important to the economy, innovation and to my own professional future.
Learning to code has shown me that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Aside from being a Girls Who Code Club member, I’m a member of my school’s Spanish Club, the treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta, and a leader of my church’s youth ministry. My app, SleepBeep, won Technovation’s Worldwide Coding Competition as a Semifinalist and the Congressional App Challenge. I also started my own non-profit called SeniorTechNet to encourage seniors to use technology and have taught some of the members to code!
Learning to code has also given me skills to give back to my community and change the world. People who are deaf can hear because of code. People who need help can call emergency services because of code. Computer science is a transforming agent for our society. Just think of how much you rely on technology every day. I bet it’s a lot!
So, as you enter this new year, why not try coding? You can try coding anything: a website, a game, a quiz, or even an app. Find a Girls Who Code Club nearby or apply to the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program and try it. Girls need to take advantage of the role that technology plays in our everyday lives and in our economy. Girls need to consider coding as an option. Coding is worth it; trust me.
Written by Briana Berger
Originally published at imagirlwhocodes.com on January 18, 2017.