For years, the numbers of women in computer programming careers, at all levels, have been low. As the digital age of the 2020s move along, males still outnumber females by about four to one in the field. And the disparity is not for lack of scholarship money, tuition incentives, or aggressive outreach on the part of schools. In fact, millions of dollars of earmarked funds go unused every year simply because, compared to men, very few women want to become programmers.
The good news is that for those who do desire to spend their post-college years in the competitive, highly technical niche of the work force, there are several effective tactics for getting to the top quickly. In addition to obtaining a master’s degree, women on the digital track can take advantage of internships, paid part-time jobs while in school, self-teaching, pro bono gigs, and more.
Major in a Business Subject
Women who major in non-technical subjects, like management, marketing, or liberal arts, tend to have an easier time getting into the better master’s programs. Admissions directors prefer candidates who display a well-rounded undergraduate education, but it doesn’t hurt to take several elective courses in computer programming. To bolster your tech acumen, consider enrolling in a bootcamp or summer intensive course immediately after college. Many of these condensed curricula teach you two or three essential languages as well as core programming skills in just one or two months. Some are online but others are available at major academic institutions for in-person learners.
Fund and Obtain a Graduate Degree
Earning a master’s degree in computer programming is one of the fastest ways of leaping ahead of the competition and securing employment with a large, stable corporation. During school, it’s wise to focus on grades and save a few hours for part-time work and internships. But, the smartest path, for those who want to avoid paying while in school, is to apply for a student loan from a private lender to cover all the expenses. Private sources offer competitive rates, reasonable terms, and repayment plans that fit budgets of newly hired programmers.
Apply for Internships
Many undergrad and grad-level computer programming programs offer course credit for internships, which is a win-win for students. Not only do they get career-specific experience in a real job setting, but the coursework typically involves no homework and a pass-fail grading system. However, many view intern gigs as the ideal way to begin building a professional network of prospective employers. Thousands of former interns eventually land excellent jobs with companies they spend one or two semesters working for during the college or graduate school programs.
Find Pro Bono and Charity Opportunities
Consider offering your services for free to a charitable organization you support, to a church, or to a worthy startup that needs help. When you work with no financial compensation, be certain to keep detailed records of your duties, projects, and everyday tasks. The primary reason for adding pro bono experience to your resume is to appear more attractive to prospective employers.
Consider Starting Your Own Company