Women in Tech Profile: June Barasa of Girls Code

June Barasa Founder girlscode
June Barasa, Founder girlscode

June Barasa a curriculum developer for JavaScript at Moringa School and Founder of girls code, studied Computer Science as a major and minor in Networking at Riara University. In today’s series of Women in Tech, she talks about her initiative and other successful programs and events she is running.

GirlsCode is a non-profit organization that aims to bridge the gender gap in tech by promoting tech literacy among women in Kenya and create a tech pipeline for women in tech related courses and careers. Our target are girls from the age of 16-23; the beginners who want to start a career in tech or those looking forward to improve their coding skills .

I got my inspiration to start the girlscode from the fact that our computer science class had a total of about 24 students, of which only 5 were ladies. Personally I had basic skills and experience with computers.

The gentlemen on the other hand had a far much better experience in coding and computers in general to even get enrolled into the course. I knew I had to bring my A game, now that I had swapped my course from Economics and Finance to Computer science and that meant I had to work twice as hard.

My passion for coding become apparent when I hacked how to write a few lines of code, then built a simple calculator program in C++ this really excited me to a point I had tell it to my friends. I even showed my mum how to create one.The idea of teaching girls how to code popped up but stayed at the back of my mind. I eventually picked it up and tested it with a few high schools that turned out to be a one week boot-camp.

I wouldn’t say we are there yet, it’s still hard to spot a woman in the tech space since they are buried in a crowd of men. We need to encourage them more to get out and be visible. There is still a lot that needs to be done.

Our curriculum is acquired from that of GirlDevelopIt which is an open source platform under creative commons which works well for us. Everyday after class, we run a coding session where we create teams and contribute to open source projects.

Besides GirlsCode, we are a part of Eldoret Developers Circle, DevC a global network that assists developers connect each other in their local community. We work alongside Getrude Nyenyeshi, DevC developers lead. We are geared towards exploring the tech community in Eldoret and so far we have managed to run three successful meetups.

Eldoret has untapped talent and its gradually growing as a far as tech industry is concerned. DevC has been a great platform for bringing the community together, and I am looking forward to having more programs in the remaining part of the year.

women who code at #girlscode.

My major objective is to scale up our tracks  for the girls in the community to explore, so far we have had girls getting comfortable with software engineering that is web and Android, however there could be a need to expand to data science, machine learning, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, and so much more.

There is lack of consistency in learning, sometimes it’s just a change in how we perceive the whole thing about computers, some feel like its too hard to even navigate through the computers. But the fortunate thing is that coding is like learning mathematics, the more you do it the more you get better at it, the more you learn even newer and easier methods to get a solution, so once you learn how to write a few lines of code and get it right, you get better at it every single day.

Riara university where I studied have been really supported this initiative in terms of space and WiFi. As well as Akirachix who donated a laptops to the girls who came in with none, that was really altruistic. We would however need more funds to scale to our tracks.

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Waithira Kunene
waithira Kunene is a techie, occasional writer who loves a good book + coffee☕.