It isn’t a secret that portions of the technology field can be predominately male driven areas. Only 20 percent of software developers are women, and mobile payment company Square, is looking to change that with their College Code Camp endeavor.
College Code Camp brings together 20 women pursuing a degree in computer science, computer engineering or a related technical major to participate in a five-day immersion program lead by women engineers across the U.S. and Canada. The idea behind Code Camp is to educate, inspire and empower the coming generation of women in technology.
School of Information Studies (iSchool) student Cailyn Lewis ‘16 first learned about Code Camp through the iSchool’s undergraduate e-mail list. Interested, Lewis explored more about the program and automatically knew it was the perfect fit for her.
After enduring several levels of interviews, Lewis earned one of the 20 coveted spots available. She will head to Square’s San Francisco headquarters for the camp in late August.
Her goal for Code Camp is to learn what it means to be a female in a field dominated by males, and how to break the stereotypes that can typically be encountered, while remaining empowered and motivated.
“Being a female desiring a position in a traditional male field is hard, it can be mentally exhausting and sometimes it feels impossible. But knowing that there are women before me who have done it is incredible,” said Lewis. “I really felt like I needed to meet a female mentor who could really push me in the right direction, I felt like I needed that in order to keep continuing on in this unconventional path.”
Lewis is not a stranger to the technology workplace. During her junior year, she was an intern at SIDEARM Sports, a software and technology company run by iSchool faculty member Jeff Rubin. She was one of two women working in the data migration area, and considers her time with SIDEARM an amazing learning experience where she gained more than just work skills.
“Professor Rubin encouraged me to pursue programming and offered a push in a positive direction,” Lewis reflected. “He has been an incredible role model, and having him as a both a professor and as a boss is a very special bond that I am thankful for. When other people tell me I can’t, Jeff has always told me I can.”
The rising senior believes that her Code Camp experience this summer will provide her with motivation to continue on the career path she has chosen. Lewis hopes to work in the interactive design field after graduation.