Coding While Female: Resources For Women Who Code or Want to Code

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Originally posted on Girl Meets Code.

There’s not enough women in tech.

There, I said it. And no, I won’t repeat the stats and link to tons of reports again. Seriously, google “Women in Tech” or “Women in Tech Statistics.” Heck, you can even google about Google’s diversity problem. And definitely check out this amazing manifesto from women in the industry. (OK, I guess I linked a few things.)

So what can you do if you’re a woman learning to code? How do you even begin? And since women are so underrepresented, is it possible to create safe spaces to learn?

Good news! There’s actually tons of great resources out there to help you along, and some really awesome groups, too.

Safe Spaces

Black Girls Code
A non-profit organization that introduces young black girls to programming languages like Ruby on Rails. They host hackathons and workshops, and even offer scholarships.

Girl Develop It
Girl Develop It aims to empower women of diverse backgrounds through software development. Where I live, there’s usually at least a couple GDI workshops and meetups a week on topics like JavaScript, HTML5/CSS3, and even salary negotiation.

Women Who Code
Another group focusing on empowering women through tech. They host hack nights, career development workshops, study groups, and panel discussions. They also made the comfiest t-shirt I own. No, really, I love this shirt.

Ladies Learning Code
A Canadian non-profit group providing hands-on technology workshops for women.

I don’t have a kid, but I do know it’s really hard for mothers to devote the time and expense to get into tech. MotherCoders offers a “technology orientation program” teaching moms enough to get them moving toward the next step in their technical careers.

RailsBridge hosts free weekend workshops teaching women Ruby on Rails. When I first started learning to code, I went through their Installfest.

Hackbright Academy
If you’re ready to dive into bootcamps, you might consider Hackbright Academy. It aims to turn women into software engineers in ten weeks. The great thing about a predominantly female space like Hackbright is it helps alleviate the stereotype threat women may feel in largely male spaces.

Ada Initiative
An openly feminist organization (yay!) that supports women in the industry through workshops, advocacy work, and conferences.

The biggest problem with many of these groups is that smaller towns aren’t always represented. If you live in an isolated community, it might be really expensive and difficult to attend a meet-up or workshop.

So that means you have to look virtual.

Online Resources

Skillcrush provides development courses geared toward women (though by no means exclusive to them). They also run an awesome blog focusing on everything from tech tools to freelancing to being a woman in the field. I’ve taken a few of their classes and really enjoyed them.

The Odin Project
FREE! FREE! FREE! way to dip your toes into languages like HTML5/CSS3, Ruby, and JavaScript.

Code School
Code School offers some free content, like Intro to Github, Try Ruby, and Rails for Zombies. A subscription can get a little pricey at $29 per month, but their quirky approach to coding does make learning pretty fun.
A (gorgeous) guided tour through some of the best free coding resources on the web.

And if you can’t find a place you like in the above, check out blogger Michelle Glauser’s exhaustive list of coding resources for women.

So there you have it: a brief rundown of safe spaces and good starts for women interested in coding.

Does this list cover everything? No way! There might be even better resources out there — but you have to tell me about them so I can tell others! Leave a comment below and let’s keep sharing the coding love.

Writer, knitter, firebrand. Likes superheroes, cats, and changing the world.


  1. Adrielle Stapleton

    September 24, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    Thanks Kelly, great list! I was just looking at the online resource Code Academy. All their classes are free and it seems beginner friendly. I’ve enjoyed Skillshare too. I’ll have to check out

    • Kelly

      September 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Thanks, Adrielle! So glad it helped. Great suggestions with Code Academy and Skillshare, too. I haven’t tried Skillshare yet — what do you think about it?

  2. michelleglauser

    September 25, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    I’m glad you like my list. Let me know if you think there’s anything I need to add to it!

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