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Group aiming to boost representation of women in tech industry

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 14:40:59-04

With women very underrepresented in the tech industry, a group is working to bring them into the fold.

“There’s always a need for more women in tech,” said Kelly Revenaugh.

After working in tech marketing, Revenaugh decided to make the jump to software engineering. But when she started a coding bootcamp, she was one of just a few women.

“I went through the Hack Reactor and Galvanize software engineering program in New York in 2019. When I was going there, wasn’t very many women in any of these programs or in tech in general,” said Revenaugh.

A study by McKinsey & Company showed women make up only a quarter of the workforce and other statistics show they make up just 14% of software engineers.

Now, she’s created a support group within Galvanize, the company that runs world-famous coding boot camp Hack Reactor. It’s a space where women can share their experiences, mistakes and questions with other women.

“I wanted to create a, kind of a safe and inclusive place for women to learn, to begin their road to coding,” said Revenaugh.

So far, it’s been the road Cindy Ryoo has made her career u-turn on.

“Shortly after graduating, I decided to work as an environmental consultant. I ended up getting laid off because of COVID. I’ve always been interested in coding, never really had any experience with it. So I decided to apply to Hack Reactor and I’m currently a part of their Austin cohort,” said Ryoo.

It’s part of an effort by Galvanize to increase diversity in tech.

“We still have only 24% of computer scientists that are women, and despite women making up half the workforce, this number is abysmal,” said Sam Kline, the director of diversity and inclusion at Galvanize.

Kline says the spaces created by people like Kelly are important to getting more women into tech.

“The tech industry should look more like America and less like an old boys club,” said Kline.

The hope is that groups like the one Kelly started can create a more equitable space for women in tech.

“I really wish when I was younger, I did have a role model who looked like me, who I saw was successful and in a leadership position, or not even a leadership position, even just low on the totem pole, but in the industry,” said Ryoo.

“It’s been great, it’s been really cool to see women get excited about tech and not be intimidated by it," said Revenaugh.

“There are plenty of women who are available, available as part of this workforce and it’s time for us to be more invested in ensuring that we not only attract those individuals into tech, but also that we retain them,” said Kline.