Month: March 2014

College Life

The social aspect of college is something a lot of girls take into consideration when deciding what to put down on their CAO. Because of the stereotype associated with Computer Science, girls might worry about not making any new friends or having anybody to socialize with in their course. There are so many places to meet new people in college – societies, clubs, etc. that no matter what course you are doing, if you are willing to put yourself out there you will make tons of new friends!

The Computer Science timetable may look quite daunting as there are so many hours in the week compared to most other courses. Personally, I found that it works out much better as you get most of your assignments done in these allocated hours in the labs compared to having hours and hours of work to do in your own time. So when other students are spending hours in the library writing 2000 word essays, computer science students will have the majority of their work done in the labs. That being said, it is still a LOT of work but your days are much more scheduled than other courses, making it easier to manage. As it can be quite a hard transition going from secondary school to the freedom of college life, this structure provides a familiarity that makes it easier to settle in. For example, you may have a certain lab to be completed at the same time every week throughout the semester. This makes organizing your social life around your college work much more manageable and the stereotype of computer nerds who sit inside everyday with no social life is completely untrue as you will have plenty of free time to do whatever you wish!

As Computer Science is such a new topic for most people entering the course, the modules may sound intimidating and could make people believe that they are not suited to the course. For example my first year modules included:

  • Programming
  • Next-Generation technologies
  • Fundamentals of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Mathematics (Honours or Ordinary level)
  • Introduction to Physics
  • Computer Systems & Organization

I had no idea what most of these modules would entail and was definitely worried that I would not be able to keep up. I feared that I would be completely lost as I didn’t have ANY computer/programming skills at all, but each module starts off from the very beginning – you are not required to have any previous knowledge. Most modules also have tutorials so if you are struggling with anything these are extremely useful as the tutors simplify everything and go through problems step by step.

All in all, its you who decides what friends you make and how to enjoy your time in college, not what course you study.

 

Intimidated?

Despite the fact that most people agree that Computer Science shouldn’t be a field dominated by males, the fact remains that men far outnumber women in IT. This alone can deter girls from studying the subject as they feel intimidated by the computer knowledge of their male peers. Girls presume that everyone studying computer science has years and years of experience with programming and endless knowledge of computers, when in fact most students entering first year of college will be starting completely from scratch. 

This video explains what may deter girls from computer science, it shows CS from a female perspective and will definitely inspire you to take a closer look into IT as a career choice!

 

 

 

Society and Stereotypes

BBT

 

Parents and teachers like to tell children they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. But are there inaccurate stereotypes in the media that nudge them away from certain careers?

Understanding what prevents girls from entering computer science is key to achieving gender balance in this field. Many girls think of computer science as ‘nerdy’ and this comes down to society and the media. There are a number of television programs – such as ‘The Big Bang Theory’ that portray this stereotype and drive girls away from a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). While this stereotype is completely inaccurate, it still has a surprisingly chilling effect on girls today. If society and the media say that girls are inherently better at the arts and humanities and worse at science and engineering then they start believing it.

Many academics spend a lot of time trying to get young girls to choose a career in computer science when they’re really too young to make those kinds of decisions.  What if children were taught about what computers can do, and worked toward a healthy appreciation for how vital computer science is to society and to a successful career, and then left them to decide on their own careers?  

If we start young, really young, and simply presented all careers as gender-neutral, and didn’t spend any energy defining special groups, what would happen?