Summer Programs That Teach Girls to Code

Introducing children to computer science as soon as they are interested, especially girls, is a proven method of encouragement for future endeavors in the tech industry. Code camps for kids are scheduled all around the country throughout the summer. All-girl camps and mom+daughter events are scheduled, too.

Code CampIf you’ve been following tech news you may have read about the bright young woman of 17 who has been attending code competitions with her father (also a programmer). Her most recent competition ended with a big win over professional developers who were all adults and mostly men. Jennie Lamere’s winning app saves Twitter goers from potential TV show spoilers by hiding relevant updates about spoiled shows. Lamere hopes to one day work at Google and will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall.

One day, Lamere’s story will not be an anomaly and girls will be just as likely to continue on to jobs in technology as their male counterparts. Code camps are a way to encourage kids, especially girls, to do something fun with technology. These camps aren’t all work, they offer plenty of traditional summer camp fun.

App Camp 4 Girls
Portland, OR
August 19-23, 2013

App Camp 4 Girls teaches coding and business skills to girls in grades 6-8. Classes are led by women instructors and focus on iOS development. This summer’s session is the first camp. The “beta” camp will run June 22-24th and all spots are taken. The camp intends to expand to older and younger age groups after this year.

Girls Learning Code
Toronto, ON
Ages 9-13
Father-daughter hack day June 15, 2013

These code camps help girls discover their passion for technology and help them experience the satisfaction in building great technology, not just using it. Girls Learning Code helps girls build confidence and self-assurance and developing a willingness to try new things while increasing knowledge of tech-related fields.

iD Tech (formerly Internal Drive)
University Campuses around the U.S.
Ages 7-18

iD Tech camps offer a variety of technology courses including, but not limited to mobile development, 3D modeling, graphic design, and video game design. Camp lengths are one to two weeks.

Emagination Computer Camps
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Atlanta, GA
Philadelphia, PA
Ages 8-18

Founded in 1982, Emagination Computer Camps teach programing logic, robotics, Java, C++, mobile game design, and iOS apps. Day and overnight camps are available.

Black Girls Who Code
Various Locations
Ages 7-17

Black Girls Who Code introduces computer science and coding to under served communities. This program teaches Scratch, Ruby on Rails, HTML, and CSS.

Geek Girl Camp
Boston, MA
Cape Cod, MA
Phoenix, AZ
San Diego, CA
Ages 10-88

These hands-on, day-long events provide instruction in mobile app development and PC and Mac troubleshooting.

Iridescent Learning
New York, NY
Bay Area, CA
Grades 3-12
July 8 – August 2, 2013 (Weekdays)

Summer engineering camps whose mission is to use science, technology, and engineering to develop persistent curiosity.

Girls Who Code
June & July 2013
High School Juniors

This unique 8 week summer emersion program covers computer science, mobile development, robotics, web design, algorithms, Python, web design UI and UX. Campers are embedded in a university setting or technology company for 8 weeks.

Geek Chic Computer Camps
Various Locations
Grades 2-12
July – August

Saturday Academy offers a variety of STEM courses for kids over the summer. They cover basic programming, robotics, engineering, lego robotics, lego physics, and math laps to name six.

Microsoft Digi Girls & High Tech Camp
Various Locations
Grades 7-12
June – November

Microsoft aims to encourage and recruit with its opportunities for girls. All technical levels are accepted and encouraged to apply. From the site: “…students interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and to get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Microsoft.”

Rochester Institute of Technology Women in Engineering Program
Rochester, NY
Grades 5-12
July 2013

This university sponsored program offers hands-on engineering lessons and recreation to small classes of girls and young women entering grades five through twelve. They offer two camp options and group girls together by grade.

University of North Texas Robo Day Camps
Austin, TX
Richardson, TX
Denton, TX
Frisco, TX
Grades 8-12
June – July 2013

Multiple day camps are available through the University of North Texas, Austin. They offer all-girl and co-ed camps teaching robotics, Xbox game development, and Android app development. These are day camps available to kids entering grades eight through twelve.

AAUW TechTrek Science & Math Camp for Girls
University of Central Florida
Bowling Green State University
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
University of Texas at Tyler
Pacific Lutheran University
Girls entering 8th grade
July 14-27 (depending on location)

The AAUW TechTrek initiative is designed for girls whose parents did not attend college and live in rural and small school districts. Campers have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with math, science, and technology. The AAUW authored an excellent research paper entitled Why so few? [pdf]. Data gathered for this paper is the basis for offering the TechTrek program to middle school girls.

If your child has attended one of these camps in the past, I would love to read about their experiences in the comments section below.

Edited July 10, 2014 to update iD Tech/Internal Drive information.

4 Responses to “Summer Programs That Teach Girls to Code”

  1. JuneBug

    I don’t know how I feel about girl oriented classes for coding. I think it’s good to encourage women to code, but all these women only programs just seems to reinforce the stereotype that women can’t do it so they need to be handled carefully to be taught it.

    And not everyone can code. I am a female developer and I have worked with plenty of men who just couldn’t cut it….

    • I agree. I don’t think “everyone” can learn how to code anymore than “everyone” can learn how to perform neurosurgery.

      Additionally, there’s a huge difference between learning “how to code” and learning how to do it well enough to get a job in the field. I have no problem putting together simple WordPress sites for myself, but I don’t know anywhere near enough about it to get a job as a WordPress developer. I also know how to use a plumbing snake and install ceiling fans; that doesn’t qualify me for plumbing or electrical jobs.

  2. Program yoUr Future, a non-profit outreach program, aims to raise greater awareness for women in technology by complimenting San Francsico Bay Area middle school girls’ education with programming basics using AppInventor and Scratch, networking skills, and fieldtrips to local museums or tech companies. PUF will also cover topics, including How to Write a Resume, STEM Year-long Opportunities, and High School Success & Leadership. Participants will also interact with and learn from IT and STEM mentors and key note speakers AND participate in mock interviews. Through fun CS-related hands-on activities, they will not only have the opportunity to explore interdisciplinary applications and acquire presentation skills but will also be able to keep their creation as a souvenir! The participants are also challenged to identify a social issue or problem and design a solution integrating the use of information technology. No programming experience or prior computer science knowledge is necessary to participate! The girls will form a strong community and enduring friendships! Students will also have the opportunity to receive prizes and scholarship money! Apply to PUF now!