Girl Develop It has launched a chapter in Baltimore.
With a mission to bring more women into the technology field through regular classes on software programming languages, the global nonprofit gave final approval for the Baltimore chapter in the fall. Baltimore chapter founder Misty Melton said within the next two weeks, the first programming class for mid-February will be scheduled.
“There has been a huge, huge response to it,” said Melton, a 34-year-old with a background in IT, implementation training and technical writing. “I’ve been flooded by people saying they want to help, both men and women.”
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It was Melton’s own interest that led her to see if Baltimore had its own chapter.
“I’ve wanted to get more into programming,” she said. “I learn better in hands-on classes. And my daughter’s also a budding programmer. I was looking for more opportunities around, and didn’t see any.”
While men can’t attend the classes, they are able to help as teachers and mentors. So far Melton has received commitments from Federal Hill incubator Betamore and AOL/Ad.com to act as locations for the programming courses, which Melton said will range between $20 and $40 for anywhere from two to four hours of instruction.
“Beyond that we can delve into whatever we want, but we need to create curriculum to get approved by headquarters before we teach other things,” Melton said.
In the spring, Melton plans to help launch a Washington, D.C., chapter of Girl Develop It.
The goal, ultimately, is to provide both girls and women an affordable chance to learn programming in a field that is typically dominated by men: Advanced Placement class data shows that of the 29,555 students that took the AP Computer Science test in 2013, just 18.55 percent of them were women.
“There have been one-off events [in Baltimore] like Rails Girls, but we want to see more follow-up of where to go next,” said Melton.
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