Square’s Code Camp for High School and College Women Engineering Students
A past participant (and Square convert!)’s experiences with Square’s programs for women in tech.
Written by Kat Hawthorne.
Last year I participated in Square’s inaugural College Code Camp, a four-day immersion program for women engineering students from all over the United States and Canada. The program was built around four (we like the number four a lot at Square) foundational goals: leadership, community, engineering ability, and career preparation. These goals were made concrete through a variety of activities ranging from screenprinting T-shirts at a local Square merchant, to meetings with Square executives, to crash courses in Ruby, iOS, and design.
The activities were fantastic, but the best part was (without question) the people involved in the program. The other young women who participated were some of the most impressive people I’ve ever met, and we all still keep in touch. The engineers I met during Code Camp continued to serve as mentors after I joined Square full time.
Code Camp taught me to speak up, to not be afraid to ask questions, and to be more confident in my abilities. As a woman in computer science who came to the field late, I always felt like I was somehow “behind.” Life’s not a race, and the most valuable asset that anyone can have is an eagerness to keep on improving. My advice to anyone, not just women in engineering, is to always search for a place that will help you keep growing professionally and as a person. Code Camp made it clear to me that Square was that place for me.
Today we announced our second annual College Code Camp, and our first annual High School Code Camp. High School Code Camp will be an eight-month program designed to prepare young women in San Francisco for the AP Computer Science exam. Participants will follow a curriculum created and led by Square engineers, which includes lectures, pair programming sessions, and hands-on workshops building mobile applications for Android.
I’m looking forward to meeting and mentoring this year’s participants!