In our tech-obsessed world, anyone who knows their way around a computer (or website or app) has a definite advantage over the computer illiterate. So if you’re not already tech-savvy, consider taking on a challenge: Learn to code. There are a lot of resources for learning to code out there, many of them free and online. Whether you’re an absolute beginner or someone looking to build on the knowledge you already have, you’ll be able to find a program that suits your needs.
Learning to code would be useful for anyone, but it represents an especially important opportunity for women. Information technology is currently the fastest growing industry in the United States, but many women are missing out on the financial and career opportunities that this industry affords. The prevalence of women in tech is actually declining, with women holding only 26 percent of American computing jobs in 2013, down from 35 percent in 1990, according to a study by the American Association of University Women. There are a whole host of issues, from negative stereotypes to bias in the workplace, that keep women out of the STEM, but incompetence isn’t one of them. (In fact, one 2016 study found that women may create better code than men.) Bringing more women and girls into programming could go a long way toward reducing the gender imbalance in the STEM, and, in turn, narrowing the wage gap.
Gender inequality aside, knowing how to code is an incredibly handy skill to have, whether you’re interested in a career in programming, or you simply want to be able to design your own website. Even if you’re starting from scratch, it’s never too late to learn a new skill, and the resources I’ve listed below will let you set your own pace. All of the programs below are free, though many offer upgrades and extra learning materials for a fee. So what’s stopping you? Check these out: