While women receive over half of bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences, there’s a much different picture in computer science where female grads fall short at a staggering 18 percent. The number of female technical workers at major companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter is also grim, at just over 15 percent.

Turning the tide

Recently, however, coding boot camps (also known as coding schools) have emerged and reset the playing field for women interested in pursuing a career in tech. According to recent data aggregated by Course Report, 38 percent of coding boot camp students are female, far exceeding the industry average.

As tech companies take on initiatives to diversify their talent and correct gender imbalances, it’s worth asking: Why are coding boot camps attracting more females than traditional CS programs?

Targeting your audience

From the start, coding boot camps have taken steps to meet employer demands by marketing their programs to the female population.

"These accessible tech education programs are enticing for many women who may have a passion for coding, but be intimidated by a male-heavy presence in the classroom."

A large percentage of coding boot camp students come from non-traditional backgrounds and, unlike CS programs, they are more inclined to open opportunities to women without prior experience in tech. This attracts a larger pool of females who have a passion for technology, but who may lack the schooling or experience.

Coding schools are attracting females by providing incentives such as scholarships and by showcasing the successful outcomes of female graduates, sending the message that women from all walks of life are quite capable of coding and pursuing a career in tech.

Women who code

Whereas women may be turned off by CS programs with a lack of female representatives, that isn’t the case at coding schools like Grace Hopper Academy and Ada Academy, which offer programs exclusive to women. These accessible tech education programs are enticing for many women who may have a passion for coding, but be intimidated by a male-heavy presence in the classroom.

It’s not just enough to tell females that they should pursue a career in tech. Across the board, we need to show girls and women alike that excelling in a tech career isn’t limited to men. With the emergence of more modern day Ada Lovelaces as role models we can pave the course for gender parity.