Booking.com announced yesterday its inaugural Code-a-thon in San Francisco, April 28 - 29, 2019, for young women interested in studying technology and pursuing a career in the industry. As part of Booking.com's Women in Tech programming, which aims to raise awareness about gender diversity in the workplace, the Code-a-thon will help prepare participants for their future studies though coding classes, mentorship, hands-on training and more.
Open to young women aged 16 - 19 who are not currently enrolled in a university, the Code-a-thon is Booking.com's first Women in Tech initiative in the U.S. targeted to potential young tech talent, with the goal of providing an opportunity to learn the basics and provide early guidance in the field of tech. While applicants do not need any experience in coding, they should have an interest in studying and pursuing a career in technology and be passionate about its role in shaping the future.
The Code-a-thon will be hosted at a state-of-the-art 'SMART' home in the heart of San Francisco, where 10 young women selected by a panel of judges at Booking.com will join an innovative two-day technology immersion. Sessions will include learning the essential elements to the language of coding, from front end to back end applications, mentoring opportunities from some of Booking.com's brightest tech talent, and visiting Booking.com's local office to see how the brand leverages a wider range of technology to create seamless experiences for travelers. The Code-a-thon will culminate with a reception hosted by women empowerment activist and award-winning actress Laura Dern, who will announce future Women in Tech initiatives that support women's entry and advancement within the tech sector.
Booking.com's CEO, Gillian Tans, announced the Code-a-thon on her personal Facebook and LinkedIn today and commented, "Booking.com is committed to seeing the number of women in technology rise, working to encourage, support and uplift women to discover, grow and succeed in technology, across any age group, especially emerging talent. As one of the most diverse and gender-balanced technology companies in the world, we are passionate about ensuring that everyone has access to opportunities within the industry. Booking.com's Code-a-thon event is a call to action for young women interested in pursuing the tech industry to start their tech education before entering college, but furthermore is a call to action to provide more resources to young, emerging talent and foster their curiosity and passion for tech."
Recent research commissioned by Booking.com showcases the need to influence women's career considerations in their early years and that the need for mentors is essential. When it comes to career choice, learning and education, 81% of women say being exposed to certain skills early on influences their career selection and 76% said the subjects they are studying / have studied will impact / have impacted their careers. Additionally, for those interested in a career in tech, role models and mentors are particularly crucial, with 51% of high school girls saying mentors are essential for women to succeed in tech with 54% believing women should seek out opportunities to share experiences to help improve diversity. Booking.com's goal is to support these needs through Women in Tech initiatives like the Code-a-thon, especially given the younger generation finds the technology sector highly attractive and desirable, with over a third (35%) of high school girls saying a career in tech offers them the ability to be successful from a young age and satisfies personal career interests such as work that is challenging and inspiring, freedom to be creative and innovative and more.
To apply for the Code-a-thon, applicants can fill out the entry form and answer questions that showcase more about them and their interest and passion for technology. Applications open at 12:00 PM EDT on April 8, 2019 and close at 12:00 AM PDT on April 15, 2019. All participants and their parent or guardian will receive an all-expense paid, three-day trip to San Francisco. Full rules are included in the entry form.
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