Having a career in web development is amazing. It’s challenging, interesting, and requires me to be creative. Every few weeks I’ll work on a new project and it can be completely different from the last. From fancy cocktail bars or restaurants to holiday bookings. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many girls who have taken up web development as a career. According to a global software developer survey in 2020, the vast majority of developers are male, accounting for 91.5% of all respondents. Female developers amounted to only 8% of all respondents, demonstrating the male-dominating reality of the software development job. Another survey carried out by PwC found out that only 27% of female students said they would consider a career in technology, compared to 61% of males, and only 3% say it is their first choice. Why is this the case?
Like myself, many girls didn't consider web development as a career because coding has always seemed daunting, difficult to learn, and a very male-centric environment. But I know now that it’s much easier and more creative/visual than you might think.
Like a lot of female students, I studied graphic design. I never had the opportunity to study or was encouraged to try web development. It was only because the first company I worked at needed extra help building websites that I started to learn web development. I used lots of online tutorials and free boot camps and was surprised how quickly I picked things up, especially because coding always looked really difficult on the surface.
Director of Tech North Advocates and Mentor at Entrepreneurial Spark, Naomi Timperley believes “Girls are being left out of the conversation when it comes to technology. They’re led to think tech is insular and antisocial. And they’re never given a chance to correct those perceptions. This pattern might start in our homes, but it has serious implications for our economy and women at large. If women don’t participate in tech, they are losing the chance to influence this century's largest economic and social change. Girls need to seek tech in their surroundings and understand that people have created that tech.”
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I’ve been working at MadeByShape for the past 2 years and it has been a great experience and I have learnt so much. I’ve developed sites like Michild, Three Little Words, and Social Shepherd. Over the past years, I have learnt and used many new skills and coding methods.
Here at MadeByShape we use Craft CMS which is really easy to use. It is simple enough like most web templates. You can easily add and edit pages with blocks, but it is dynamic enough that you can create something simple or something more complex with relative ease.
I’ve also learnt how to use tailwind which is a utility-first CSS framework packed with classes like flex, pt-4, text-center and rotate-90 that can be composed to build any design, directly in your markup. It means that I no longer have to have a CSS file with all my styles, that I can add custom CSS straight into the HTML.
Even though I’m currently the only female web developer, it doesn’t feel like there is a gender gap. Both Jay and Tom treat me like they would with any team member and we have our own little group chat on slack where we share our code, animation, and plugins, like “Tom’s secret easing” 😂. It’s just a great place to be a web developer.
The great thing about web development is that you don’t have to get a degree in it to get a job. There are a lot of coding boot camps online, many of which are free like Codecademy. You also have videos and blogs with online courses, for example when learning Craft CMS I used CraftQuest. Within a few weeks or months, you can learn the basics of web development. This is also much cheaper than the average university tuition.
For me, web development is a great achievement and I’m always proud of the websites I develop. You are given a design and it’s up to you to bring this 2D design to life. To make it into a functional website with scrollable and hover animations. You will also come across challenges but when you solve them, it’s such a rejoiceful feeling. Even though coding is more text-based than drawing it’s still very creative. Every year, websites are stepping away from the traditional ‘boring’ informative websites and becoming more graphical and animated.
The industry for web development will continue to grow. I hope and believe that more girls and women will see this and take the opportunity to learn and try coding for themselves. A career in web development is well worth pursuing and I couldn’t recommend it enough.