The word geek has had a bit of a renaissance in recent times.
Once a derogatory put-down for rabid academics, the non-sporty and chronically indoor-chained computer programming obsessed types, the word geek has a new currency of cool, and is now badged and embraced by techies the world over.
One of the biggest badge-wearing geeks in Australia right now is 32-year-old Sarah Moran, a loud, proud, ridiculously talented certifiable geek who also happens to be Co-Founder and CEO of Girl Geek Academy, a global movement encouraging women and girls to learn technology, create startups and build more of the internet.
Moran started teaching herself to code aged just five years old when she became incurably curious about how computers worked, and had a serious junior geek light-bulb moment when she realized ‘you can actually make computers do what you want them to do!’.
Taking to computers and the world of programing like a duck to water (geek to keyboard?), she never looked back, and discovered that coding is a language that can be easily learned, and once mastered, enables you to build the internet the way you’d like it to be.
Australia is extremely lucky to have the talents of Moran, and her five fully-fledged geeky female Co-founders, in our midst right now.
Because Girl Geek Academy is a business Australia needs.
Why? Because have you ever stopped to think about who built the platforms which allow you to consume this media? And questioned who will concept and build the digital businesses and exponential technologies of the future?
Mainly. Mostly. Men.
Which would be fine, except for the fact that currently globally only 12% of tech engineers are women, only 1 in 4 IT graduates are female, and according to a recent employment data report the proportion of women employed in the Australian information and communications tech sector (ICT) hit a long-term low at the start of 2017.
Tech, currently, has a chronic gender gap and a very big problem with diversity.
Thankfully, through the work spearheaded by Moran, and the Australian-founded Girl Geek community, the numbers are beginning to change, one girl at a time.
Girl Geek Academy was recently funded $1.3 million by the Australian Federal Government and the Victorian State Government's $60 million LaunchVic scheme to scale their mission of teaching girls to code, learn technology and build more of the internet. Their educational learning experiences that bring female hackers, hustlers, hipsters and startup enthusiasts together to learn code, teach each other, share wins and form teams have engaged thousands of girls across the state, and the business has its sights set on up-skilling 1 million girls by 2020.
At the rate Moran’s going, they’ll most likely hit their mark.
The Academy delivers a number of face-to-face programs for girls including #SheHacks #SheMakes #SheMakes_Games and #MissMakesCode and one of their big pieces of work in the coming months is rolling out #SheHacks hackathons across Victoria.
#SheHacks is a world-first, all-female initiative which connects women and supports them in creating new technology businesses by helping them build their startups and find their ideal co-founders.
The initiative will see a series of Melbourne and regional boot camps and mentoring sessions across Warrnambool, Warragul and Bendigo, and give 200 selected #SheHacks attendees a chance to form 60 teams who will each build, market test and pitch their minimal viable product (MVP). Each team will then have one month to get early users onboard before finalists reveal their business at the #SheHacks Showcase – a celebration of Victorian women in tech.
“It's currently very challenging for women to find fellow founders, which is often crucial to starting and succeeding in a new tech venture. The #SheHacks Victoria program will provide multiple touch-points throughout the year for women to find co-founders and receive valuable support for taking their business ideas to market,” said Moran recently.
“We are so pleased to have the recognition and support of the Victorian government for #SheHacks Victoria along with a very significant commitment from our partners GO1, plus 21 supporters throughout the Victorian startup community. This backing is a crucial step in rolling out our mission of helping more women to become a viable part of Victoria’s startup and technology ecosystem.”
“We really to want raise the profile of women in technology and encourage more of you to speak, teach and be visible to the women on their way up. We need more (tech) role models.”
We’re delighted to have Sarah Moran as a tech role model and keynote speaker at the girledworld Big Ideas Leadership Summit 2017. Join us alongside some of Australia's most remarkable business leaders, startup founders and STEM champions and hear from Moran about how she got her start, and why the world’s girls need to embrace their inner geek, learn to code and step into tech.