Hackathons are nothing new for those looking to get into the tech industry, but the one that took place in Rochester on Saturday came with a twist.
Computer science and technology currently stands as a male-dominated industry, said AT&T Spokesperson Benjamin Padilla.
“Innovation is developed through diversity and right now there is a major gender gap in the tech industry. There’s only something like under 30 percent of women in the industry,” said Padilla
As a solution, AT&T and the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Women in Computing, hosted the hackathon.
“Diversity is great between all sorts of backgrounds in the workforce because when you have different people with different backgrounds, you can come up with innovative solutions that maybe one group of people wouldn’t have come up with on their own,” said Imris Curry with Women in Computing.
Titled the 'ROC Girl Hack-a-thon,' girls who attended learned to code, animate, and more.
“I like to [code] and [be] a part of it; how they’re trying to inspire more women to do coding [is] like really fun,” said sixth grader Brianna Padilla of Our Lady of Mercy.
Brianna was not alone in her review.
“If we have questions we just raise our hands and they’re there to help," said 11th grader Rebecca Vay of West Irondequoit High School. "And I just got my first program down, so I’m really excited.”
As the name suggests, the event focused on themes of female empowerment.
“I hope people walk away from this event knowing they are someone who can learn to program, that they have these options available to them, and that they [could] go to a school like R.I.T if they [wanted] to,” said Curry.
As the event's theme was encouraged, the young girls in attendance paid close attention.
“Women can also do good things too, it’s not just like men and stuff,” said Brianna.
And Vay agreed.
“STEM is mostly men and I think women coming in and being able to do the same thing, I think is really important," Vay said. "And I’m really happy to be a part of it.”