By Michelle Wheeler
Software engineer Alice is enthused by her job at Google in San Francisco. “I can see that the work I’m doing can improve someone’s life,” she says.
Alice is working on a Google Chrome project to help people with disabilities access the internet. The browser extension she’s created enables developers to run an ‘accessibility audit’ on their website or product to check that it can be used by people with disabilities.
Alice was inspired to work on accessibility after watching a talk given by a blind lawyer at a Linux conference. He showed how he used a browser without being able to see it.
She did a Bachelor of Engineering in Software Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and says you can go into a computer science degree “never having touched a line of code in your life”.
“If you can write out directions for someone to make a cake or walk to the shops, you can learn to write code,” Alice says. And you don’t have to adhere to a ‘geek’ stereotype either.
“I know programmers who wear dresses and high heels to work every day,” she says.
Alice is keen to put an end to misleading attitudes that girls aren’t interested in computer science and to get more girls into coding. “Everyone has their smartphones, everyone is interested in using the internet – so it’s clearly not the case that people aren’t interested in computers,” she explains.
“We know that girls are really good at maths, which shows we’re highly capable of the kind of reasoning that programming involves!”
Author: STEM Contributor
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