Girls Who Code | Paving a Path to Technology Diversity

 

We have a large team of engineers and developers who create, maintain and enhance our proprietary technology systems.  We’re proud of our team and the work that they do, in fact, we have an entire blog series dedicated to their efforts: Technology Quest.

Diversity is important to vRad and we know first-hand that hiring female coders is difficult: there simply aren’t as many applicants.

As you’ve likely heard, Google has faced some recent PR issues in this exact area that highlights the scope of the challenges facing the technology industry today.

We believe that change is not only possible, it’s necessary. And to help ignite change, we’re supporting a fantastic organization whose mission is to help bridge the gender gap in technology fields:

Girls Who Code.

 

About Girls Who Code

We can’t share the Girls Who Code Mission any more eloquently than they do:

“Girls Who Code was founded with a single mission: to close the gender gap in technology.”

Our local Girls Who Code Club, hosted by the University of Minnesota (U of M), is taught by U of M students and faculty. Meeting weekly during the school year, the club is free to girls in 6th – 12th grades. The club provides each club member with a working laptop.

…And that’s where vRad comes in! We are proud to help support Girls Who Code by donating used laptops.

 

Donating 12 Computers: The Journey

First challenge: security.

At vRad, we work with a lot of private data – whether it’s patient information or proprietary system information – so it’s essential to ensure that data can’t be retrieved from our donated computers.

So the first step (after rounding up the computers) was to have our IT Team fully wipe the laptop hard drives.

You see, typically when you delete a file from your computer, you only delete the data that tells you where the file is – not the data for the file itself. As an analogy, let’s say you delete the directions to a location: it might be hard to find your cabin if you forget which lake it’s on, but it’s definitely still there.

Our IT Team used software designed to wipe the drive by writing a new pattern of 1’s and 0’s over the entire drive. To continue the analogy, we not only deleted the directions to our cabin, we bulldozed the whole plot!

Mmmm… like new. Or blank, at least: ready for the Girls Who Code team to do a fresh install and prepare the laptops for its students to use.

But wait! The laptops don’t do any good sitting clean at vRad. We quickly arranged a time to drop them off at the U of M and loaded them into the back of the mini magic school bus:

Ok, it’s not really a school bus – or magic – but it’s ready to deliver educational tools, anyway!

The yellow bus took the laptops to the U of M to drop them off with Ashley and the Girls Who Code team.

We leave them in your capable hands, Girls Who Code!

Thank you to Ashley and the rest of the Girls Who Code team for making this possible.

 

Looking Forward

It’s nice to take a moment to pat ourselves on the back a bit, but I truly hope this story about Girls Who Code piqued your interest. Whether you have a daughter who’s interested in participating, you’re a diversity advocate, or you enjoy supporting important and unique causes, Girls Who Code is one of the good ones. We know this isn’t the end of our partnership.

We plan to donate a few more laptops later this year. Further, we’ve volunteered to host one of our local chapter’s weekly meetings here at vRad this fall – assuming the parents are okay with coming to our corporate office in Eden Prairie – to have our female (and male) developers provide insight into how the skills the girls are learning translate to the workplace.

 

We hope you enjoyed following along on our journey – best of luck on yours!

 

About the Author

Keith leads the DBAs and Tech Debt teams at vRad and collaborates with the Principal Engineers to set the technical direction at vRad. He has over 30 years of experience building highly scalable/available systems and is passionate about logging, anomaly alerting and building self-correcting systems. In his free time, he enjoys reef marine aquariums, traveling, playing tennis, taking walks, watching football (both kinds) and spending time with his family.

Find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithgard

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