Microsoft India and NASSCOM Encourage Girls to Learn Coding and Computer Science at YouthSpark Live 2016
Furthering its commitment to empower and enable youth through technology and build greater diversity and gender equality in the IT sector, Microsoft India dedicated its fourth edition of YouthSpark Live to encourage young girls to explore Computer Science as a future employment opportunity.
Organized in partnership with NASSCOM Foundation, this year’s edition of YouthSpark Live saw 300 young girls between the age group of 15-24 from the under-represented communities attend a daylong workshop focused on demystifying computer coding and making computer code more accessible and understandable. The girls were introduced to coding through interactive fun filled exercises like controlling ‘Harold the Robot’ through accurate voice commands and gamification using the classic Minecraft game. The objective of the program was to make computer science accessible to all youth with the underlying principle that basic technology skills can help anyone and everyone do more and be more regardless of the field they work in.
Mr. Ashok Pamidi, Head, Diversity and Inclusion & Regional Head, Karnataka, NASSCOM, said, “Today, the IT industry in India has approximately 34% of women employees and there is still a lot to be done to erase this gender disparity. We are glad to partner with Microsoft to help inspire India’s young girls and women to take up IT as a career opportunity and accelerate their growth.”
YouthSpark Live 2016 also saw the launch of ‘CODE FUTURE’ curriculum developed in partnership with Edulever. The 50-hour curriculum is divided into two levels:
Level 1: Basics of Computer Programming explaining the basic principles of Coding and Computer Science
Level 2: Advanced Computer Programming geared towards practical application creation and ways in which the programming languages can be leveraged in regular work-life to create small programs and batch software.
The curriculum is specifically designed keeping the youth in mind and will serve as a key differentiator for employability and also help them achieve greater efficiencies by designing small programs and software patches. At a broader level, the exposure to computer science will inculcate meta-level competencies such as analytical thinking, problem solving, creativity & interpersonal skills such as team working and appetite for coding related jobs.
Highlighting the importance of making computer science education more accessible and inclusive, Madhu Khatri, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft India, said, “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more. To carry out our mission, it’s critical that we do our part to close the gender gap with computer science education and ensuring that all youth, no matter where they live or what their background may be have the opportunity to learn computer science and understand how technology works as well as how to create, apply and use it. This is imperative to build a more diverse and talented pipeline of future workforce.”
Through the ‘CODE FUTURE’ project, NASSCOM Foundation will introduce and promote Computer Science to a minimum of 12,000 under-served youth by delivering training and encourage them to pursue higher courses in advanced computing and leverage these skills for future employment.
Since it was launched in 2012, Microsoft YouthSpark has created educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for more than 300 million youth around the world. YouthSpark Live 2016 seeks to deliver deep and impactful experiences by enabling young girls to collaborate, inspire and support each other, while using technology to spark change. Microsoft continues to work in partnership with governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to learn computer science.