After somewhat mixed reviews of last week’s episode I was interested to see whether episode 2 of Girls Can Code had any more emphasis on the coding side.
It started with a comment that the girls were building a tech business rather than actually learning to code themselves. This justified one of the major criticisms of the show – that it was nothing about coding. While I’m sure that this was all fixed months ago, I did wonder if the voice over for the start of the show had been rerecorded after the response to the first episode.
However, it did continue with the very important theme that tech is nothing to be scared of and encourage the girls to have a go at the things that they would otherwise assume they couldn’t.
This episode continued with some great mentors helping the girls, including Belinda Palmer of Lady Geek providing some great advice on pitching a tech idea, and also fashion app Grabble on how to succeed in tech when you have the idea, but not the money or the ability to code yourself:
Someone could have much better tech and more money than you, but if they’re not as passionate then they won’t succeed
This might sound trite, but being in the start up space myself, I’ve seen a lot of other start ups that have great ideas and have even got millions in funding just quietly fizzle out.
One of the great aspects of this episode was the importance of data – how Shazam can predict whether tracks will be hits or not based on the data gathered by their free app, and how much money this data is worth. It was a shame that the girls didn’t follow this through when set the band challenge and it left me wondering if all of the advice that they had been given was washing over them without sticking.
When it came to the pitches, it was great to see the girls had overcome their fear of tech and had honed their ideas into potential businesses, having listened and acted on the advice they had been given. While the closing credits indicated that only one of the girls was looking for a job in tech and one was pursuing her business, it was a very small sample and the aim was never to convert all five into being tech evangelists, but to make them think differently about technology and the prospect of working in the industry, with the hope to inspire other young people who had never even thought about this as an option.
Overall, I think the title of the show was wrong – something more along the lines of “Girls in Tech” rather than “GirlsCan Code” would have set better expectations and avoided the majority of the negative comments. That said, for everyone that could get past the fact that it wasn’t a show about teaching girls to code but rather encouraging girls into creating technological start up businesses, it was a fascinating couple of programs showing the opportunities that are out there.
I hope that the target audience for the show were able to take away some of the great messages: anyone can do this, everyone has potential, opportunities are there if you have the passion to follow them.
If you’ve been inspired then the BBC have a host of resources on their Make it Digital site.