How confident are you with coding? Decent? Better-than-average? Imagine pitting those skills against thousands of other students in a website coding competition. That’s what Amanda McGilchrist did, and she scored an impressive 100%.
The Grok Learning Web.Comp is a friendly competition that comes after a 4 week crash course in building a website using HTML and CSS. You learn everything from colours to structure, to images, all from the back end using code. If you’re interested in joining next year’s competition, your teacher can sign you up for free or there’s a small subscription fee for students.
Amanda joined the competition in 2017, scoring a high distinction for her first foray into website building. Her teacher encouraged her to sign up for this year’s comp and the rest, they say, is history.
Amanda’s always had an interest in technology, fostered by joining an all-girls coding club in year 8. “My mum signed me up for a girls coding program because I just wanted to sit around and read all day on weekends.” she says.
“I have gone a few times and we have made games like Flappy Bird and Tic Tac Toe and I just find it really interesting learning how it works.”
It’s not all been smooth sailing for Amanda and coding. She entered a Python coding competition last year, but gave up halfway. “I didn’t know nearly as much as I do now and I gave up half way through and cried because I couldn’t complete it.” The moral of the story? Don’t stop trying.
That’s Amanda’s advice to girls who might want to learn to code like she does. The world needs more female coders, she says, because women and men can offer different perspectives on problems and solutions.
“My advice to girls who want to learn and pursue a career in STEM is to just do it.” says Amanda. “I had to learn to code by myself and I still enjoyed it. You shouldn’t let other people stop what you are interested in.”
For now, the coding competition win means an extra impressive achievement for her CV. In future, perhaps a career with Google or Apple. Time will tell!
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.