by Liane Roth
Booking.com, a worldwide leader in technology and digital travel, played host to ten outstanding young women between the ages of 16 and 19 and hailing from all parts of the country, at the inaugural Code-A-Thon presented April 28-29 at a state-of-the-art CNET ‘SMART’ Home in the heart of San Francisco. Chosen after an extensive application and interview process, the teens were brought to the Bay Area on an all-expenses-paid adventure to expose them to an in-depth introduction to careers in the tech field.
As technology-related companies throughout the United States and around the world compete to find the brightest minds on the cutting-edge of innovation, Booking.com is actively recruiting future leaders in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through its Women in Tech programming, aimed at encouraging young women to pursue a career in technology by raising awareness about gender diversity in the workplace.
Booking.com’s innovative two-day tech immersion program offered the teens a hands-on, up-close-and-personal experience of a STEM-based curriculum taught by Booking.com’s top technology talent along with instructors from Rithm School, a 16-week full-stack web development bootcamp in San Francisco, where students gain vital technical skills including web development and writing level code before graduating.
To inspire, motivate and mentor the young women, two female members of the design and programming team from the Booking.com Amsterdam Headquarters were on-site to assist, guide and coach the teens through their coding journey, representatives said. Hadeer Younis, Senior Full Stack Software Developer and Team Lead, and Erin Weigel, Principal Designer, will discuss their careers as women in the field of technology and share first-hand knowledge of the difficulties and challenges they have faced and overcome to be successful, from how their careers changed their lives to navigating the ins-and-outs of what is expected of anyone, let alone women, who enter the field of technology.
On Sunday, students were introduced to web development, HTML and CSS, as well as lessons on building their first page, laying out web pages with CSS and using a text editor, building a personal webpage and deploying using Codepen. Booking.com tech team members are integral to the Code-A-Thon’s curriculum, representatives said, as they have provided one-on-one guidance and assistance to each young woman based on her progress skill set level.
The event culminated in a reception featuring the award-winning actress and women empowerment activist Laura Dern, who announced future Women in Tech initiatives aimed at supporting women’s entry and advancement within the tech sector.