Informal Learning in Computer Science: Social and Conceptual Factors Related to Women's Persistence
National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program
One metric often used in illustrating the underrepresentation of women in computer science (CS) is the low proportions of women who receive bachelor’s degrees in CS. Yet there are opportunities for women to learn to become software developers after they have graduated from college and entered the workforce, and capitalizing on these alternative pathways could be one avenue to broadening participation in CS. This study explores one of these pathways: women who are technologically savvy system administrators on the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) cloud-based software platform who are gathering informal resources such as online tutorials, books and online forums or blogs in order to teach themselves to code and who are forming women-only virtual coaching and learning groups to help them in their learning. The study will use an ethnographic approach to better understand both the social and conceptual barriers to and supports for these women in their quest to learn to code, in order to find ways to develop more effective resources for adult CS learners in the workplace.