MasterCard Wants Female Developers to “Master the Code” for $10,000

MasterCard is throwing a party and they want as many ladies as possible to attend.

Just a few days we reported on several initiatives geared towards women in tech, Mastercard has announced a two-day developer challenge in which the credit card company is making a call to female developers. And it comes with some nice prizes too.

MasterCard Canada is encouraging all female professional and student developers to participate in its MasterCard N>XT developer challenge, September 28 and 29.

President Betty DeVita declared via a release that “Code is for everyone.”

“We know that women are under-represented in the industry but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said. “We encourage those who are in the business – or are studying to enter the business – to join us…and show the creativity and talent women bring to the world of code.”

A recent Statistics Canada study found that while Canada is seeing an increase in the number of young women with university degrees in computer science programs, men still hold the majority of degrees within this field (and the majority of jobs). MasterCard said that the challenge then, is “an opportunity for women to apply their technology skills to a business challenge that could influence the future of payments.”

The MaRS Discovery District will host the challenge and will provide professional and student application developers with access to MasterCard’s commerce infrastructure. Developers will then create their own mobile-based payment application. The winners will be chosen by a “prestigious judging panel that will bring together some of Canada’s most sought-after technology minds.”

During the event, MasterCard mentors will share their expertise and challenge participants, as well as industry developers, specialists from its open API and technology groups and other “industry leaders”.

The perks for winning can come in handy for some starving coders too. Up for grabs are three grand prizes of $10,000, and access to senior MasterCard executives to pitch their app idea.

Heather Payne of Ladies Learning Code, a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that runs coding workshops, said the challenge is a great way for coders to think creatively. “Women and girls can do anything they put their mind to, whether it’s learning code, starting a business, investing in a startup or making it as a developer in this industry,” said Payne. “This is a great opportunity for those women studying computer science to get their feet wet and begin building a name for themselves within the community.”

In partnership with MasterCard, Ladies Learning Code will host ‘Girls Learning Code’ workshop during the MasterCard N>XT Challenge. As part of the workshop, girls aged 8 – 13 will learn programming with Ruby, an open source programming language with a focus on simplicity and productivity.

The past week has seen some other cool initiatives geared towards women programmers as well.

Yesterday Waterloo-based Communitech innovation hub announced the launching of the “Women in Technology” project, a 36-month, $300,000 project funded by the federal government. It will focus on strengthening female talent and retention in the tech sector.

Also yesterday we reported that Silicon Valley-based startup Square (founded by Jack Dorsey) has opened up the application period for its College Code Camp. Canadian women engineering and technical university students can apply for the four-day immersion program that includes coding workshops and mentorship sessions with Square leaders.

The need for more involvement from women in technology-related positions has always been evident, and this week seemed to be a positive step in that pursuit.

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