I originally wanted to write a post about women in technology, but the numbers aren’t good and my research findings were just too depressing. But there’s hope for the future of women in tech with a new generation, so I focused on girls in tech instead — those stats are promising — and specifically, on two teenaged girls who landed in the Apple App Store last summer with sticker apps. In the spirit of full disclosure, the two girls are mine.
Like most moms I know, I can get a little ranty with my kids about pesky things like contributing to society and getting a job, and last summer was no different. My husband, who is a serious technophile, frequently reminded the girls about the latest Apple announcements, different Lynda.com courses he wanted them to take, and how they could work for our company if they boosted their computer skills.
Both girls are serious artists and they spend hours drawing and refining their technique. It wouldn’t have been a stretch for them to stay holed up in their room drawing all summer. And as it turns out, they did that anyway. When they found out they could create sticker packs for the new iMessage app and sell them in the App Store (and that it would qualify as a summer job), they were all over it. They were already drawing on the iPad Pro and had figured out how to get their pencil and paper art into a digital format. The sticker packs became an art project, but it turns out to have been so much more.
There was considerably more to their debut of sticker apps than just the art. They learned project and time management from the ground up: planning themes to focus on, considering stickers to include, which ones to animate and how to do it, what to do for future releases, and then resolving technical issues as they cropped up. They were so comfortable talking about their ideas, critiquing and helping each other, asking questions, and researching answers that it gave me hope they could be a part of the changing world for girls in technology.
Regardless of the number of downloads, this summer project was a huge success. Besides learning a new skill and developing a deeper love for technology, their humanity shone through at every step of the process — all thanks to tech — whether it was as they planned out a free Remembrance Day sticker pack, learned to cooperate on their projects, or by including gender and racially diverse characters in their art. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! There’s hope for the future of girls in technology and it’s sitting at our dining room tables doing homework or eating a bowl of ice cream.