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Designing Their Future

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:26 PM


Finding skilled mainframers is an ongoing topic with people on both sides of the conversation saying different things about what the future holds. One group is determining its own path. Not finding what they want and interested in challenge themselves, a group of high school girls and teachers in Altamonte Springs, Florida, have started a club aimed at girls to learn to code. Looking for learning opportunities and fellowship, ALLGirlsCode is about results and learning to code through events. Two girls involved in the club share what coding and the group means to them.

Photos courtesy ALLGirlsCode

Julia Steffy

It’s been a few months since my last blog post, and it has been a busy semester. In my experimental science class, two other girls and I ended up starting our own all-girl coding club. We were looking around for possible events to attend, and one girl coding group caught our eye. We tried to sign up, but our school wasn’t listed, so we called the club to ask about getting our school’s name added. They were thrilled to have girls in our part of Florida interested in joining them. So thrilled, in fact, that they asked us to host an event for a huge chunk of central Florida. We agreed, but soon after that they took away the grand prize of the contest, a free surf camp. At that point, we told them that we weren’t going to host anymore and decided to start our own club, ALLGirlsCode.

ALLGirlsCode is a club run by high school girls and teachers for girls who want actual coding contests, not essay writing contests. We already have a second chapter at another high school. We have run several events since we began, and some of them have involved IBM’s Master the Mainframe.

Speaking of Master the Mainframe, this year not only did I finish Part 2, but I am also a winner of both Parts 1 and 2. I didn’t finish Part 2 the first day of the contest, but I was determined to be a winner. I worked on it the next day as much as I could, and still had something wrong. I ended up taking my laptop to my sister’s lacrosse game and working on it until I finished. Finally seeing “Correct” next to all of the output files was such an exciting and great moment, and receiving the email that confirmed I was a winner was even more so. I’m not going to do Part 3 this year, however. I am pretty happy to have made it as far as I did. I do plan on attempting Part 3 next year.

Lauren Czech

I’m a third-year computer science student and proud owner of two IBM Hoodies. Yeah, I’ve Mastered the Mainframe not once, but twice.

After years of practice, countless competitions, two camps and a yearlong internship, I’m always looking for a challenge. A couple months ago, I wanted to join a computer science club to work with and against other girls like me. All I found were groups who cared only for adding to their numbers or writing essays. I don’t like writing in English—in fact, I spent two hours looking at Ric Flair quotes to put off writing this—I just want to code. So a couple other girls and I started own club, ALLGirlsCode, focused on our interests.

The first competition our club took part in was one of the few aimed at participants of all skill levels: IBM’s Master the Mainframe. Unlike other competitions that treat me like a 16-year-old girl (I mean, I am, but still), Master the Mainframe is a real challenge.

Learn More

With students like this creating their own coding future, it’s promising what lies in store for them and the mainframe.

To find out more information on the organization, support it, see what they have been up to or get involved, visit

Valerie Dennis is site editor of Destination z.