When I first started my career in journalism four years ago, I knew that I’d need to be a talented writer, communicator, researched and reporter. What I hadn’t anticipated was the value of coding skills.According to Harvard University’s Nieman Journalism Lab, there are plenty of job opportunities in news organizations across the country. This might seem contrary to the common narrative of the dying media industry, but in fact it’s the type of jobs available that are changing.

The majority of open media positions are reserved for those who can code for digital media and news applications. This shift isn’t unique to the journalism industry either.

In an op-ed penned in The Washington Post, two leading education researchers argue that coding abilities spark innovation across all industries, from medical assistants to auto mechanics, and students with this knowledge will be more successful in securing career opportunities in their chosen field. In fact, 55 percent of hiring managers reported prioritizing hard skills, according to Entrepreneur magazine.

Understanding the demands of modern employers, GU Women Who Code was formed as an organization for female students of all academic interests to develop coding skills in a welcoming environment. The need is especially great for women to take part in the movement, as USA Today reports that the tech workforce is overwhelmingly composed of men of white and Asian descent.

The DC area boasts several other organizations committed to advancing professional development, training and networking opportunities for women interested in technology including Hear Me Code, Women Who Code DC, PyLadies and Girl Develop It.

So if you’re looking for that professional edge, remember that coding skills will make you stand out regardless of industry and there any many great and affordable ways to get started right in your backyard.

Nayana Davis is a graduate student in journalism at Georgetown University.


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