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Women’s coding group celebrates third anniversary

Girl Develop It Buffalo, the local chapter of a national organization that encourages more women and girls to write software, design mobile apps and enter the computer science field, is holding a fundraiser on Tuesday to celebrate its third anniversary.

The group has held nearly 90 events and has grown to 563 members, or “nerdettes,” as they call themselves, since its founding in 2013.

The Buffalo group is one of 52 chapters that are part of the Girl Develop It organization, which started in 2010 in New York City and now has more than 55,000 members across the country.

The nonprofit says it helps women and girls learn about Web and app design, software development and coding. The hope is to get more of them interested in jobs in information technology, cybersecurity, high-tech startups and other male-dominated fields.

A gender gap persists. For example, 57 percent of U.S. professional jobs were held by women in 2014, but just 26 percent of U.S. professional computing jobs were filled by women, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

Girl Develop It Buffalo has regular meetings, informational talks, coding classes and other gatherings where members can learn in what is described as a welcoming, judgment-free environment.

A highlight was the area’s first hackathon for women, held in February 2015 in the 43North incubator on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

About 50 female developers and entrepreneurs took on the challenge of working in teams to design new and improved websites for local non-profits in the 12-hour competition.

On Tuesday, Girl Develop is holding its anniversary party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the offices of Liazon, 199 Scott St., suite 800, Buffalo. Speakers will talk about the value of the organization and attendees can mingle with fellow members and representatives from local tech companies.