Fewer than one in three technology professionals are women. As a way to change what UK-based high school computer science teacher and the new Skype Technology Brand Ambassador Carrie Anne Philbin calls “the tech world’s ‘boy’s club,’” she started the Geek Gurl Diaries online community.
Carrie Anne developed a network of female tech role models who could “inspire younger generations to embrace their inner geek.” At the center of Geek Gurl Diaries, she produces a YouTube web series that showcases female tech influencers to this younger generation of future tech talent.
She says, “It is so hard to find female role models in the tech industry and even harder to physically bring them into my classroom or sit down with them for an interview. So I had to get creative.”
So far, Carrie Anne has used Skype video calling to interview women in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Soon she will speak with tech role models in Germany too. She explains, “I usually have a preliminary conversation with them on their landline or mobile first, so we can get familiar prior to the interview. I use Skype Credit for those calls because it’s way more affordable to make an international call.”
Then, the interview itself takes place on a (always free) Skype-to-Skype video call. “I record and edit the videos myself,” she says, “and put it on YouTube so anyone can access it.”
The videos have proven to be very popular with her students, the wider Geek Gurl community and the YouTube audience in general. Carrie Anne has since expanded into making tech tutorials as well. They proved so popular that she won a 2013 Digital Heroes Award in the UK.
From Logic to Python Programming to just being geeky and awesome, Carrie Anne sees her channel as a place where “’Us gurls’ can chat, create, demo and interview ‘all things geek.’”
All of this work has led her to get involved with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. She says, “Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that costs about $30. You can actually learn to program and control lights and buttons and make it control hardware and so on,” says Carrie Anne, “It’s a very powerful, cheap tool and has a lot of potential in education as well.”
Carrie Anne’s goal is to train teachers on how to use Rasberry Pis within their classrooms. She has even written a book called “Adventures in Raspberry Pi” which is a way of getting kids started in programming with the affordable micro-computer.
As Skype’s Technology Brand Ambassador Carrie Anne looks forward to sharing her passion for using and building technology to a global audience and, hopefully, inspiring more young people to take up programming..
Keep checking back to follow the next steps in Carrie Anne’s journey.