Karlie Kloss Is Disrupting The Tech Industry Karlie Kloss Is Disrupting The Tech Industry Karlie Kloss may be a gorgeous model, but she also believes computer science can empower women to pursue their dreams. It’s time for everyone to follow Karlie Kloss’ lead and treat computer science and its peripherals as a tool for self-empowerment instead of a quick-fix for underemployment. To see her mission through, Karlie Kloss has collaborated with the Flatiron School to provide young girls and adult women alike with the opportunity to learn more about code, what it is, and how to do it. Her new initiative, Kode With Klossy marks the first time a supermodel champions women in tech with a dedicated platform. None [of the female-led programs] have had a supermodel mascot on board to bust stereotypes. A few other key features make Kode With Karlie different from the other female-led organizations – namely, the application process. While many admissions processes have limited deadlines and are exceedingly time-consuming, Kloss believes they’re more discouraging than inviting. Secondly, upon completing the program curriculum, Kode With Klossy Career Scholars will receive the opportunity to apply for paid “apprenticeships and fellowships with program partners, which include companies like WeWork, CondéNast, New York Magazine, Vice and more.” Furthermore, you can learn the basics for free. If you do this, you have a better chance of getting that career scholarship. For many women, the only motivation to pursue computer science, or tech in general, was the money Financial security was the marketing approach the bootcamps took, and this is the one reason many want to learn how to code, as a software engineer’s starting salary is better than most management salaries at other jobs. “Whatever the dreams or goals of our students are, whether it’s fashion or sports, we’re going to teach them skills they can apply anywhere.” – Karlie Kloss The problem is, many have taken an entire industry – an entire innovative and disruptive field – and diminished it into a moneymaker. Putting aside how offensive this may be to those who love being software engineers, it’s no wonder that only 18% of women graduate with computer science degrees. And then Karlie Kloss came along and demystified what it means to “code.” “Everybody touches technology every single day, and it has transformed so many industries,” says Kloss. “But yet, so few people really know even what coding is, and much less how to do it.” Kloss turned “learning to code” into an accessible concept; she let her fans know that, behind everything they love, there are “lines of code.” In fact, she encourages her followers to use social media to “learn how to write lines of code and to build the next Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook yourself.” Kloss had literally taken her own advice to get to where she is; when she found out that her friend, Kevin Systrom – the CEO and Co-Founder of Instagram – had built the app himself, she realized she could eventually do it, too. All she needed to do was learn how. Karlie Kloss with students at Kode With Karlie camp. Photo Credit: Flatiron School In general, knowing how to program anything is a desirable skill that can get you far in life, especially as a woman. In the first iteration of Kode with Klossy, a free “coding” summer camp for girls between 13 and 18 years old, Kloss noticed that, “while each of the students learned the same technical skill set, the diversity of these projects showed them how code can be applied to whatever industry they choose to pursue.“ By continuing her own studies, Kloss says she is doing her part in being a voice for women who are interested in “learning to code.” She’s not telling them that it’s what will make them money, but rather empowering them to choose for themselves. Here, five inspiring insights from Karlie Kloss on learning to code. 1. “I found [programming] really empowering, and I wanted to share that learning with other girls, so I started a scholarship program to teach other girls to learn how to code.” 2. “The first few days are really challenging and then it all kind of starts to click, and then you all of a sudden are able to build things and write lines of code and it’s all making sense. It’s really an exciting and empowering feeling, and it’s really cool to watch these young women do it. It kind of totally changes their thought of what they think they’re capable of within this space.” 3. “If you can learn how to code, or if nothing else understand how things are built and understand the back end of technology even at a high level, it can be applied to any industry that you’re interested in.” 4. “No matter what industry you want to go into, what job you dream of having, with this skill set you really can create and bring more to the table in any industry. You don’t have to just learn this skill set to get a job at a tech startup. You can apply this thinking, apply this skill set to anything you want to do in life.” 5. “I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we have a voice in what the world looks like.” Shannon Matloob Shannon is a contributor at SWAAY. She has a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University with a passion identifying and researching other women on the path to greatness.