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Posted by Joel Greene on

Code Girl

So I finished watching a “movie” that was exclusively available to watch on YouTube thru today, it was titled Code Girl. I do find it a bit strange that they decided to call it a “movie” but in all reality it’s just a glorified documentary. The code girl website says this:

Join high school-aged girls from around the world as they try to better their community through technology and collaboration in this thrilling, heartfelt documentary.

By 2017, the app market will be valued at $77 Billion. Over 80% of these developers are male. The Technovation Challenge aims to change that by empowering girls worldwide to develop apps for an international competition. From rural Moldova to urban Brazil to suburban Massachusetts, CODEGIRL follows teams who dream of holding their own in the world’s fastest-growing industry. The winning team gets $10K to complete and release their app, but every girl discovers something valuable along the way.

So before I begin I want to make it clear that I do support this idea, per say. I believe we need to be encouraging our young women that they too can achieve just as high goals that men can. BUT! I have a problem with it when we start singling out men as being big bad bullies. Most of us can’t help it if our gender dominates in those markets, so give most of us some credit. I know so many people will disagree with this statement but I also don’t believe the wage gag that so many argue exists is as nationally, if not globally, spread as people think. I will surely admit it might exist in some isolated levels of corporations and usually this is due do someones sexist opinions, which is for another topic. But consider this, you go work at McDonalds, do they pay women less? NO. Go work at Best Buy, do they pay women less? NO. You check and a huge percentage of businesses will pay, this is LAW mind you, the same to men and women. I understand that most people argue that the wage gag is caused by men getting promotions over women but again, this is localized in particular businesses and usually influenced by sexist views, something that more government regulation and complaining about will not fix. But I digress, back on subject.

So I wanted to discuss a few things in regards to this “movie”. For starters, as I pointed out in one of my last posts I’m a programmer, I have been for a while. I do know a few things about Mobile Apps since I’ve tried my hand at Android, so let’s begin.

I wanted to start by talking about what at best I could see each team used for app development. Majority of them appeared to use one of many popular online app development IDEs, so I have beef with this. True Android development is using the Android SDK and using a common Java IDE like Eclipse or Netbeans. Most of these online development platforms have lacking features and I guarantee will NOT be around forever. I tried this one online platform that cost over $50 per month and it did the basics. Android development is suppose to be free, I mean the only mandatory fee is applying for the Android Play Store which is a one-time fee of $25.00. One team had developed their app for iPhone only and made direct reference to XCode, the official IDE for iPhone development. I’ve never developed for iPhone but I probably liked their attitudes the most. I do think they should have strictly set a standard to enter this contest, like Android only and maybe define a development platform. One reason I say this is because you can’t rely on one method of development forever, you should try and work with the popular free IDEs like Eclipse. Eclipse is used for many different languages and platforms not just Android.

I will say I was disappointed in the editing for this “movie”, early on it was so hard to keep track of who was working on what. I wish they put a nice summary under each teams scene just to maybe help, that’s one reason I’m only going to talk about a couple teams as I can’t actually remember what they all worked on.

One of the teams from the USA had this idea for a drunk driving prevention app, I thought the idea was great and was no worst then some of those texting while driving apps.

A small beef I had with the teams was the attitude some of them had. I remember a couple teams in the beginning acting like they could not do this unless they got selected. So I say this “You do not need this contest to prove your value.” I mean the whole point of this contest was to empower girls to start writing code, so why do they whine like they can’t do this now. You have an idea, go code it, make it happen. It’s not that hard. You don’t need some huge prize money to flesh it out.

I don’t really want to say it but what was the deal with the one Judge, apparently she gave the team with the iPhone app a low rating because she could not run the app on her Android. Yeah I obviously see the problem but seriously, why did the contest not better equipt the Judges with the ability to test the apps and what about the Judges with iPhones? Did they even get to try the Android apps? I understand why the contest wanted to have an all female set of Judges but I kind of think you need to have Judges that understand code and development. No one is better at judging if an app is well made than someone who has actually coded.

So lastly, I wanted to talk about who actually won. If you don’t want spoilers please stop reading.


So the winners were the team from Nigeria and I for one was actually quite disappointed in hearing this. I understand that several factors for winning included actually solving a problem which I felt the finalist all got very close to doing but I don’t feel Nigeria did the best at this. If I remember correctly, their app was basically a glorified trash pickup service. As advertised by their pitch video they would direct customers thru the app to local services to collect the trash. The app was one of the most expensive at $2 and they collected a commission from the trash services, in many ways great but in others, why? They said their country had a problem with trash and people would just throw it all around on the ground and never do what’s right, in my opinion this is an issue with the people not the services. By directing your users to local services your only accessing what is already available. At the end of the movie they said that shortly after them winning their government’s party changed, and this new party proposed a home-to-home trash collection program, these teens were hoping to pitch their app for use within this program. So here comes another beef I have, honestly I think some of the other teams could have done more with $10,000 than the girls from Nigeria. In some ways I wish one requirement was to show how you plan to use your winnings. Anyways, considering that the goal was to solve a problem, I sadly think their were better ideas.

I do want to ask, did anyone else feel like the pitch by the Nigeria team felt… like a dictator march? I mean really, it just felt wrong even when trying to put aside their accent.


Anyways, that was my quick thoughts on Code Girl. Again, take it or leave it. I don’t think we need a girls only contest to get girls to code. In a few different scenes they talked about how some adults of the teams were negative about girls not becoming house wives. I get it but please don’t drag these things out. I guess you could say that these types of things can offend me from time to time, honestly, girls should be allowed to do what they want but we need to also encourage men to expand their horizons too. And don’t argue that we have so many flamboyant men already. I more like to think that guys become flamboyant when society limits what they can do in life. When we tell guys you can’t do something unless your gay just fuels their confusion and makes them sometimes wonder, maybe I’m actually gay. But again, I digress. I’ll save that argument for another post. *sigh*