We went to the same school, played with the same Lego kits, were brought up by the same parents, yet I don’t know what an algorithm is.

As a student with an interest in the humanities and sciences it was a natural choice for me to study both English and Maths at A-Level, equally excited as I was by the idea of solving quadratic equations with understanding the motives behind Hamlet’s actions when haunted by the ghost of his father.

By Laura Davies.

My elder brother also studied dual arts/science and now works for global games company Electronic Arts.

His interest in all things computing began early and by the age of 15 he was building his own computers and learning computer programming as a second language.

We went to the same school, played with the same Lego kits, were brought up by the same parents, yet I don’t know what an algorithm is.

I don’t, in fact, know the first thing about coding or ‘the language of computers’ and if I did, I don’t even really know how or why that might be useful to me.

Mitch Resnick would argue, however, that knowing how to code can in fact provide a vital gateway to broader learning ( see his recent TED talk ‘Let’s Teach Kids to Code’ ) and is a vital skill for all boys and girls to learn.

It is completely possible that the chasm of understanding computer language which exists between my brother and I is just the simple consequence of different interests which we pursued independently, rather than any gender bias occurring during our early years.

However, with a recent survey by industry body ESTnet showing that there is a notable lack of women in electronics and software roles in Wales and at the same time an urgent and recognised need for more science, engineering, and technology professionals and technicians in the UK ( The Royal Academy of Engineering has warned that the 1.25 million target needed by 2020 will not be reached ), whatever the reason for the divide, it’s a problem that needs addressing.

We’re also not alone; US-based not-for-profit organisation CODE predicts that there will be 1,000,000 more computing jobs in the US than computer science students by 2020, highlighting the current shortfall in relevant education with only 9 out of 10 US schools offering computer programming classes.