Women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the U.S., but as of 2015, they hold only 25 percent of computing roles, according to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). While women are underrepresented in STEM fields both in college and the job market, there are even fewer women of color in them. According to the NBC Project, out of all female doctorate graduates in the fields of science and engineering, 86% are white or Asian. Fewer than 4% are Latinas, and less than 3% are black.
For young women in tech, it can feel intimidating and overwhelming being so underrepresented at school and in the workplace. We wanted to build an application to inspire them to change this fact. We believe one of the best ways to empower underrepresented communities in tech is to show them that they are not alone and what can be achieved in tech. There are already many applications that just create mentor-mentee relations. We wanted to go above this and foster mutual relationships with an initial focused purpose. Bridge The Gap is a place to connect with other women in STEM, share your experiences, and learn from others.
What it does
We foster a community of women helping women through a variety of means.
Ever feel isolated and want to see how other women like you are succeeding in the field? In the feed tab, you can see what other people in the community are up to. Here you’ll see posts about other womens’ work and achievements. Click on their posts to learn more about them! If you want to reach out to them, hit request connection to send them a message.
Have you ever missed an opportunity just because you weren’t aware of it? In the opportunities tab, find different ways to advance your career and get involved. Get links to different organizations, scholarships, conferences, and other resources for learning.
Have a question you’ve been wondering about the field? In the Q&A tab, see answers that mentors and professionals in the field and academia have written for questions asked by our community. View general questions about the website, how to advance your studies or career, and help with interview questions.
Need some help on a certain task? On your profile, you’ll see two sections: things I can help with and things I want help with. As you learn more, you can edit these sections to show off your skills and offer to others. People can request to connect with you, and you can share your skills with them as well as ask them about the things they can help you with. This helps introduce and connect you to other women who can further your growth in your studies or career and create lasting relationships.
Want some way to showcase just how far you’ve grown? Further down on your profile, you can see your timeline with all your achievements you have made in tech. See what you have learned on your journey and add more as you go!
How we built it
Frontend: The website is created using React along with Bootstrap and Material UI design libraries.
Backend: The api was created in Node.js using Express to connect to the database and MongoDB as the database to store user info, posts, questions and opportunities.
DevOps: The server is hosted on GCP App Engine and the website is hosted on GCP Firebase and deployed on Domain.com
Challenges we ran into
We ran into some challenges with conditional rendering of the navbar when signed in / signed out. We also ran into some challenges with routing of dynamic user profiles and creating states in them along with passing information from dynamic pages to static components.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of using all our own assets. The design library we chose was missing a component that we needed, so we did most of the CSS styling on our own which we hadn’t in a while.
What we learned
We learnt more about rendering and routing in React. We also learnt a lot more CSS and styling.
What's next for Bridge The Gap
We would like to have the ability to let users ask their question in the Q&A section A future feature would be getting matched with peers and/or industry mentors based on mutual interests We would also offer a digital public forum where all users can discuss all things tech related