Ilona Bodnar, 18, began teaching herself to code during her junior year of high school.
This week, she started studying computer science at the University of Southern California, taking the first step toward a career that statistically doesn’t favor the participation of women.
There will be more than a million computing-related job openings in this country by 2022, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. But in recent years only 18 percent of the students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in computer science were female — while the portion of women working in the sector has fallen from 35 percent in 1990 to just 26 percent today.
For the second episode of our new video series, “The 26%: Women Speak Out on Tech’s Diversity Crisis,” Re/code invited Ilona to meet Sara Haider, an Android engineer at Periscope, which was recently acquired by Twitter.
Like Bodnar, Haider taught herself to code at a young age. She previously worked at Secret and Google, and serves as an adviser to Girls Who Code, the nonprofit working to boost the number of women in tech. Bodnar herself helped to start a chapter of the organization at her school in Piedmont, Calif.
The rising industry leader and promising young student sat down at Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco to discuss the challenges women face in tech, how they can persevere despite those challenges and why the industry must take steps to become more inclusive.
Read all the stories in “The 26%” series:
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.