CS alum's "BubbleSort" magazine aims to get young girls excited about coding

Amy Wibowo, who studied computer science at both the undergraduate and graduate level at MIT, is eager to get young girls to view coding as something fun, interesting and practical.

This week represents the publication of the inaugural issue of BubbleSort, a Kickstarter-funded magazine founded by an MIT alum that's aimed at getting high-school girls interested in computer science.

The zine, which earned more than $60,000 on Kickstarter, will feature cartoons and comics that explain concepts such as cryptography, recursion, sorting and computer graphics. The first issue, titled "How Do Calculators Even," includes introductions to hardware hacking and logic circuits.

BubbleSort was founded by Amy Wibowo, an MIT alum who quit her job as an engineer at Airbnb, where she had worked for three years, to focus on the zine.

In an interview with Recode, she says that she knew, even as a kid, that computer science was a magical intersection of math, science and pictures.

“As the teacher introduced a new concept, I would make cartoons about it,” she said; the visual elements of math theory sparked inspiration for her. “Textbooks are so dry,” she mourned; why didn’t anyone create textbooks with comics? “That would be so much juicier,” she thought, and resolved to make it happen someday.

In January Wibowo spoke about what it's like to be a female coder at an Oakland gathering of AlterConf, an event series focussed on diversity in the tech and gaming industries. When she posted the speech online in March, it became a minor viral hit.