Tag Archives: Professional Development

Django Girls just wanna have fun


It’s no secret that tech companies continue to be a boy’s club – today women make up only 15% of technical roles at tech companies. Luckily, there is a movement gaining momentum to reverse that trend. Leading the way are organizations like Made with Code, Black Girls Code, and Girl Develop It, which urge women not to be intimidated by code.

Another one of these inspiring organizations is Django Girls. Created by “the Olas”, Ola Sitarska and Ola Sendecka, Django Girls provides resources and support by way of online tutorial and workshops with expert coaches to help female attendees build a blog from scratch.

In less than a year after it’s founding, Django Girls workshops have been held in 24 countries all over the world, a testament to the growing interest many women are expressing in code. The online tutorial, an easily digestible intro to the Django framework and Python language, is used for the workshop but has been used by over 30,000 people online.

I recently attended a Django Girls event in New York which felt like a birthday party and workshop combined. With free food, booze, a photo booth and balloons, attendees were made to feel like VIPs. Guest speakers, male and female, told their personal stories about getting started with code and overcoming impostor syndrome and insecurities.

One day is not enough to learn how to code, but in the industry, sometimes a little bit can go a long way. Beginners can use resources like Stack Overflow or find meetups to ask questions and work through technical obstacles.

Before we wrapped up the workshop, all the girls were sent home with a rubber duck that represented a powerful message. In “rubber duck programming” developers who hit a wall talk through their problem to a rubber duck. The theory is that talking through a problem is often all that’s needed to find the solution.

I really liked taking part in Django Girls. Take a look at their events page. Hopefully there’s one on the calendar near you.

For more information about gender diversity in technology and computing check out National Center for Women and Information Technology.

Some more photos from the Django Girls NYC event in March:





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Roundup: Going Back To School

composition notebook graphic

Fall is a wonderful time to find yourself back in class picking up new professional skills (or dusting off old ones). Here are some courses and workshops coming up in 2013 that caught my attention and offer a nice professional boost. These classes range in price from free to a bit costly and they’re sure to give anyone who’s been out of the classroom a healthy dose of back to school jitters.

I’ve signed up for “Metadata: Organizing and Discovering Information” a free course from Coursera, one of the organizations driving the MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) phenomenon. The course is taught by Jeffrey Pomerantz of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina. Before you sign up, know that there is some required background knowledge in coding. If you don’t have experience with HTML, you may want to try Codeacademy. People love Codeacdemy’s hit the ground running style. You’ll start coding the second your browser opens the link.

Library Juice Press offers classes through Library Juice Academy. These workshops earn Continuing Education Units, good news for some certified librarians. The topics are broad and include “Cataloging for Non-Catalogers”, “Considering an Open-Source ILS” and “Introduction to RDA.” They’re all offered at the affordable price of $175.00. Library Juice Academy also offers a Certificate in User Experience (UX). Through the certificate program, you can gain fundamentals of user experience and learn to apply user-centered strategies to library websites. The program covers topics like “Designing a Usable Website” and “Do-It-Yourself Usability Testing.”

There’s been an outpouring of support for women developers, and Girl Develop It (GDI) is one of the the leading organizations. Classes starting in September are offered all over the US. The classes are not solely for ladies. So, boys, you can learn how to build your own website too. And if you already have your own site, you can take more control of its look and feel. Other course topics include “Introduction to JavaScript” and “Mockups to Code” they also organize more casual “Code and Coffee” nights. Classes will set you back around $80.00. Black Girls Code is another female-oriented educator. Check them out too.

And, if you’re looking for something to energize your life goals, there’s  James Victore’s “Take This Job and Love It.” In the creator’s words, the one day event  is about “work, life and bucking the status quo.” Victore wants you to unlock the creative skills you already have. This October, topics will include “The value of being unreasonable” and “Accepting responsibility for your awesomeness.” Full day passes will cost $250.00 and it’s $500.00 for a “Badass” ticket.


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