Just home from Women Who Code Atlanta’s We Rise Women in Tech conference. I have lots of notes to look through, suggestions for task-specific SDKs, contacts to follow up on, and new topics to explore. Reconnected with women I met last year at the first hackathon. I was only able to attend one day of this two-day conference due to work obligations but enjoyed every dang minute of it! So much positive energy, engagement, encouragement, reinforcement – it’s nice (and reassuring) to know that we’re out there, and we’re supporting one another. My notes from the sessions I attended follow.
Hot tip – the 2nd Women Who Code hackathon date is set for October 15 – 17th. Save the date!
I attended my first hackathon a few weeks ago.* It was organized by the Atlanta, Tampa and Greenville networks of Women Who Code, a nonprofit focused on helping women advance their careers in the software and tech industries.
It was awesome. For the first time, I wasn’t terrified of not knowing something, of being found inadequate, or of not being able to contribute to a team. As a mid-life career changer, I’m still a relative noob when it comes to programming. The Women Who Code hackathon organizers did several things to help myself (and many others!) get past our fears and do good work at our first hackathon.
- They organized a pre-hackathon orientation session Friday afternoon, in which they ran through what to expect, team roles and how our final products and pitches would be scored. Knowing what to expect helped me settle in and focus on how I could help my team and not worry about hitting ill-defined performance targets.
- They had mentors (subject matter and programming language experts) available throughout the hackathon, to help teams get past knowledge sticking points.
- Food – we were NOT going to starve. There was lots of non-carb food, coffee, and caffeine, all necessary for sustained work.
- Finally, everyone presented. Didn’t matter how big or small the final application was – you talked about it.