On Monday, September 12th, Women Who Code Birmingham held its Programming & Tech Career Development panel at UAB’s iLab at the Innovation Depot.
Twenty-seven women (and a few men) came out to learn what technical and software development employers are looking for in the Birmingham area, what to expect in a technical interview and how to ensure success starting a career after graduation from university, or when transitioning into the field from another career.
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.
If you’re here, you’re interested in forming a chapter of Women Who Code, here in Birmingham.
Women Who Code‘s key initiatives include:
- Connecting our community with influential tech experts and investors
- Career and leadership development
- Increasing female speakers and judges at conferences and hackathons
- Increasing participation in the tech community
To join as a founding member, sign-up at Women Who Code Birmingham. Once we hit twenty local women, we’ll set a date for a first organizing meeting.
Edit – Monday May 25th 2015 – local chapter is now live! We’re starting in on Ruby on Rails in June. First Git class running on June 1st.