Back to the future – Girl Code talks AI @ ING

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Another awesome Girl Code meetup has taken place last Wednesday and this time we were welcomed at ING. A new company for us, but not a new hostess. We were lucky enough working with Victoria again. We’ve met her at Booking.com during our ‘The challenges of a (Girl) Coder’-meetup and now she’s kicking ass and empowering women at ING. So, when she called for another meetup at her new office and suggested a topic high on our wish list: we couldn’t possibly refuse. The topic in question was: Artificial Intelligence. Yeahhhh!

This technology will enhance us. So instead of artificial intelligence, I think we’ll augment our intelligence – Ginni Rometty

The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race – Stephen Hawking

AI, a term of which it’s true definition is still debated on, but most of us still have a hope, fear or opinion about. Some people can’t wait for what the future of it will bring, some just hope it won’t be as scary as they envision it to become. This night was all about lifting a corner of the veil covering it by our professional Girl Coders.

The talks

First up was Flavia with her key note titled: Demystifying AI – Robots are coming! During her talk she deconstructed the hype around AI and it’s differences with Machine Learning. It was a very interesting, inspiring and highly amusing talk of 40 minutes, so I will not be giving a summary of her whole talk. If you didn’t attend our meetup last Wednesday, you really should try to keep an eye on her and hear her talk some time about this and other topics yourself! Highly recommended! But one thing she really stressed to us is the importance of a good and complete dataset. ‘Cause your AI will be biased, and it’s predictions no good if the dataset is already biased. So a true challenge for us humans is: to keep making sure the data we feed it is the best and most complete it can be.

After a little breather it was time for Esther’s demo. Esther has been a member of Girl Code since the earliest days and is one of those inspirational people we really wanted on our stage some time. Wednesday was finally that time, ’cause our topic perfectly fits Esther, you know her being a Master of Science in it. During her short demo she showed us how we all, with a little time (like 40 minutes), can set up our first AI using TensorFlow. Check her slides to get on it!

We finished the talks with a panel discussion. Flavia and Esther were joined on stage by Janna (IT Chapter Lead) and Bidisha (IT Manager). They answered all the questions and ideas of our Girl Coders in the audience. And they did so with great passion! We closed the evening by getting to know each other and meeting up with what have become good friends while enjoying some truly delicious snacks and drinks provided by Victoria and her awesome team.

It was another AWESOME night! Thank you all for coming and making this another success as always. You ARE Girl Code :-)

If you want to join us next time, we already announced our next one at bloomon March 21st. RSVP’s will open up in January when we announce the whole program after a little holiday break. So keep an eye on meetup, to make sure you have a spot!

Happy holidays and see you next year!

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Meet our 700th Girl Coder: Carla!

Carla and I connected on LinkedIn after our mutual connection Xander tagged me in one of her posts. It was about AI and how it shapes our thinking power. Carla wondered about what will happen if 99% of it is developed only by men.

AI, the topic of our next meetup and a topic we thus have in common. So naturally, I invited Carla to our next meetup and as it turns out she became our 700th Girl Coder! Time to celebrate our community again with a blogpost, this time about: Carla!

Why, besides my invitation, did you want to join our group? 
To talk to smart, talented young women who are navigating their career in an extremely male dominated world. How does this influence your behaviour? What do you do to develop your personal leadership? How do you stay true to your own values?

Do you code?
I did program Siebel (a CRM system) for about one week :-). But I had to admit that this wasn’t my talent. I want to support the women whose talent it is to code. In this era of digitalisation we need the voices, the views and the opinions of women coders more them ever! To make sure we won’t get stuck in an era of ‘digital patriarchy’.   

From LinkedIn I know you’re a feminine leadership coach. Do tell more about what this entails! 
I teach women business leaders how to develop and value their feminine side, so they become more balanced and powerful as leaders. Personal leadership is developed differently in women than it is in men. First of all because a woman’s and a man’s psyche operates differently. They have different inner forces driving their behaviour. In a patriarchal society and business culture it’s the male psyche that is dominant. Women need to learn about their own inner forces if they want to understand themselves and effectively use these forces. Secondly, as we’re all starting to see, the forces in our society act out differently on women than on men. A woman needs to become conscious about the external pressure that is put on her, so she can consciously make decisions. Thirdly, charisma is developed differently. Charisma is like an energy source that we carry with us in our bodies. It’s connected to our life-force. Developed through a grounded sense of self-love, self-esteem and finding joy and safety in one’s own body. Without a healthy, loving relationship with our bodies we experience difficulties connecting to our life-force, intuition and charisma.

Do you have any advice for our (professional and just starting out) Girl Coders in this male dominated field? 
My advise to all women working in male dominated fields who want to have impact and shape tomorrows world is:  
1. Stay connected to other women, for nourishment, laughter and learning.
2. Invest continuously in your personal development so you become the best version of yourself. 

One last random thing you still want to share? 
A universal wisdom is that you should treat others in the way that you would like to be treated yourself. Should you ever encounter a boss or a team that doesn’t treat you in this way, get out. There are enough great people out there who would love to work with a smart, talented, hardworking woman like yourself! 

Like what Carla stands for? You can learn more about her work on her website and Vimeo. But even better: you can meet her in real life real soon, because she’s coming to our meetup about AI this Wednesday!
Thanks, Carla for this interesting interview and thank you all other Girl Coders for making our community what it is! On to the 800th!

All about Front End – Girl Code @ ANWB

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Last Wednesday it was finally time for another Meetup! This time it was at the ANWB. And that wasn’t really a coincidence, ’cause it’s where I got my first job as a full stack developer after being retrained as one last December. To be fair, it took a little nudging to apply for the job back then, ’cause why would you want to program at the company of the ANWB-stelletjes with their unisex raincoats? Well, in the end I’m really glad I did, ’cause we’re with more than a 100 developers here, building around 150 web applications and 30 apps. And we’re as free as can be to use the modern techs and tools we like. So that’s pretty awesome. What’s also pretty awesome is that the people who hired me were really interested in Girl Code and wanted to support our cause by hosting one and hopefully in this way also get in contact with more Girl Coders and help to raise the number of women in code.

When I started to work here I met Hanny and I was really impressed by her work and story. So after helping her with VHTO’s Girlsday at the ANWB, I asked if she also wanted to organize a Girl Code with me at the ANWB. And if it was up to me if she would also give a talk at this event herself! Even though she never did it before and was a little nervous about it, she accepted the challenge! So we started to look for a second speaker and we soon found out, which didn’t surprise me, we had a lot of other brilliant women ANWB’ers for the second talk and helping us out with the rest of the organization. Thanks, Anne, Xiaolin, Sabine, Marjon, Chantal and Lisa! With an open call for a speaker we completed the program with Chantal (S)!

The talks

In programming you can choose sides. You can choose the front or back end and if you really can’t choose you can always still be Switzerland and choose full stack.
For this meetup at the ANWB we sided with the front end and we had three Girl Coders who led us through some different tech and aspects of front end coding. Despite the autumn storm outside we had a filled up room and an awesome night. Hanny, Anne and Chantal rocked the stage and we had some great conversations after during the drinks. So thank you all for coming and making this night another successful Girl Code event!

Hanny talked about the connection between front end and UX, Anne about Elm and how it compares to AngularJS and Chantal about Bootstrap. You can take another look at all the slides below.

PS Keep an eye out on our Meetup page, ’cause the next one is already in progress! If you like the topic of artificial intelligence, I would make sure to block Wednesday night December 6 ;-) Just a tip.

Meet our 600th.. err.. 296th member: Bahareh!

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 21.19.42.pngJune 9th enters history as the day Girl Code
got her 600th member on Meetup! A day of celebration. A tradition (that started at Girl Coder number 400) is to interview the lucky new member, introduce you to another inspiring woman on here and celebrate YOU. Unfortunately, after several tries we couldn’t reach the Girl Coder in question (long story short: turn on your Meetup messages if you don’t want to miss out on things like these! ;-) ), so we decided to let random.org decide who we would interview to celebrate our 600 members milestone out of the then 614 Girl Coders! ‘Cause we are very lucky to have you all! Random.org chose wisely for one tough cookie, a.k.a. @oneToughCooki22 on Twitter and a.k.a. Bahareh Amali irl. Another awesome example of a truly inspiring Girl Coder! So let the interview begin!

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Bahareh moved from Canada to Amsterdam in 2013 to finish her Masters in Urban Planning and she decided to stay. Her field not being an easy job market, always already interested in IT and wanting to improve usability of applications she gave programming a try in 2016 and started to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery through online courses. ‘Cause she’s awesome like that.

What is it that you like about code?
That it empowers to build on your ideas attracts me to it. When I have a cool idea, I want to make it. I see programming as a very powerful means of expression.

For starting Girl Coders who wonder: which online courses did you use?
I’m following the Full Stack JavaScript and Front End Web Development tracks on Treehouse. And, in addition to that I’m one of the campers at FreeCodeCamp and participated in the #100DaysOfCode challenge.

Woo, that’s a commitment! How did you stay disciplined?
I’ve read many books on time management and learned different tactics on how to get things done. At first I tried to stick to the 9 to 5 schedule but slowly I’ve learned to manage my time better and instead of staring at my laptop for 8 hours straight, I cut down the problem into very small pieces and work on them throughout short sprints using Pomodoro clock. Now I work about 4 focused hours everyday including weekends.

What do you do for fun besides coding?
I like to dance and listen to live music and Amsterdam is a great place for that. Once in awhile I go to festivals to enjoy the beats, socialize and practice my Dutch with locals. I am also learning bass, which is great mental exercise.

Any advice for other girls thinking of changing their career to programming?
I would say just take your time and although dipping into different languages may be tempting at first, try sticking to one. Learn it well, get good at it and then move on to the more complicated languages. I would also say join coding groups, Meetups, hackathons and basically immerse yourself in the tech community as much as possible. And remember as Kathy Sierra says: “It takes 200 times of repetition to learn and master a new task”, so don’t get discouraged if you didn’t get it with the first few attempts. We learn most from our failures.

One last random thing you still want to share?
I tweet my ongoing saga, and share programming related books and resources on Twitter. If you are interested you can follow me @oneToughCooki22!

So, as Bahareh advices immerse yourself in the tech community and come to our next meetup ;-) You might run into this inspiring coder and get to meet her yourself! Also, if you’re looking for an awesome front ender to hire, you know where to tweet this One Tough Cookie!

Hope to see you at one of our next events, Bahareh. And thanks again for letting us interview you!

Now at 631, on to the 700th!

 

Building Rock-Paper-Scissors – Girl Code at Codaisseur

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JavaScript, C++, PHP… Coding languages exist in big numbers. Another one, and some say an easier one to learn, is Ruby. We wouldn’t know. Ruby was new for us too!

So, last Wednesday it was time to get a taste of it at Codaisseur. And despite of the very, very, VERY good weather outside we had a filled classroom. Proud of our eager to learn Girl Coders and eager to teach tutors! After some short introductions about Girl Code and Codaisseur, all eyes and ears were focused on Ester Kais who showed just how easy it is to build a Rock-Paper-Scissors game in Ruby in just 1.5 hours. The evening was a big success: we once again met cool new people, got a taste of a new language and saw that wine not always beats coding, ’cause even after we finished and it was time for drinks most of you were still perfecting their games. In short: it was a good ol’ night of coding!

Keep an eye on our meetup page because we can’t wait to see you all again!

And if you weren’t able to join us this time, below you can find the slides and here the tutorial complete with installation guide. You’re welcome ;-)

PS it was Valentina Colombo who invited us to Codaisseur and arranged for everything on Codaisseur’s end. Because of a more important personal emergency she sadly couldn’t join us. But we would like to thank her again for welcoming us and help arrange for this awesome meetup to happen: thank you, Valentina!

Hidden Figures – Girl Code at the cinema with NGTI

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Last Friday it was finally time to go see the movie of the year, or should I say century, with a bunch of Girl Coders: Hidden Figures. First, if you didn’t already: GO TO THIS MOVIE! It’s an absolute must-see!

Hidden Figures is about three African-American female mathematicians who’ve sent the first American into space with their calculations. Say what?! Yeah, the movie is called Hidden Figures for a reason. This truly awesome true (!) story has remained hidden in history until now. The whole movie is all about the struggles black women faced in the world of coding. I type faced, but apart from the open and proud racism maybe, I’m sad to say the inequality for women developers and especially black women developers is still very real in this day and age. Because we believe awareness and role models are really important to close the gender gap in tech, I feel hiding this story is part of the reason girls don’t always realize coding is a real option for them too. And what role models Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan are!

Listening to what struggles women developers face was the reason for Ahmed of NGTI to visit our last meetup at Booking.com and leaving inspired he wanted to help raise awareness by hosting the next Girl Code meetup. So he hooked us up with some great food at the office and free tickets for the movie. Next, Ahmed’s words on the collab and the movie:

Going into my first Girl Code meetup, I knew there’s a staggering gender gap in the industry. What I was struggling with was, what can I do about it. There’s often an underestimated step in the process of creating a change, that’s listening. I knew if I wanted to help, I’d have to listen first. So, there I was listening to brave women speaking up for themselves, sharing their experience, remembering what they had to overcome, and foreseeing what’s yet to challenge their progress, being vulnerable yet strong and admitting their fears in an act of courage. I’m sure that whatever I grasped from listening doesn’t amount to even a fraction of what they experience, but it was enough to make me want to spread the word further. That’s why we wanted to host an event with Girl Code, and that’s why when they suggested watching Hidden Figures, we couldn’t miss it! It’s essential to progress that we occasionally look back, assess our failures as human beings and move on with the intention of not repeating the same mistakes. Hidden figures gives us this opportunity to look back not far in history, to see bright women fighting for their basic rights and passionately contribute to the progress of humanity, despite all the hurdles in their way, only for their contribution to stay hidden for years. There are so many lessons to be learned, but for me the most important one is, without the courage of people speaking up and raising awareness change simply can’t happen.

Finally, this is not only about injustice. This is also about fitness. As it’s the case for the body needing diverse diet to stay healthy, the same applies to industries. Having people from a limited pool doesn’t produce good ideas. If the tech industry is keen on being healthy, it’s time for a diversity diet. Hire for diversity and inclusion, not just to be fair but to be fit.

Note: NGTI is hiring, please check our job openings.

And now it’s time to buy me some Katherine, Mary and Dorothy posters for inspiration! Thanks to all Girl Coders who joined us for the movie. You made our night!

Curious about our next meetup? Join us at meetup.com/GirlCode to stay in the loop!

The challenges of a (Girl) Coder – Girl Code at Booking

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‘Cause being a coder brings challenges and being a Girl Coder can bring even more, this night at Booking was all about sharing experiences. First with talks by Tara Nielsen, Liana Popescu, Yosra Alaa and Abril Alvarez. And after, during the Q&A and the drinks, we got to hear the stories of our community too. It was an awesome and inspiring night and you came with many! Thank you for that!

The talks
You probably wouldn’t say, ’cause our speakers were very good, but for all four it was their first talk ever! They maybe were a little hesitant before, but they rocked and this is what we think Girl Code is all about! We want to offer the stage to women who have interesting and inspiring stories, even when they don’t have much experience speaking on stage yet. Ours is the perfect stage to start out when conquering the world. And seeing all four of them kick so much ass up there, made it even better! Not that we doubted that before. Thanks girls, for choosing our stage for your first talks. We feel very honoured!

Tara talked among other things about imposter syndrome, Liana about the importance of mentorship, Yosra about conquering multiple male-dominated fields throughout her life and Abril about the different challenges in different countries. You can take another look at all the slides below.