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!
‘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!
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.
Wow, this week started with another great milestone for us: we got to welcome our 500th Girl Coder on Meetup: Caroline! And since our last interview with our 400th member Tina was so well received, we would now love to celebrate this milestone with you by introducing Caroline too!
Caroline is from France and when she doesn’t eat sausages, she drinks beers in all the wonderful and chill bars Amsterdam has to offer. She also likes to attend exhibitions, talks and events and loves to socialize in general.
Why did you want to join our group?
I joined the page ’cause I’ve always been interested in coding. I learned the basics at school, but I’d love to learn more in order to give another dimension to my own work. Without coding I currently feel restricted.
So, what do you do?
I’m a graphic designer mainly specialized in identity, web and print. I actually just stopped working for a fashion brand, so now I’m back on the market! I’m looking for a job in a graphic design agency or maybe in a fashion company again. I’m down for both as long as they’re interesting! Also, I’m passionate about patterns, which I design in my spare time.
Oh, do tell more!
I like doing weird black and white patterns, digital art, screen printing, handwritten typography or working with leather. The patterns I’m making are an on-going project. For now I’m thinking about making a series and printing them, then make a little tiny exhibition in a café somewhere or sell them through some concept stores. I still need to figure that out. Maybe it would be great to animate them as well. That’s where the desire to code comes in. I do experimental/digital work which I would love to animate with code.
What coding languages would you like to learn?
I learned a little HTML and CSS at school, and now I’d love to dive deeper into these languages related to animation. I would also like to learn Java and WebGL for example.
Do you have a game plan to learn these languages?
A game plan? Yes, I need one! There is always the way of learning online. But I think it’s way more motivating to learn in a group with a real person teaching. I still need to find this somewhere. You can of course find a lot of basic courses online like that, but when it comes to basic+ / medium level I’m still wondering where I could find good ones.
You say coding will add to your graphic designing. Let’s turn it around: do you have tips for Girl Coders who want to learn more about graphic design next to their coding?
Nowadays more than ever these two professions are getting really close and we work together more and more. So the good thing is that you can always ask someone around you for advice! A tip from me: to learn graphic design is to start on paper. Make a little sketch, think about the current problem you’re trying to solve and what you want to communicate. When your analysis is complete, it’s super easy to start designing something that makes sense. Experiment as well! Open your design software without any ideas in mind and… Play around!
Do you have anything random you still want to share :-)?
I’m looking forward to attending my first meetup of Girl Code. We go girls!
And we’re looking forward to meet you IRL as well, Caroline. Will you bring the sausages? ;-)
If someone has tips for Caroline where to start learning the languages she would like to learn. Send her a message on Meetup or make sure you’ll catch her at one of our next events!
On to the 600th!
Yay! Last Wednesday we did a little dance of joy. Our Girl Code, started only 1.5 years ago, welcomed it’s 400th member on Meetup. It was Tina! To welcome her and celebrate this little milestone we thought it would be fun to do a little interview and introduce you all to Tina :-)
Tina finished her Media and Communication studies at the Faculty of Humanities in Koper, Slovenia and is now working at a media production and distribution company in Amsterdam. Her favorite game is Super Mario 64 and eager and passionate to learn coding she joined our group.
What inspired you to want to learn coding?
One of the reasons is the universality of the language and creativity that supports it. Also, I believe women/girls/ladies who code are braking into stereotyped men’s territory, which adds to my interest to the playground. Another reason is because I simply adore my ThinkPad and I might watched Mr.Robot a little bit too much recently.
Which languages are you most interested in?
Did you already start?
What are you doing in your daily life?
Working in the office (nothing connected to programming, unfortunately), wandering, partying and cycling around Amsterdam, listening to music at least 9 hours per day, doing interviews with music artists, volunteering at community dinners, sporting as much as my computer lets me, dancing around my room and trying not to eat all the cookies at once.
What will you do when you learned how to code?
Celebrate. It will be probably a bottle of Rose or Cabernet Sauvignon. Then I might send my requests to some companies and upgrade my employment status.
If you had all the skills you can imagine what would you build?
I am not completely sure what all these languages can build yet. But I am definitely more interested in software than web development.
Do you have anything you want to say to inspire other Girl Coders?
Girls, we run this world!
Do you have advice for girls still hesitating to make the step to learn coding?
To keep it simple: try not just coding, but everything that you can. Life is too
short to hesitate. It might not be your cup of tea, but at least you tried. And it might fit you like a glove, you never know!
Do you have anything random you still want to share :-)?
I cancelled my Friday plans and rather stayed home, because I had a coding class in the morning (Saturday Morning Coding Amsterdam). And I ate all the cookies at once, of course.
With love, Tina<3
Because of the enthusiastic reactions to the talks about IOT at our last Meetup in August, our September Meetup last Friday at Q42 was all about connecting our own ‘Things’ to the internet ourselves. For this hands-on workshop we’ve picked the Particle Photon Starter Kit as our ‘Thing’. And because it comes with a built-in WiFi module everybody was online in no time, building their own apps with the LED and photocell. Afterwards they took it home to keep on building the wild ideas they made up during the workshop.
As always time flies when you’re coding with other Girl Coders, so it was hard to stop when the evening was over. Several Girl Coders are hungry for more coding with their Photons in the good company of some fellow Girl Coders. If you’re too let us know you’re interested in a casual Photon evening somewhere with WiFi, so we can pick a date and a place!
Internet of Things has become increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives. Your thermostat is controlling the temperature based on your behavior, your smoke detector warns you through your lights in case of a fire and in the near future you’ll be buying your smart-by-itself-ordering-new-coffee-beans-when-you’re-out-coffee-machine right at the Media Markt.
IOT makes our daily lives easier and offers fun opportunities for us coders. Beyond coding apps and websites, you can bring your coding into the real world even more when you do something with IOT. Think of world-saving drones, but also of fun little projects like building a connected dress.
Last Wednesday it was finally time for our meetup at Q42 Amsterdam dedicated to IOT in preparation for an IOT workshop Kristin wants to give for quite a while now (read: at least a year). And because everybody was as excited about the topic as we are, this long-anticipated IOT workshop will be next! Keep an eye on our Meetup group, Facebook and Twitter to make sure you will be part of it.
We had a blast and want to thank you all again for coming and making Girl Code such a success. Below the slides of all of the talks. See you at the next one!
An intro on IOT – Ineke Scheffers
How neural networks can make a drone your next best friend – Tessie Hartjes and Iris Huijben of Blue Jay Eindhoven
Hooli: Building a Connected Hoola Hoop – Katja Hollaar
LoRa, IOT-projects and a poll – Kristin Rieping
Our 7th Girl Code event is a wrap! Google was in Amsterdam with GCP Next World Tour and so we hijacked Girl Googler: Sara Robinson! Sara first talked about everything what you can make Google’s Vision API do and more importantly: how. It wouldn’t be Girl Code without some coding, so after Sara’s talk it was time to open our laptops and play with it a little ourselves. We concluded the workshop with some brainstorming where the consensus seemed to be that we have to do something with Tinder and the Vision API… Very curious about those apps ;-)!
Thank you all again for coming and see you at the next one! Join us here to stay in the loop!