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!
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!
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
Last week Girl Code decided to shake things up a little. Instead of your regular talks only meetup; Ineke, Katja and Kristin organised a hands-on meetup to take place at our HQ in The Hague. After some noodles and a quick intro everybody went on to code their very own game of Tic Tac Toe in MeteorJS. All levels were welcome.
Because MeteorJS is so accessible, it is just the right framework for a workshop suited for all levels. With the right tutorial someone who hasn’t ever coded before can code their first Tic Tac Toe quite easily and get a taste of how much fun programming is. While at the same time, professional developers can easily go deeper and get more familiar with Meteor and code an advanced Tic Tac Toe.
We had a full house and the workshop proved to be so much fun even the first time programmers were behaving like proper nerd developers: everyone was buried in their screen, coding the ultimate Tic Tac Toe and forgot to take care of themselves. The amount of candy bars and drinks we’ve got left is proof of that, lol. Girl Coders at the meetup told us this hands-on meetup was a welcome and a cool alternative to the regular talks-only-meetups. So this is one to get a rerun.
A rerun like on tv and as good as any good old Friends rerun. We want to offer a second chance to everybody who couldn’t make the first Girl Code meets Meteor because it was in The Hague. So this night will be at our Amsterdam office and we hope you all join us there. We also would like to re-invite everybody who did come already and just want to do the workshop again or want to go on with their Tic Tac Toe they’ve coded last week. Whilst enjoying the good company of other Girl Coders and Meteor tutors of course. You can RSVP here: Girl Code meets Meteor Rerun at Q42 Amsterdam.
Learning to code
If you’re just starting out learning to code it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why we made this list with tools and websites which offer ways to learn how to code at home:
Thanks to all the Girl Coders who joined us: you made this night a real success!
Update March 18 2016:
Meanwhile, Girl Code meets Meteor Rerun at Q42 Amsterdam is also behind us. And wow! What a turnout. 50(!) of you joined us for a night of coding. And we have pictures to prove it :-D Thank you all for coming!
You can finish or start the Girl Code meets Meteor Tic Tac Toe tutorial here.
Vorige week woensdag was het zover: Nerds on Stage in de Rotterdamse Schouwburg. “Meet the brightest minds in technology and creativity”, zo wordt dit tech event voor scholieren aangekondigd op de site. Toen Katja, Kristin en Ineke met Girl Code werden gevraagd om daar twee minicolleges te komen geven, konden ze dus nog moeilijk nee zeggen. Wat een eer!
Het enige feit aan programmeren is natuurlijk dat je iets bedenkt en dat nog écht kunt bouwen ook. De nadruk van ons college lag daarom op hoe vet programmeren is, dat iedereen dat kan doen en dat iedereen dat eigenlijk zou moeten doen. En met iedereen bedoelen we natuurlijk iedereen!
Het was ontzettend gaaf om te zien hoe enthousiast iedereen werd van een connected hoelahoep en een slimme hue lamp. We kregen jongens aan het hoepelen en enthousiast voor Girl Code. Leraren vroegen ons tips om ook de meisjes in de klas aan het programmeren te krijgen. En wat natuurlijk vooral een succes was, was het enthousiasme van de aanwezige meisjes zelf. Alle scholieren die Nerds on Stage bezocht hebben, worden tóch maar programmeur. Achievement unlocked.
Last week after months of preparation it was finally time for the first Girl Code, a meetup we organised and hosted for coders and everyone interested in code (yes everyone, all genders were welcome).
Kicking off Girl Code
Besides working on awesome projects, we’re also invested in making code accessible to all. With our foundation Code Uur (the Dutch version of Hour of Code), we’re working to get programming into the syllabus of all school children in the Netherlands. And we don’t just want to inspire kids to code. We want the world of code to be diverse and we realize the gender gap in tech but also in code specifically is very real. We really think our work can benefit from having more women on board and creating a more diverse working environment, so we’re working on increasing the number of female Q’ers – since last year, the percentage of women at Q has risen from just 6% to 13%, and we’re not done. So when Lieke Boon offered to give a talk at our office on gender bias in tech, Katja came to me and asked: “Can’t we make this bigger than just one talk for Q’ers only?” And so we did. Girl Code was born. We contacted Girls in Tech to reach the right audience via their Meetup group and social media channels.
For Girl Code we arranged for four professional Girl Coders to come give talks and demo some of their work. The goal of the night was to show everyone professional coders aren’t necessarily male and to inspire everyone to get into code in spite of this gender gap. After our own introduction the girls of Girls in Tech talked about their mission with their organisation and why they wanted to be part of Girl Code. After these introductions it was time for the talks the evening was really about. You can find the slides below.
Katja Hollaar “WYSIWYG: Augmenting Content of Digital Books in Schooltas”
Katja told us about building enrichment pins in Schooltas. Schooltas is an app to have everything you ever need for school in the palm of your hand. Because who wants to search for a book in a dusty old library anyway? In building an intuitive, user-friendly interface, the team noticed a striking contrast with the extremely complex underlying code.To keep the code comprehensible, maintainable and reusable they used the approach of component based programming.
Kristin Rieping "Building Light: The Architecture of Philips Hue"
Ever wanted to use your lights in any way imaginable? Kristin is your girl! With her team she connected Philips hue to the cloud. With this API you can connect your lights in any way you want. Want to annoy us? You can control our lights in our The Hague office via the header of our site. Yes, we’ll notice.
Felienne Hermans “A Board Game Night With Geeks”
A picture of Felienne is what you find when you look up the word ‘nerd’. Instead of just enjoying the rest of a game of Quarto, she immediately pulled out her laptop to get an answer when she wondered if this game could ever end in a tie. Using automated reasoning and SAT solvers, she attacked the game with source code and found out this game can indeed end in a tie. And that was when she could sleep soundly again.
Erika Reinaldo "Smashing Pixels with Imanee"
Image manipulation is important in any programming language. So when Erika wanted the most simple thing to deal with images in PHP, she built it herself. It’s called Imanee. There are a lot of tools available online for dealing with images, but “Who cares?”, Erika asked us. Innovation is about creating, and because she has a real passion for creating, she programmed it herself to be the best tool for her needs. With her talk she wanted to inspire everyone to get into code and create.
Find Erika’s slides here.
Lieke Boon “Unconscious Bias”
Lieke closed the night with a talk about the unconscious bias in not only the world of tech, but in almost every aspect of our lives. Don’t think you escape those biases, because every moment in time exposes you to 11 million bits of information and we can only process about 40 bits, so we are all undeniably biased. Test it yourself. She explained the underlying nuance in our daily terminology and how we could counter-program our brains in order to tackle these unconscious biases.
Find Lieke’s slides here.
The night was a real success. A lot of of people came out and we really want to thank everyone who did. The discussions were really interesting and are still going. We couldn’t have hoped for a better evening, so who knows? Girl Code could be getting a sequel, so keep an eye on us if you don’t want to miss out! Also keep an eye on us if you want to see the videos of the talks, because those are coming up. Eventually.