Last Saturday, 30th April 2016, we held our first event in Kenya that had over 15 eager girls with different experience levels in coding attend. The day was filled with fun, food, laughter and sessions of pure coding. The girls exhibited curiosity about what it is like to be a programmer and how to develop and get ahead in the skill. They also connected with each other quite fast and were eager to offer each other a helping hand, which is one of the important skills one needs to have as a programmer. Time clocked by quite fast and by the end of it all, most wished they had had more time to code and interact with each other. The end of the day brought with it thoughts on how we can arrange another event for them to gain more knowledge.
The event was a programming bootcamp specifically for ladies to encourage and make it more comfortable for those who are interested in the skill but are intimidated by the gender imbalance in the field. One of TechInPink’s mission is to inspire and motivate young ladies/girls who are interested in programming to not doubt their skill or believe their gender determines how good they can be in it. It was definitely an inspiring moment for us to see these girls turn up with so much drive and eagerness to learn code.
The day started off with a presentation on what a programmer’s journey is like, inspired by this article, just to let them understand that the journey has it’s ups and downs. After that I gave a brief talk/introduction to Web Development Principles and we broke into three groups and started coding. The groups were led by Software Developers from Andela, including myself.
Before we got to start writing LOC (Lines of Code) we did a couple of fun exercises just to get the girls to bond with each other and ease up. It also feels good to be kids again and have a good laugh
Over lunch hour I got to interact with some of the girls and I got to learn a lot from them. I have never ventured into the field of hardware so it was interesting to have a conversation with Alice, a girl who is from the field of Robotics branching into programming to have a deeper and better understanding on how she can program her future projects.
Towards the end of the event, Yetunde Sanni, joined in through a video call and encouraged the girls to keep believing in themselves and to keep pushing through the challenges. She emphasized on the need and importance of a proper support system and also a mentor to help you get better at your craft. She also spoke about her programming journey and one important take away was, don’t let failure keep you down.
This is what some of the girls had to say after the session:
“The event was such an eye opener to the world of coding. I came into the event as a frustrated programming beginner and left the event re-energized to continue pursuing progamming. I also learnt that programming is not a journey one should take alone but instead collaborate with other programmers so as to better one’s skills.”
“The event was very interactive and open, the trainers were able to explain programming concepts in a very easy-to-understand manner. What I gained most was a clear understanding of how to go about coding and understanding web development concepts as a whole while getting hands on experience.”
We are thankful to everyone who registered and to those who also attended the event. We are very inspired when girls are confident enough to start writing their coding stories
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