Monthly Archives: November 2011
Our fourth, and biggest workshop, Introduction to WordPress, has passed and we can definitely say it was #BADA55! Wes Bos took the lead and made sure the 80 learners left having installed a local server on their computers, learned about the all powerful loop, how to add Twitter ‘Tweet’ and Facebook ‘Like’ buttons with permalinks, hack themes, install plugins and understand many of the inner workings of the complex and powerful WordPress CMS.
In standard Ladies Learning Code fashion, the day was filled with laughter, good eats, and of course heads bursting with new knowledge. The buzz in the room was full of inspiration, leaving many anxious to go home and continue hacking away. It continued after we unveiled the free beer that Steamwhistle graciously donated, as new friends chatted and compared their achievements from the day. After everyone had left, you would have never known it looked like this just mere hours earlier.
A huge thank you to Nascent Digital for sponsoring the day, Wes Bos for creating and delivering such great content, and to Steamwhistle for the post workshop beers. An additional thank you to David Wolever, who ensured that our Wi-Fi and projectors were up and running quickly for the entire day! And of course, our volunteer instructors. They are amazing, and without them none of this would be possible.
For those who missed this workshop, we have some exciting news for you. Due to popular demand, we are going to be repeating it on January 14th, with tickets going on sale on January 3rd at 7 pm.
We also have a brand new workshop on January 28th on Mobile! For that workshop, we will be using HTML5 and CSS to take a non-mobile friendly website and optimize it for your phone! Tickets for our Mobile Workshop go on sale on January 11th.
Well, here we are. It’s November already and we are about to host another exciting Workshop – (Intro to WordPress) and are we ever pumped! Once again, our community came forward to support the Ladies Learning Code mission. Our developer email list continues to grow daily. This is critical to our ability to follow through on our goal of providing our learners with a collaborative, social learning environment geared toward absolute beginners.
A HUGE thank you to our WordPress mentors. We couldn’t do this without YOU!
More about these fantastic individuals here…
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “All of the best things in my life are because of the community that surrounds them. With a group of people that are passionate about a certain topic, it fosters a community that allows for learning, sharing of knowledge and growth. I believe that sharing what you know with others is one of the best way to not only improve the community but also improve upon your skills. I’ve never taken a formal web development or design course and I haven’t read very many books. Everything I’ve learned comes from seemingly total strangers who offer up their time to help others learn. Passing this knowledge on is the obvious next step.”
What are you passionate about? “Building interfaces and functional user experiences.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Heather attended one of Jet Cooper’s Show and Tell sessions – Kept an eye on it since then!”
What are you passionate about? “Finding new challenges and finding ways to overcome them.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “We need more women in tech. Without them, we miss out on much. Plus, coding is fun. Teaching people to code is even more fun!”
What are you passionate about? “Technology, Mobile, Sports and Travelling!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “After working in a male-dominated environment for years, I would love to encourage more ladies into this field. I love technology and love what I do everyday! I want to share that passion with others and support a great organization.”
Kandirra Wilson (@kandirra | http://www.kandirra.com)
Program Coordinator: Web design, project coordination, communications, multi-media production in support of professional development programs at the Centre for the Support of Teaching, York University.
What are you passionate about? “Creative means of communication. I’m an ideas person.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I decided to get involved because of my love for making connections, networking, and creating community support that facilitates learning and knowledge sharing; something we are most in need of in an industry where women are under-represented.”
What are you passionate about? ”Great design! Also, photography, good music, and good people.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I really enjoy showing people that the world of coding and technology doesn’t have to be daunting or intimidating.”
What are you passionate about? “Web Standards. Ruby is also pretty darn fun. And Improv (not technology-related, but hey).”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I think LLC’s a fantastic initiative and I want to see more ladies getting involved in the tech space, or at least learning how to write program, and it’s not as daunting as it may appear.”
What are you passionate about? “I am most passionate about learning. If i don’t learn something i can use later i feel like i wasted the day.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “The cause is excellent and I love to help out.”
Dwayne Forde (@dwayneforde )
Software Architect at Xtreme Labs
This is Dwayne’s 2nd time instructing Ladies Learning Code!
What are you passionate about? “Coding Creating innovative software that pushes technology past its limits and encourages innovation.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I like teaching people who are willing to learn. I usually take any chance I can get to teach/learn someone something new.”
What are you passionate about? “I am really passionate about using technology to help people. One of the reasons I enrolled in the Computer Science program was because I enjoyed seeing people use the programs I made, and to see that it made their lives a little bit easier. I enjoyed being able to help them in some small way.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I decided to support Ladies Learning Code because I thought it would be great to meet other women in the field. Also, I enjoy helping people, so I thought it would be a great way to learn new things, grow as a person, and teach someone else something neat.”
What are you passionate about? “UX Design / WordPress / Horses.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Love the idea / Love to help / Love to meet awesome people.”
What are you passionate about? “Mobile, web.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Launch Party!”
What are you passionate about? “Usability, user experience, ease of use.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “It is awesome ”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I think it’s important for everyone to have outlets where they feel comfortable to work, learn and grow with other like-minded individuals. LLC is one of those outlets. With an emphasis on learning through practical implementation, it’s definitely been a long time coming. For many, there’s only so much you’ll be able to learn from listening to someone talk. Often, putting those learnings into practice will be the key to tipping that balance of knowledge to understanding; being able to help facilitate that shift, in any way, is an opportunity I wouldn’t miss for the world.”
What are you passionate about? “Web development and yes, WordPress!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Being the only female web developer at my company, I’m lonely and would love to see more women out there. Also, I’m very excited about helping someone else have fun with web development.”
What are you passionate about? “Entrepreneurship!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I love WordPress, and I love introducing others to WordPress. It’s an amazing tool.”
This is Emir’s 3rd time instructing Ladies Learning Code!
What are you passionate about? “I am all about developing core infrastructures that can be used as tools over and over again. Building stronger application cores allows for better end-user experience and development tools. I love to look at technology from the inside out.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I strongly believe in the power of learning. Learning is super, super fun and I want to help others have the same experience with learning technology as I have.”
Gavin Lobo (http://www.rabidgeek.net)
University of Ontario Institute of Technology, grad student, research assistant, tutorial instructor
This is Gavin’s 3rd time instructing Ladies Learning Code!
What are you passionate about? “Teaching, Science, Mathematics and Programming”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Coding is so much fun! More women should get involved!”
This is Laurie’s 2nd time instructing Ladies Learning Code!
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code?
What are you passionate about? “I am passionate about good, semantic, valid code. There’s something just so awesome about how a couple of lines of code can so dramatically transform a site and make it come together the way you want it to. Though I’ve also been known to get a little passionate about my TV, a cute purse, or the perfect pair of shoes. ”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I love being able to share my passion and how much fun coding can be with other people. When I was in school, my classes were more female-dominated, but in the real world, there does seem to be significantly more men as the go-to gurus of web development, so anything I can do to help other women who want to get into this whole coding game, I’m all for it.”
This is Pearl’s 2nd time instructing Ladies Learning Code!
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code?
For my entire professional career (especially while freelancing as a web developer), I have never found myself working with another professional female developer (except once when I was involved in the hiring process). So…where are you, ladies? What scared you off? I hope Ladies Learning Code will help me answer this.
These people ROCK!
This workshop promises to be full of fun, learning and collaboration.
It’s hard to believe that Ladies Learning Code has only been around for four months. From the very beginning, I’ve been blown away by the support Toronto has shown for this initiative (the one that started with a tweet!). To all of the people, organizations and companies that have been involved in helping Ladies Learning Code to become established – and then grow – this year, I’d like to sincerely thank you. It says something about the city we live in that an organization like Ladies Learning Code can exist and thrive here.
We’re really excited that people are so interested in attending Ladies Learning Code workshops. After the last two workshops sold out so quickly, though, it’s become clear to us that we need to offer more of them. Today, we’re happy to announce that – starting in January 2012 – we’ll go from offering just one workshop a month to offering two.
Incredibly (if people keep signing up), 2000 people will participate in a Ladies Learning Code workshop by the end of 2012. Next year, we’ll also be introducing some more unique (or “niche-y”) workshops and events, plus expanding our audience to include girls through some events designed just for them. Our plans for 2012 are ambitious but exciting, and it is my hope that we (as in, you, too!) can continue to work together to inspire and empower more women and girls in Toronto to become passionate builders – not just consumers – of technology and the web. (That’s a new “mission” we’re trying out…what do you think?)
I want to emphasize that we can’t do this alone. Rough math tells me that, in order to have 2000 women participate in a Ladies Learning Code workshop, we’re going to need to involve 500 instructors (to maintain the 4:1 student-to-instructor ratio that we aim for). That is a lot. If you have technical skills and are willing to help Ladies Learning Code as an Assistant Instructor at one of our workshops, please join our “tech help” email list here. We’re also always on the lookout for great venues with space for 80-100 people (classroom style), so if you know of a space like that, please email me and tell me about it. Also, if your company or organization is interested in a sponsorship opportunity (there are several options available!), please get in touch.
We’ll be announcing the topics of our January workshops on November 26th, but for now, save the dates: January 14th & January 28th. Both workshops will be held at The Centre for Social Innovation – Annex (thank you, CSI!), and both workshops are going to be awesome.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for their support. It’s been a great four months, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do. That being said, I’m feeling pretty optimistic.
From day one, Ladies Learning Code has received an unbelievable amount of support from Toronto’s tech community – and we’re so grateful for it. November is no exception! We’re proud to announce that Nascent will be sponsoring our November workshop. To find out more about Nascent, I sat down with Shawn Konopinsky, Nascent partner and CEO, to ask him a few questions about who he is, what Nascent does, and how Shawn views Ladies Learning Code and the broader issue of women in technology.
Heather: So, Shawn Konopinsky – who are you?
Shawn: I am a digital experience designer, solution architect, and proud UX geek. I studied Computer Science at the University of Toronto where I focused mainly on Human Computer Interaction. I am passionate about finding creative software solutions for business problems, and exploring ways to create deeper connections between computers and people through the use of better interfaces. I am also the founder of Nascent, a UX design and software development company in Toronto.
Heather: What is Nascent?
Shawn: Nascent is a boutique design-led software company specializing in developing ground-breaking mobile and touch experiences. Our passion is to understand how people use technology, and focus on outcome-based design. Mobile and touch are both an important part of our interaction philosophy because they remove the keyboard and mouse from the interaction equation. Doing this enables a more direct and intimate interaction with the user which creates more personalized experiences.
We are a growing team of twelve designers and developers, including four women. Together with our partners, we’re changing the scope of what a digital experience can be.
Heather: Why are you supporting Ladies Learning Code as a Workshop Sponsor?
Shawn: Ladies Learning Code is a movement in turning the trend of the low numbers of women in technology. There is wide gap between the low female enrollment in computer science education and the high demand for talented people in the technology sector. Ladies Learning Code plays an important role in filling the void by providing a unique and supportive learning environment to give women a launch pad for developing core tech skills.
Heather: Enrollment of females in university first-year computer science courses is typically between 15-20%. Why do you think this is?
Shawn: In my opinion, it would be the male-centric environment. There is a low number of female computer-science professors and an overall low percentage of female students. I would imagine this makes for a strange environment for women who walk into their first year computer science and are mostly surrounded by men. It may also be much more difficult to form a support network, given the lack of diversity, which is so important for students coming into a new program and in most cases a new school.
Heather: From your perspective, how big of a problem is the lack of women in core technology roles in Canada?
Shawn: It’s a big problem. Overall there is a shortage of great development talent in the Canadian market. We are consistently looking for talented software designers and developers, and so are most of the technology companies we talk to in Toronto. The shortfall stems in part from the male dominance in the technology sector. There is a huge amount of potential female technology talent that is streaming into other industries. It may also be cyclical – as the lack of females in technology dissuades other females from entering the tech job market. In order for Toronto and the rest of the country to continue growth in technology we need to bridge the gap of the number of women technologists in the field.