Monthly Archives: May 2012
This summer, Ladies Learning Code will be running two weeks of Girls Learning Code summer camp, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! To learn more about Girls Learning Code, click here. (And to watch a cute video featuring some of the “future web makers” who joined us for Girls Learning Code in March, click here.)
We’re a friendly bunch of (Toronto) folks, open-source-oriented, environmentally-conscious, and volunteer-supported. We work to keep e-waste (computers and related gear) out of landfill, putting it into the hands of those who can (re)use it.
Planet Geek is awesome – they take donations of computers and other gear, refurbish them, and then loan or donate them to people and organizations in need. Jon and Terry, who run Planet Geek, and a bunch of volunteers even made sure the computers we used for Girls Learning Code had all the software we needed, and even set the machines up and took them down! It was so awesome – they were an indispensable partner in making our March Break camp a success.
The amazing thing? Planet Geek has agreed to help us once again with our camps this summer. We couldn’t be more grateful!
Here’s the thing – Planet Geek provides computers to lots of non-profits, charities and individuals in need. The computers we used for March Break have gone to a group who needed them (permanently), and so we need to find more old computers that can be refurbished! Planet Geek has already collected 12 laptops for us to use for our two weeks of summer camp, so we need to find just eight more laptops. We’re hoping you can help us!
Do you have a laptop that you no longer use? If it’s old, that’s okay! Planet Geek will fix it up. The minimum requirements are as follows:
- Laptops only (though we’re sure Planet Geek will take most any donations!)
- Speed: 1.6GHz or better
- Please ensure you have the correct (and functioning) pwoer adapter when possible!
- Both Macs and PCs are cool with us!
- Oh, and if it’s missing something like a hard drive, that’s okay, too! Planet Geek will use the parts to fix another computer – everything helps!
Do you have a laptop that you can donate to Planet Geek for use at Girls Learning Code? Please contact us! We’ll arrange a time to pick it up, at your convenience.
UPDATE: Thanks to the people who have donated laptops to Planet Geek! We only need 3 more.
Learn more about these awesome people who have donated laptops to Planet Geek for Girls Learning Code below:
Name: Nathan Miller
City: Portland, OR
Company: SellerEngine Software
Website: wry.23q.org (not really there yet. soon!)
Why you’re helping Girls Learning Code:
I had a very lucky start in the computer industry. Both my parents got involved in programming in the 70s. I got my first computer at the age of eight. My father helped me learn BASIC on it, and assembly not long after, but computers were just sort of fun for him. For my mother they became a life-long passion and career. When, much later, I followed in her footsteps, I was a bit unsettled to find myself in a field totally dominated by men. I adjusted, but it’s always seemed sad to me. Lately I’ve begun to understand that it’s worse than sad: it’s wrong, and it needs to change. We, computer people, are building the future right now. We, humanity, need everyone to be represented and engaged in that work. We can’t reasonably expect an unbalanced subset of us to create a future that works for all of us.
The Rails community was a huge factor for the start of my coding journey. Kids are our future and any program that sets out to encourage more girls (or boys) to code is nothing but positive. Kids learning & understanding code will be in the driver seat of the future!
Programming literacy could be one of the most important skills of the future and I want to make sure no eager mind is be held back.
I’m donating my old laptop to Ladies Learning Code because I think they do a great job of fostering a supportive environment for women (and men!) to learn practical, non-specialist programming skills. I work in not-for-profit marketing so I’ve learned basic coding out of necessity. Recently at work I built a WordPress site with a theme I purchased and some custom CSS, which probably saved my organization a few thousand dollars in developer fees and six months of meetings. Empowering women (and men!) to take on their own coding projects is good for everyone.
Technology has such a fantastic potential for change. In our industry you can actually create something with as little as a few keystrokes. It’s such an amazing feeling that every young mind should be exposed to. Who knows what their imagination could lead them to create if only they had the opportunity?
Our WordPress workshop with Wes Bos is back by popular demand this Saturday. We’re so thrilled to have Wes return as our lead instructor and welcome all our mentors – some returning, but many new to the Ladies Learning Code Community. Thank you for spending part of your long weekend with us, we couldn’t do it without you!
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.”
Chris Tindal (@christindal | http://www.christindal.ca/)
Postmedia Network Inc. – I’m Director of Project Development for a startup-style business division, working within Postmedia to experiment with new kinds of journalism.
What are you passionate about? “Democracy. Music. Firefly.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “LLC is an exciting and important initiative. I believe coding is the new literacy, so it’s important that everyone has equal access.”
Darren Puscas (@darrenpuscas | http://www.reworkit.net)
reWORKit.net – Freelance web communications for unions and social justice organizations. Includes design, development, content strategy, and implementation.
What are you passionate about? “Social change, over-analyzing the news, building web communications for people, baseball.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I was asked last week to get involved and have only just now heard of LLC, but I think it’s a fantastic idea and sounds like a great organization!”
Shelley Williams (@flaskalicious)
Jr Graphic Designer at 12thirteen Design
What are you passionate about? “Attaining the exact balance between form and function, Canadian music, and trashy British television.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “To get involved with the community, and contribute with the skills I have.”
What are you passionate about? “Making enterprise software usable and enjoyable. When I’m not in front of a monitor, I’m finding a way to get on a bike.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Women are going to look at problems differently than men will, and come up with different solutions. As an industry we need more well trained women writing code.”
What are you passionate about? “Web development and badminton.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I’m enthusiastic about helping LLC learners who are eager to code.”
What are you passionate about? “Great design in any shape or form, using technology and design to enrich a person’s experience, collaboration and learning in technology and creativity in all forms. I’m also passionate about travelling, good food, and my relationship with others, especially my family and friends.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I stumbled upon Ladies Learning Code and thought it was such a great idea, I bookmarked it. Shortly after I read some articles about the shortage of females in technology programs and positions and I thought that was unfortunate. I remember being one of a handful of women in my Computer Science program but I thought things had progressed since. That’s when I knew I had to get involved with LLC. I also like that at it’s core, it’s about people in the industry (male or female) helping women who are willing to learn and have a craving for it.”
What are you passionate about? “New and innovative way to teach people coding.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I began learning code this past December and know how tough it can be at first. Since then, I’ve learnt various languages and currently am currently building on WordPress for my first web dev clients.”
What are you passionate about? “User experience, web performance and technology. I believe a memorable user experience works hand in hand with highly optimized websites. No one likes to wait.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Having more women within our industry will provide a fresh perspective as both genders approach and solve problems differently. LLC looks like a great opportunity where I can share my knowledge while helping promote greater diversity within the industry.”
Eleanor Batchelder (@twelea)
Retired – Volunteer Webmaster at http://olderwomensnetwork.org
What are you passionate about? “Income inequality.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Curiosity. Also, my son is part of a similar project in Boston.”
Greg Sullivan (http://toronto.justshows.com/)
Principal at Swivel Base
What are you passionate about? “Web design and development, one-page recipes and productivity books I don’t have time to read.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Women are underrepresented in the development community, and events like these help to demystify a field that should be accessible to everyone.”
What are you passionate about? “Web Design.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I enjoy working with WordPress and I am looking forward to helping others learn to enjoy it too.”
What are you passionate about? “Empowering small businesses.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I was helped a whole lot along my journey; it would be extremely selfish not to pay it forward.”
Sylvia Prowse (@dProwseSM | http://peoplewisewebsolutions.com/)
People Wise Web Solutions – I design and develop websites for small business that are searchable, usable and accessible. That helps businesses to be found more easily on the web, when their future clients are searching for someone to help them. A website is your best business card – unless your website is hard to use.
What are you passionate about? “I’m passionate about creating web sites that meet or exceed International Web Standards, which allow all people, regardless of capabilities or limitations, to access the web, and helping business owners get their message online effectively. I’m also passionate about learning, travelling and nature.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I love learning and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping others learn too. As well, it’s a great opportunity to give back to the community.”
Danielle Sanford (@d_sanford | http://www.daniellesanford.com/)
Client Success Manager at gShift Labs – Deliver managed services for SEO software clients to enhance their web presence, including technical onsite optimization and social media management (ie. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc)
What are you passionate about? “Turning good websites into great websites.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “The web-dev world tends to be very male-dominated. A chance to meet like-minded ladies with similar interests as my own seemed like a great opportunity.”
What are you passionate about? “Technology serving society.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Helping people learn technology.”
What are you passionate about? “Apps.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Like code. Love ladies.”
Yang Yu (@Mryangyu)
Product development and business development at wishhaha inc.
What are you passionate about? “I’m passionate about creating value in society through innovative and user friendly social technologies.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Women are really great coders and most just dont realize it. To be part of this movement and add value back to the community is an opportunity I can’t miss, plus sharing what I have learned through my journey in this space to better others is just an awesome thing.”
What are you passionate about? “Design and intertwining it with code.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “LLC is such a great way to encourage young and old people that digital media arts is so much fun and that anyone can be involved in the learning process. It’s awesome!”
Jonathan Levstein (@jlevstein)
Front End Web Developer at BNOTIONS
What are you passionate about? “Life.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “More developers means that the web will grow faster and into a better experience for everyone.”
What are you passionate about? “As a third year New Media student I’ve found my passion in user experience design and social interaction online. While some fantastic technologies currently exist I’m interested in exploring technology that truly utilizes the fact that we are humans and have a full body to interact with the world around us. Making things easy to use and human is what I strive to do!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I know Carly (LLC’s new intern) from the New Media program at Ryerson and when she approached me to help mentor this workshop I jumped at the chance to get involved. After reading Program Or Be Programmed by Douglas Rushkoff it really hit me how little I knew about computers before university and just how important it is that the younger generations understand how the technology they are consumed with works.”
What are you passionate about? “UX and webframeworks.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “The energy and aura of learning environments are great for everyone involved. Volunteering and the act of attempting to explain something with clarity is a reward in and of itself, makes me think of “talking to the rubber duck”. Getting in touch with the co-founder Laura and other mentors are side motives too.”
What are you passionate about? “Helping people learn new tech and web skills.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Because I want to share my knowledge & skills.”
Nadine Lessio (http://nadinelessio.com/)
Freelancer Designing websites for mostly independent creatives
What are you passionate about? “Cycling and traveling.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Its fun, you meet a lot of interesting people, and its nice to give back to the tech community.”
Norman Valdez (@nmwarrior | http://www.newmediawarrior.net/)
Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) – provides planning, management, execution and coordination for all CERIC’s web and social media assets
What are you passionate about? “New media, technology, politics, culture, social media, and science.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I think the intention to have a way to bring new media literacy into the professional community is great and I want become part of it.”
Please join us in giving these mentors a big round of applause!
For more info about Ladies Learning Code, follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook Page. If you’d like to join our email list, click here or to volunteer as a Mentor, join our developer email list
For those of you who have registered for the May 19th “Intro to WordPress” workshop with Wes Bos, there’s a few things we need you to do before you arrive that morning.
There are a few things to install and download. The workshop will be way, way better if everyone completes the required installations in advance. Installing stuff is boring, and we’d rather spend more time learning and hacking! You’ll find the instructions for doing so below.
Here’s what we suggest:
See if you can figure out the instructions below on your own. If you run into any problems at all, please arrive at the workshop on Saturday at LEAST half an hour in advance. If you arrive by 9:30 am, we’ll have time to get everything installed before we start at 10 am. I’m going to say it one more time…if you don’t complete the install before Saturday, please arrive by 9:30 am at the latest so that we’ll have time to get you set up.
Alright – here are the instructions! Good luck!
*Warning: this might seem complex, but don’t worry – at our workshop, this will all make sense! Promise! It’s just a big yawnfest to have to sit there and wait for everyone if we do this at the workshop, and we want to get our hands dirty with code as quickly as possible!
1. Install WAMP/MAMP on your computer:
1. Go to http://www.wampserver.com/en/download.php
2. Click the “DOWNLOAD WampServer 2.2a (32 bits)” link. It’s a large download, so it will take some time!
3. Save it to your desktop
4. Follow this lovely video that our instructor Wes Bos put together: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw5Wgglsass
5. If you get confused, lost or overwhelmed, don’t worry! Just come to the Install Party on Jan. 12th and we’ll get you all sorted out!
1. Go to http://www.mamp.info/en/index.html
2. Under MAMP: One-click-solution for setting up your personal webserver, click the “DOWNLOAD NOW” button and save it to your desktop. It’s a large download, so it will take some time!
3. Follow this lovely video by someone who has a somewhat monotone voice, but gives a great tutorial! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjNKHGFgAXU
4. If you get confused, lost or overwhelmed, don’t worry! Just come to the Install Party on Jan. 12th and we’ll get you all sorted out!
2. Download WordPress
Both Mac and Windows users:
1. Click the button “Download WordPress 3.3.1″ on http://wordpress.org/download/
2. Save it to your desktop!
3. Optional Items
You can download our preferred browser Google Chrome (instead of using Internet Explorer/Safari) from: http://www.google.com/chrome
You can download a programmer-friendly text editor like NotePad++ (for Windows) or Textmate (for Mac) – but if you don’t do this, don’t worry about it! Default programs Notepad and Text Edit will do!
That’s the end of the instructions!
Dealing with a 403 error: did you get a 403 error? A few people have. Thanks to @vandamar for putting together this document on debugging 403 Forbidden on Windows Vista. Let her (and us) know if it helps!
Did you run into trouble?
If you ran into trouble with those instructions, we look forward to seeing you bright and early on Saturday morning! Please be sure to arrive by 9:30 am at the latest.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?
We’re looking forward to seeing you on May 19th! Get ready for what we’re sure will be an awesome workshop.
We are very excited to welcome our new intern Carly Chalmers to the team. Carly will be volunteering with Ladies Learning Code for the summer to help us continue to provide great learning experiences to our enthusiastic community. She is a recent graduate of Ryerson University’s Image Arts – New Media program. She is most interested in community, creativity, collaboration, education, and design.
Code and Community by Carly Chalmers
Did you know the world’s first computer programmer was a woman? It’s true! Around 1833 Lady Augusta Ada Lovelace was the first to have created a computer program on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine (essentially the first computer).
If she paved the way, how come nearly 200 years later women only account for 20% of the workforce in high-tech, science, engineering, and math sectors? Further, only 6 of the top 100 tech companies have women CEOs, and between 1992 and 2007 numbers of female graduates in mathematics, computer, and information sciences dropped from 35 percent to 30 percent of total graduates. Yikes.
It’s become clear digital technology is no longer in a state of emergence, it’s here to stay. Computer literacy is becoming as important as reading English and people are slowly starting to come to this realization (Codeacademy’s Code Year, anyone?). Knowing how to code – even at a basic level – is a skill that is extremely valuable in the workplace. Groups such as Ladies Learning Code are helping to increase digital literacy; program or be programmed, as they say.
Further, tech companies are often seen as a “boy’s club” and it seems that girls and women are responding positively to places where they can learn in a non-intimidating environment. Groups like Ladies Learning Code have done an excellent job creating this environment. These groups are working to inspire confidence, increase skills, and empower females because, I have to admit, learning to code is a bit scary. I think these groups are seeing success because learning to code is learning a whole new language and that is no small feat. But if you can do it surrounded by other people with the same skillset (possibly none), who want to learn the same things, then you’ve established a great community. Groups like Ladies Learning Code are creating a community while teaching skills that everyone is beginning to see are much-needed. Learning to program used to be considered a bit geeky; you might be imagining the dark bedroom with closed curtains while sat in front of the glow of the computer screen. Groups like Ladies Learning Code are turning that image around and dispelling the myth of who coders really are…everyone! Slowly but surely, these groups may even help to turn the tech industry around.
I will admit, when I first learned to code I was extremely hesitant. I rolled my eyes when people told me it was the future. I was lucky enough to start learning code when studying at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts in the New Media program and upon graduation I can see just how important it is; now, I want to learn more! Every business/ person/ organization wants a website (am I the only one who feels a bit weird when a business doesn’t have a website?), or an app, or some sort of interactive content. What is the best way to do this? To code! From scratch! Sure, you can use templates, or visual editors, but if you can’t understand the code, you can’t write the code. Writing the first line is always daunting, but groups like Ladies Learning Code are here to help.
I think Lady Augusta Ada Lovelace would be proud.
We’re super excited to have Carly on the team with us this summer. Follow her on Twitter here, and next time you see her at one of our workshops, be sure to say hello!
One of my family’s traditions is writing our New Year’s resolutions together (since we’re a family of procrastinators it usually happens around January 4th, but it’s the thought that counts). I graduated from the University of Toronto last May, making 2012 the first calendar year I both started and (hopefully) will end as a full-time freelancer. When it came to resolution time in January, I was feeling especially grateful to everyone that had paved the way for me into the world of web design and development. I’m fortunate to have grown up with highly technical, entrepreneurial and supportive parents, and to have had two programmer friends in high school that encouraged me to drop WYSIWYG editing software and try out HTML and CSS instead. After a few years of building websites for fun, the final piece of the puzzle was a friend telling her website-seeking aunt that I was a web designer; before I knew it, she was asking about my hourly rates, and I suddenly had a career path. Hence, my resolution #7 for 2012: “give back to the web community.”
I had already attended a Ladies Learning Code workshop on Ruby at that point. Being in the front-end camp, a day spent learning about a back-end language sounded pretty cool. I’m self-taught, so I was unsure whether I’d enjoy a classroom-esque setting, but of course my concern was unjustified. I had a ton of fun, in no small part thanks to my table’s mentors throwing new problems at me to solve whenever I got ahead of the lead instructor. They did this with a kind of gleeful enthusiasm that I now know well from my own experiences mentoring at LLC workshops… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
With my new resolution in mind, I signed up for the LLC developer mailing list. Three days later (great timing!), I got a call for mentors for the Intro to WordPress workshop. I immediately volunteered, but in the back of my mind I was a little worried that I wouldn’t know enough to help the learners. Even though the majority of sites I’ve built in the past 3 years have been WordPress-based, I evidently had a bit of an inferiority complex about being self-taught.
For the second time, my apprehensions turned out to be groundless. My table of learners were quick to jump ahead of the slides, and as I challenged them with extracurricular coding problems, I began to understand the enthusiasm of my Ruby mentors. After years of coding by myself, having a whole table of people just as thrilled to be learning a new coding language and solving intricate problems as I am, was – and still is – a total rush. It was extra exciting that they were all female, since most of the technically inclined people I know are male. I realize that my experiences growing up were an exception to the rule, and the more I hear about issues around women in tech – getting them involved in the first place, and then supporting them once they’re there – the more I’m stoked to be a part of an organization that’s changing that. Initiatives like LLC affirm that it’s never too late to get into a technical mindset, and that a massive part of the tech community is supportive of changing the status quo.
I find it hard to believe that my first workshop as a mentor was just three months ago. Since then, I’ve mentored at a full-day workshop on HTML & CSS, and all four evening workshops on custom fields and custom post types in WordPress. My absolute favourite thing is the “aha!” moment, in part because I know how incredible it feels when something finally clicks, and in part because I helped make this particular one happen. I’ve had learners go from hating HTML, thanks to mandatory university courses, to building their own site in a day, and even asking for recommendations for resources to learn more on their own time. I’ve seen self-professed non-technical people almost give up and shut their laptops, and then in a final burst of effort push onwards and completely surprise themselves by sticking with it till the end of the day – and not just muddling through, but actually getting it.
As a volunteer with Ladies Learning Code, I’ve always felt super appreciated, and I have to stop myself from rebutting the thanks every time. Not out of humility, but because I feel like I owe LLC much more than a couple hours of volunteering could pay back. First and foremost, every workshop I’ve mentored at has helped dispel more of my insecurities around being self-taught. Countless job postings seem to require computer science degrees just to edit some HTML, and while I’m taking a few of Ryerson’s Computer & Information Technology courses to fill in the gaps, I had started to wonder whether I would have to commit to a second full degree. Mentoring has also fostered a growing love of teaching code to others; most of my client projects involve basic training, so they can edit their site without having to call on me, but that doesn’t really compare to a full-day workshop. On a social level, having a growing group of developers to bounce ideas off of (and drink beer with) is invaluable; coding is mostly a solitary activity for me, but not by choice! Sharing stories and encouraging each other is possible online, but it’s much better in person. And finally, a good chunk of my current web projects are related, either directly or indirectly, to my volunteering with LLC. I’m working on a team with a fellow developer, with clients referred to me by fully-booked devs , with learners I got to know through a workshop or two, and on projects posted on LLC’s job board . Obviously the confidence-building and support-network-expanding aspects of being a mentor are huge, and would be more than enough to keep me coming back again and again, but all of that plus helping me pay rent? So awesome.
Linn is a freelance web designer and developer with a degree in technical theatre. She gets disproportionately excited about a lot of things, including IKEA furniture, to-do lists and bacon-related cooking.
From very early on, Ladies Learning Code has received an unbelievable amount of support from Toronto’s tech community – and we’re so grateful for it. May is no exception! We’re proud to announce that Polar Mobile is sponsoring our Mother-Daughter Hack Day on Saturday, May 12th. To find out more about Polar Mobile, I interviewed Marlon Rodrigues (LinkedIn, Twitter), Polar Mobile’s Director of Marketing, to ask him a few questions about who he is, what Polar Mobile does, and how Marlon views Ladies Learning Code and the broader issue of women in technology.
1. Who are you?
Marlon Rodrigues. I’m an early member of the Polar Mobile team, and currently the Director of Marketing. I’ve been in this role since the beginning of the year.
2. What is Polar Mobile? What’s your role there? How long have you been in that role?
Polar Mobile supplies the media industry with the technology to syndicate their content to all connected devices through native and web applications in a fully managed and hosted model. Our four hundred customers include Sports Illustrated, Wired UK and The Globe and Mail.
3. Polar Mobile was founded in 2007. In your opinion, what are the most significant changes the technology industry has seen between 2007 and today?
The biggest problem is the shortage of top-tier talent that has both the hard technical skills and business understanding to work in a fast-changing technology business. That means that not every worthy project gets the sort of worthy talent required to make it a success. Almost all of our peers are dealing with similar challenges to their businesses.
The biggest problem is the shortage of top-tier talent that has both the hard technical skills and business understanding to work in a fast-changing technology business.Marlon Rodrigues
4. How do you and/or Polar Mobile feel about the lack of women in the technology industry?
Polar has made a concerted effort to add more female team members across our business. Having a more diverse team creates a more dynamic, fun and knowledgeable work environment. Besides, women rule the internet.
5. What are things we can do to increase the number of women in technology careers? What is Polar Mobile doing?
The best way to increase the number of women in technology is to make it a priority in recruitment and hiring. There is talent out there, but sometimes it takes a concerted effort to reach particular candidates.
6. Is Polar Mobile hiring right now? What roles are you recruiting for?
Polar is always hiring. I suppose that’s the nature of technology companies these days. Our immediate hires are for more developers (client and web app) and designers (senior UX and front-end).
7. Where is Polar Mobile headed in the future?
Our goal is to serve the media industry by allowing them to connect to their audiences on all connected devices through native and web apps.
8. Why did Polar Mobile decide to sponsor a Ladies Learning Code workshop?
We like to contribute to initiatives that strengthen the community we are in, and this is definitely fits the bill!
We have female developers on our team, so this is a great opportunity to contribute female mentorship to encourage more women to consider a career in technology.
Thanks to Marlon and the whole team at Polar Mobile for their support of Ladies Learning Code. You can find out more about Polar Mobile at http://polarmobile.com or on Facebook at http://facebook.com/polarmobile. You can also follow them on Twitter at @polarmobile.
We’re really looking forward to this weekend’s event, Ladies Learning Code’s Mother-Daughter Hack Days, to celebrate Mothers Day, happening this Sunday for girls and their moms and next Saturday for women and their moms. It’s our first Mother-Daughter Hack Day and it wouldn’t be possible without these wonderful mentors! There are still a few spots left so if you have been racking your brain for something special to give your mom or a nice way to celebrate with your daughter, look no further!
What are you passionate about? “Hand-writing code and convincing self-professed “non-technical” people that they can get their hands dirty with code, too.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Learning about Ruby was a blast and mentoring at January’s WordPress workshop was even more fun. I was lucky enough to have a couple fantastic friends teach me HTML and CSS back in the day – I’m so grateful that LLC exists to give me a chance to pay it forward, once again. Mentoring is always so much fun, I can’t stay away!”
Sandy Feldman (http://sandyfeldman.com/)
Self-employed – web site design and development, accessibility consulting
What are you passionate about? “Good, accessible design.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “To benefit from workshops, network, have fun!”
Web Developer at Flight Centre Inc.
What are you passionate about? “Reading, Watching great movies and coding.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I thought this would be a great way to help movtivate and mentor woman so that there will be more of us in this industry.”
What are you passionate about? “I am passionate about technology and figuring out how things work. I love learning new things and it amazes me that a simple google search can be the greatest teacher. Over the last year I’ve also mixed in crafts/fashion into my passion, and I’ve recently become a little obsessive over makeup and nail art!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Ladies Learning Code has made it so easy, and comfortable for people to learn a new skill. I think it’s an amazing opportunity to be able to help out and teach people something they never thought they’d be able to understand without years of training!”
What are you passionate about? “Design, user experience, and technology. Especially when they all work together!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “The tech industry is interesting, challenging, and a lot of fun, and it would be great to have more women involved! I think LLC is such a great initiative. I’ve attended a couple of workshops myself, and was really impressed that the learning experience was both fun and accessible.”
Harsha Mohan (@HarshaMohanTO | www.harshamohan.com)
Employed & Founder at Public Leaf – Worked on various enterprise level IT applications and currently experimenting with a mobile startup at Public Leaf
What are you passionate about? “Technology, Mobile, Community Services and a passion for teaching.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I have a passion to teach and what better way to contribute what I have learned from my personal experience and from the IT industry then teaching other people. Ladies Learning Code is a great initiative!. It fosters the development of community based learning groups, where people help people. I personally started coding when I used HTML to build IT web pages, which drove me to learn few more computer languages. I believe it is important to train and develop learning groups such as these to build opportunities for people who are willing to learn.”
What are you passionate about? “Developing and designing websites.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “It inspires me to see other ladies who also enjoy coding and designing. I see this as a great way to come together with people of similar interests to share and collaborate ideas with.”
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about getting more women in technology and engineering, but also interested in human computer interaction and user experience design.
Why did you decide to get involved with Ladies Learning Code? I think that it’s important for more women to to get into technology and engineering. As a teenager I was told that I shouldn’t go into computer science because it was all men, but being female shouldn’t be a limitation on what I can and can not become. In a graduating high school class of 80 young women, only 5 went into a technical (engineering or computer science) field. I want to see more women becoming software developers and engineers.
Freelance Front-End Web Developer – I design and build/code everything from websites, wordpress themes, facebook apps etc.
What are you passionate about? “I love all things related to design – architecture, art, industrial design, typography, and of course the digital stuff.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I heard about this organization from a former colleague and thought what a great way to get more women comfortable with the technical stuff.”
What are you passionate about? “The web and the community surrounding it, and music. . . lots of music.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I’d love to see girls and women involved in development be the norm, not the exception.”
What are you passionate about? “Discovering new, often playful, ways to use technology. Building interactive installations which allow the observer to become a part of the experience.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “In my opinion programming falls under the same skills category as driving, swimming, cooking, etc. Everyone should know at least the basics principles of programming and LLC is a great initiative in that direction.”
What are you passionate about? “Helping people feel comfortable with technology and building helpful technology.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I like to help LLC succeed with their mission and see more women enter technology related careers. I also think working with websites is a great way for stay-at-home Mom’s (or Dad’s) to find a way back into the workforce. In the future everyone will need to interact with internet technology. LLC events are a fun environment to learn to code.”
Masha Ku (@loadsofmilk)
Server side of a facebook game “Code of war” at HugeMonster Inc
What are you passionate about? “Biking, music and connecting digital to analogue.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I believe it’s a great opportunity to support and motivate more women (and not only, of course) to not be afraid of technology. Also, a great way to meet like minded people with very different backgrounds.”
What are you passionate about? “I am most passionate about creating meaning in everything that I do. Whether it be interactive design or development, I have always strived to instill meaning in my work. The best part of being in this community is being able to create and contribute to emerging digital technologies. Now, how exciting is that!?”
Jess Joyce (@jessjoyce | http://jessjoyce.com)
Web Developer/Search Engine Optimizer (also the primary SEO responsible for creating and implementing strategies to ensure clients success on the web!) at Treefrog Interactive
What are you passionate about? “The Internet & Music!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Read about this online and know this is a great initiative and am really psyched to help out!”
What are you passionate about? “I love design and working with code. I also like helping people learn something new.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I got involved with LLC because I wanted to continue my own learning. As a recent graduate of Humber’s Web Design and Development Program I feel I have something to offer people who are being introduced to the web. I especially like that LLC focuses on educating women and girls.”
Senior Software Developer at The Weather Network
What are you passionate about? “I like travelling and helping people.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I would like to give back.”
Sacha Sayan (@sachasayan | http://sachasayan.com)
Freelance Interactive Developer/Designer. I typically design and develop websites and ads for agencies, working with HTML/CSS, JS, Flash, Photoshop, and more!
What are you passionate about? “Designing great, clear user interfaces and experiences. I think we need to interact better with technology, and there’s a huge cultural shift towards that right now.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I work in an industry that despite so much effort to move in the right direction, lacks diversity. I’d like to fix that.”
Abigail Cabunoc (http://abigailcabunoc.com)
Lead Developer – WormBase.org. Back and front-end development for the web app. Work with curators on biological data presentation and analysis tools. Engage the worm research community – speak at conferences, make tutorials at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
What are you passionate about? “Using the web to move science forward.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I am a lady, and I love code. And I think more ladies would love code if they gave it a try.”
What are you passionate about? “Telling stories and writing code.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “It would be fantastic if there were more women writing code.”
Carla Alexander (@heycarlita | http://www.heycarla.com)
I’m a New Media Specialist at TVOntario. I’m currently working with a team to create an application that will let users download and watch licensed content on their TV. Once that project is done, who knows!
What are you passionate about? “I’m a video game enthusiast and hockey lover. Sadly I don’t have a clever story about how I got into games because I’ve always loved them. Since I’ve completed school (I just graduated from Sheridan’s Interactive Multimedia program) I am working on building some games of my own.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “While I was still a student I attended some of the workshops and loved them. Everyone was so friendly and supportive – from the experienced programmers to the total beginners. I wanted to give back to LLC so… here I am!”
Al Davis (www.wpteach.com)
TELUS, George Brown College, Freelance
What are you passionate about? “In no particular order: The Web, WordPress and Teaching. Combining the three of them has allowed me to realize many goals personally. Being able to share those things with others is very fulfilling for me.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I first heard about the group through one of my co-organizers of WordCamp Toronto. I do some sponsoring of a similar group in Montreal (Montreal Girl Geeks) through my day job and wanted to do something more hands on where I live!”
What are you passionate about? “Education outside the classroom.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “Learning and teaching is super fun and rewarding. Also, selfishness! I want more ladies in the industry.”
What are you passionate about? “Aside from the web, shoes and food!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I wanted to help encourage more women to become developers.”
Svetlana Kolupaeva (@skolupaeva)
Java developer / Team leader @ Exigen / “I work on a software solution for insurance companies and lead a remote development team”
What are you passionate about? “I love photography, caramels and web development.”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “You always choose to support something that is personal. Women in technology is what touches me. Furthermore, volunteering for LLC is a very rewarding experience.”
Web Developer for TorStar Digital (Toronto Star / Rogers)
What are you passionate about? “Teaching!”
Why did you get involved with Ladies Learning Code? “I have female friends who want to start programming, but lack a proper support network. I also enjoy teaching.”
Happy Mothers Day!
For more info about Ladies Learning Code, follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook Page. If you’d like to join our email list, click here or to volunteer as a Mentor, join our developer email list
Before we started, the space looked like this:
And within a couple hours, it looked like this:
What We Built
Over the course of the 7+ hour workshop, participants built three programs: first, they built a ticketing application, that would start with a certain number of tickets, ask the user how many tickets they want, keep track of how many tickets are left, show the user how many tickets they bought, and show the user how many tickets are left. For those who were interested, we also de-bugged our program by making sure that users couldn’t request more tickets than were actually available:
Next, we built a “guess my number” game to introduce the “while” loop, which people were pretty excited about:
Then, we moved on to the day’s final project: building a hangman game. By this time, it was about 4:30 pm – we’d been coding all day long (well, except for that hour in the middle of the day where we enjoyed a delicious lunch). But we made it through, and ended up with some seriously great-looking hangman games! Check out this one by MeShell Gudz:
Some of our Favourite Tweets:
— Laura Innis (@laurainnis) April 28, 2012
— Vivien Leung (@vivi0202) April 30, 2012
Mentoring #ladieslearningcode workshop was a blast! So fun to witness the pride/excitement of someone writing their first program… ever!
— diana clarke (@diana_clarke) April 30, 2012
I had the best table at #ladieslearningcode met beautiful people on the inside and the outside. <3
— Mona Shah(@mnah__) April 29, 2012
#ladieslearningcode muchos fun being noob at python! Head explosion, but s’ok, had patient, knowledgeable enthusiastic mentors. Nap time!
— Jacqueline Yip (@YakkieYip) April 28, 2012
A Milestone for Ladies Learning Code
As an organization, we hit a milestone at Saturday’s Python workshop: now, over 1000 women (and men) have participated as learners at a Ladies Learning Code workshop. It also means that a huge number of developers and people with technical skills have helped out as volunteers. The number isn’t quite 250 (because a lot of people have volunteered at multiple workshops), but it’s definitely over 100, and maybe even over 150. It’s incredible to me that there are a) so many people interested in learning with Ladies Learning Code, and b) so many people interested in giving up their time to share what they know with newbies. Thank you, everyone, for your ongoing support.
I ended the day by thanking everyone (I do that, sometimes), and letting people know about a few of our upcoming events. Here’s a list:
Thursday, May 3rd: Fundraiser and Community Night at Brant House – learn more
Sunday, May 6th: Mother-Daughter Hack Day for Girls 9-17 (and their Moms) – learn more
Saturday, May 12th: Mother-Daughter Hack Day for Women 18+ (and their Moms) – learn more
Saturday, May 19th: Intro to WordPress with Wes Bos (back by popular demand!) – tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 2nd at 7 pm
Thanks again to everyone who make Saturday’s workshop possible. We couldn’t do it without all of you!