Girl Develop It Launches Charlotte Chapter

My hope is you’ll help me get fired from a job I want. Let me explain. At BlendConf 2013 Ashe Dryden gave a talk on the challenges of entering the technology field. Those challenges affect disproportionately any one that is not a white, straight, single male. She ended on a list of action items. One was to increase education and access. Among the organizations she mentioned was Girl Develop It that just started a chapter in Charlotte.

My attendance of the launch event was pure coincidence. At a networking event one of the founders asked me to come. The response to Girl Develop It Charlotte's formation has been great. It is one the largest technical group meetups in Charlotte with over a 120 members! If you want to stay abreast of their events join GDI Charlotte's meetup group; it is free and easy. Or follow GDICharlotte on twitter.

But I’m ahead of myself. What is Girl Develop It? It is an organization to provide affordable classes to women who want to learn software development. They provide both through mentorship and hands on instruction.

At the launch event there was great food, cookies (always a plus!), and a photo booth. Founders Crystal and Steph explained how the group formed out of Charlotte’s User Experience meet up. Their goal is to offer classes that focus on programming skills and knowledge, starting off with the basics.

Classes will cost around $10/hr. That’s an incredible value for in person training. A typical class will run 2 hours on a weeknight for 4 weeks so the total cost would be $80. They recognize women often have the role of caregiver so they are working to provide child care during sessions. Besides core classes there will be workshops of other technical topics to meet the skill levels of the group. If you want to teach, teachers get 50% of fees. For instance, a 4 hour workshop with 10 people would pay $200.

One of the points she hit was how important they feel it is that women teach women.

Rachel closed the night talking about her own experiences as a developer. The empowerment of that quote is two-fold. One to prove that women are in the field, but two as an avenue for women in the field to gain experience public speaking. From this mutually enriching environment they hope to create mentoring and networking among members.

Back to my opening statement. I’d love to teach a class I’m calling Your Friend Command Line. It could give a comfortable and powerful understanding of command line so students have a choice in their workflow. I believe I can make the topic fun and less intimidating. Right now I'm figuring out a curriculum and how long the class might be. Yet, I also understand that I should not be the one to teach it. The best outcome might be I teach it once, you encourage a woman to join & she shares the joy.

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