Veronica Munro, Daryl Antony, Brenton Cleeland
DjangoGirls is a one day introductory programming workshop for women. Its purpose is to make programming more approachable to get more women into the world of technology. The global nonprofit has created and open sourced the materials for any local leader to start a local chapter. Common Code has launched and sponsors the Melbourne chapter of DjangoGirls and have helped the Brisbane local leader get started. We've hosted and will continue to host DjangoGirls once a quarter: Dec 2016, Apr 2017, Aug 2017, Nov 2017. We've had 70 women go through the program thus far, engaged more than 20 mentors, and are looking at getting another 120+ women through the workshop in 2017 as the program continues to grow. The age ranges so far have stretched from 15-56, with the majority of interest coming from working women looking to upskill, understand web development, and those looking to make a career switch.
Once Common Code learned about DjangoGirls NFP, we immediately leapt at the opportunity to run it reguarly in Melbourne. Common Code supports diversity in tech and wanted to do something meaningful beyond going out of our way to hire diverse employees. We thought that DjangoGirls impact is a long-term approach to bringing in more women into tech. We believe we are the right people to bring it to Melbourne as we are Django development house meaning we could provide plenty of mentors, we have the space to host the event, and we could also provide an ongoing pathway for those that wanted to continue down the road to employment. We wanted to ensure it was a safe space for learning as there is no prerequisitses to join and to ensure everyone felt welcomed. We grouped participants based on their prior knowledge of programming so they would not feel intimidated by their neighbor, encouraged participants to help each other solve their problems, and brought in speakers with a range of experience in IT.
There was no resistance in becoming to the local leader for DjangoGirls. All our employees were very excited to get to contribute to such an initative, it made them proud to work here, and they have been able to honen in on their teaching skills.
We followed up with participants through Slack and email, providing more learning opportunities and making them aware of other programs/workshops/scholarships for women in tech. We've had some participants that want to pursue a career as a developer and have attended our monthly Django developer meetup here at Common Code. We've changed the formatting of our Django developer meetup so it is also a learning environment for more beginners, targeted at DjangoGirls participants.
-Fiona Deniz, Marketing strategist at Common Code; mobile: 0401774061; email@example.com; Fiona Deniz attended DjangoGirls as a participant in April 2017 to better understand how web development works. She started at Common Code at about the same time and it has given her an appreciation of technology, and has encouraged her to continue her efforts in programming.
-Thaissa Tanka, Community Manager at BMW Dentsu; mobile: 0450 668 387; firstname.lastname@example.org; Thaissa attended DjangoGirls in April 2017 as a participant to learn about backend development as she works at a creative agency and has seen the power of a good backend foundation. She's always trying new things to see what inspires her and since attending, Thaissa has been attending the Melbourne Django developer meetup to keep learning more about development.
Common Code has benefitted from hosting DjangoGirls in numerous ways:
- employee engagement
- increase gender diversity in our workforce
- makes us more attractive to new talent
- Clients see we actually suppot gender diversity instead of paying lip service to it
We are still in the process of figuring out how we continue to engage and move the DjangoGirls community forward and continue to support them in a more meaningful way. However, from our post-workshop survey, it appears that some of the instanteaneous benefits are:
- Increased self-esteem
- women prove to themselves & daughters that they can learn something new
- they realise that you don't have to fit the stereotype of a 'developer' ie. young, white man that doesn't like people
- motivation to explore other career options
- Mothers that are looking to go back to work in the next year are encouraged that they can change career paths
- Decreased fear about technology and the future
I think longer term and with increased community support the benefits may will be:
- more women back end developers
- more women front end developers
- helping mothers return to work through Common Code + our recruitment arm, Unicorn