Archive for February, 2016

what django girls is

February 24th, 2016

Given on Feb 23, 2016 at the Dutch Django Meetup in Amsterdam.

Today I want to tell you about a part of the Django community that you may not even know about.

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This is how I think most of us see the Python community. A comfortable couch. Nice people. Right? Just a nice place to be.

It's easy to make an analogy with software. Almost every developer has had the experience of working on a codebase that they inherited from someone else. The dreaded *legacy project*. And it wasn't the most fun project to work on. Spaghetti code, no tests, no documentation, really hard to make changes without breaking something.

So after working on this day in and day out after a while you start to get a little sick of it. I start thinking to myself "I've had it with this code. It expend so much energy on this and I have so little to show for it. Jeez, give me a codebase that's in good shape for a change. One that is modular, and has clean code. With good test coverage. If I had that I could *really* make it fly!"

I want to submit to you that the Python community is that nice codebase. It's when your code is in good shape and is easy to work on, that it's a great starting point to make it even better. To take the next step.

I'm sure you've heard this expression before: Came for the language, stayed for the community. People come to Python for the language, or for the libraries, or for the frameworks (like Django). Right? Just because they need to get some work done. And then they realize: hey there are conferences, there are meetups, and there are great people to hang out with. So they stay with Python not necessarily because it's the best programming language in the world, but rather because the community is a great place to be. It makes them feel at home.

So I'm saying: let's take the next step. Let's make it even more welcoming, even more inclusive!

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Let me tell you about what we do. Since you're programmers I will explain this as a program. Django Girls is a one day programming workshop for women. Our mission is to bring in women who are new to IT and get them hooked on programming. Now the workshop is the box you see in the middle.

Then as input we take non-programmers. Most people who attend Django Girls have never written a program before. During the workshop they build a blog, from scratch. So they come in, never written a program before, and they go home, they've built a blog. Amazing, right? They do this following a tutorial which is very beginner friendly, so it explains everything they need to know.

Also as input we take developers. These are the programming coaches. They don't have to be professional developers, just have enough experience with programming to help someone else through the tutorial.

As output, we get programmers. They are beginners, of course, but they are programmers. We've given them the first step on a path that could potentially lead them to this room. Some percentage of Django Girls participants land junior developer jobs a few months down the road. But not everyone wants to be a developer, and that's fine. Some people are academics, and they want to learn how to automate parts of their work. Some work in marketing, and work with developers and want to understand what their colleagues do. And some people are just curious about programming and want to try it. We encourage all different demographics.

And also output, we get the same developers, and you may think all they did was volunteer a day of their time and that's it. But they've just spent a whole day coaching people in programming. If you're already a mentor to people at your job, that's excellent! But if you're not, coach at Django Girls for a day and you get really good practice that will come in very useful in your career, believe me.

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So Django Girls is coming to Den Haag Saturday next week. We're going to be on the top floor of this office building. If you're familiar with Den Haag it's right next to the station Hollands Spoor.

We received applications to participate from more than 100 women. We're also lucky enough to have found more than 30 coaches to help us.

Unfortunately we only have space to host 60 participants, so we had to turn down a lot of people.

But the level of interest has been really impressive. We have people coming from cities all over the country, like Groningen and Leuwwarden, Nijmegen and Deventer. We have people coming from Belgium, where Django Girls hasn't taken root yet.

And then there's the 5 of us, the organizers. A few of us went to a Django Girls event as coaches and we loved it. We decided we wanted to organize one of these ourselves, in our city. Now we're just a bunch of software developers, we've never organized an event like this before. But we somehow pulled it off.

If we can do it, you can do it. Think about it.

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Now, Django Girls has been organized before in the Netherlands. There is a group of organizers in Groningen who are the pioneers in our country - and they're planning another even this year. It's also been organized in Amsterdam before. And then there's our event, which is the upcoming one.

But like I said there is a lot of interest from people out there for a workshop like this. I would love to see more cities on this list in the future. So you could organize one. And you can be a coach! Most organizers have trouble finding enough coaches, and if they had more coaches they could accept more participants!

Thank you!

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You can find the slides on Slideshare.

why you should coach at django girls

February 22nd, 2016

Given on Dec 10, 2015 at PyLadies Amsterdam.

Dear PyLadies,

My name is Martin and I'm one of the organizers of Django Girls The Hague. Which will take place next year in the beginning of March.

Django Girls is a non-profit organization that aims to give women a really positive first experience with programming. I'm not going to explain why we think this is important, because I think if you're a member of PyLadies you already know that.

I will explain how we do it. We invite a room full of women to participate. We seat a group of 3 women around a table. And we give them a programming coach. What they will be doing is building a web application from scratch. Using a tutorial special made for Django Girls. Now, the programming coach is there to help them, to explain things, and to give moral support.

Now, the coaches are integral to the event. We as organizers can provide a nice room in a nice location, a good tutorial, and food etc, but the coach is the human factor.

We are currently trying to find these coaches. That's why I'm here today. I would really like to encourage you to sign up to be a coach.

I've been a coach at two Django Girls events in the past. And in fact tomorrow morning I'm flying to Italy to be a coach at Django Girls in Rome on Saturday. It's a really fun thing to do.

The people who come to Django Girls aren't the kind of people who say alright, so what is this programming thing all about? If it doesn't take more than 5 minutes I'm willing to give it a try and then I'll be on my way. These are people who decide to spend 8-9 hours learning something new, that they've never done before. I mean can you imagine? It takes little courage to do that. So they're really interested and motivated to learn programming. And as a coach you see programming happen for the first time, through their eyes. It's really exciting. It's a really fun way to spend a day.

In terms of what it takes to be a coach. I want to make this very clear: You don't have to an expert on Python or Django. I would recommend that you work through the tutorial that we use yourself. Ask yourself if you understand everything. Ask yourself if you think you can help someone complete it. If so then you can be a coach. Ultimately if you encounter a problem at the workshop we will have some more experienced coaches to help you.

So if you think this sounds awesome and you want to help us make this possible then sign up to be a coach. You can sign up on our website, just google for Django Girls and find our chapter for The Hague, Den Haag. We also have a twitter feed where you can follow our updates.

We would love to have you there! Thank you very much!!