You GO Girl! Django Girls: a Coach's Perspective
After a few months of learning and programming at home, I applied for the Django Girls Cracow 2016 workshop, this time as a coach. I wasn't sure if my IT skills would suffice, but I was sure I owed it to other women. Participation in the workshop in 2014 left me inspired and motivated, so why not doing the same for others?
I was accepted! And even more good news - I landed an IT internship afterwords with one of the sponsoring companies!
My review on the Django Girls workshop from a participant's point of view can be found here. Now it's time for a coach's perspective.
Not much has changed since the first Django Girls workshop in Cracow in 2014 in terms of the organisation. The "installation party" took place in the evening before the workshop and the whole next day was spent on programming. The tutorial was updated, but the form remained the same - a mixture of individual work following the tutorial and support from a group coach. In the middle of the day one thing was added that I particularly liked and was not present 2 years ago. It was a series of lightning talks on Django Girls organisation and their beginnings, and an introduction of sponsoring companies. Participants were very curious about real possibilities to change their career paths and to find jobs in IT, so the presentations, at least partially, answered their questions. However, I had a feeling that some of the presentations were aimed rather at attracting experienced coaches than junior programmers.
Regardless of whether you are a participant or a coach, a whole day spent on programming (or helping with programming) is a demanding experience. As a group, we took a few longer breaks, some of them compulsory, as programming tends to be very addictive. Also if needed, shorter breaks to strech legs and drink coffee were taken. A big "thank you" to the organizers for healthy nutricious meals, taking into account our diets and tastes, throughout the day!
On the positive side
The idea of teaching others motivated me to improve my programming skills. I had created a few websites before, but explaining it all to others who had just read about Python, Django, Git, HTML or CSS for the first time (and all at once) was a different story. I had to prepare for all sorts of questions and answer them without IT jargon. Fortunately, the Django Girls Tutorial and the Django Girls Coaching Manual are very supportive.
Also trying to understand errors of others and what exactly might have gone wrong (especially on Windows, as most participants used this operating system) was challenging. Most of them were rather straightforward, but I must admit I struggled with a few and had to ask someone more experienced for help. I felt fulfilled after all of my group members deployed their websites :)
Great thing about such meetings is networking! You can meet many interesting people from different industries, all motivated and full of energy and ideas. I like listening to people's stories about how they achieved their goals, what they aim to do, or how they plan to use their newly acquired IT skills. Not all of the participants planned to change their career paths and move to IT. Some were looking for a hobby, others felt that IT knowledge is crucial to understand today's world, yet others thought about starting their own businesses. Many different reasons and motives helped to create an amazing atmosphere!
I also had a chance to talk to more experienced coaches already working in IT and to sponsors. After a quick chat with the owner of Deployed.pl, I was offered my first IT internship! Yay! I will write more about it in the next post.
Check it out!
If have some Django knowledge and experience in creating your own websites, and you like working with people, I'd encourage you to apply for Django Girls coaching opportunity. You don't need to be an expert in programming or Django! Free weekend in required and a lot of positive energy and patience. This opportunity is not limited only to women.
Check out Django Girls website for the opportunities: https://djangogirls.org. You may apply to become a coach in another city or country (or continent! and if possible, some financial help is offered), so don't wait for the event taking place in your home town.
Django Girls organization has created a Coaching Manual that would help you prepare for the coaching role. The manual lists a few other useful sources:
- Hacker School User's Manual
- Rails Bridge Teacher Training
- Open Tech School Coaching Guide
- Being a Rails Girls Coach
Or you may also consider organizing your own Django Girls workshop (all the manuals can be found on the website). There are many possibilities to get involved and develop your skills.All Posts