Lessons Learned from Ladies Learning Code with Pearl Chen, Heather Payne
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Lessons Learned from Ladies Learning Code with Pearl Chen, Heather Payne

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In 2012, interest in learning how to code skyrocketed. But even before the boom, Ladies Learning Code was formed by a group of women in Toronto to offer beginner-friendly computer programming and ...

In 2012, interest in learning how to code skyrocketed. But even before the boom, Ladies Learning Code was formed by a group of women in Toronto to offer beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills to an underrepresented demographic in technology — women. Since 2011, Ladies Learning Code, a not-for-profit organization, has introduced over 3000 women (and men) technical skills that range from HTML, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, mobile web development, Photoshop, and more, in three cities across Canada.

In this session, Heather Payne (founder) and Pearl Chen (first-ever lead instructor) will come together to discuss insights they have learned from Ladies Learning Code over the past year. Rather than “just another women in tech talk”, learn how you can use what we’ve learned to bring more diversity to your own company, organization or user group.

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  • Thanks for comingFormat for today: interview-style conversation, lots of time for audience questions and discussion at the end
  • Currently a front end web developerTeach on the sideWhen I first met Heather I was the Tech Manager at the CFC Media Lab
  • Founder of Ladies Learning Code, Girls Learning Code and HackerYouRecently wrapped up a contract with the Mozilla Foundation where my focus was on how we can teach kids to codeI have a business degree from Ivey at the University of Western Ontario, and I don’t think I had even seen a line of code until 2009. I started learning on my own around that time when I wanted to build a website for myself, and I got hooked.
  • To Heather:What is Ladies Learning Code?Who runs it?Who is the target audience?What’s the impact?
  • To Pearl:How did you get involved in Ladies Learning Code?What were your first impressions of the group?What has your experience been as a technical woman working in this industry?Why are you a programmer? What drew you to this field?
  • To Heather:I’ve been programming for a long time, but Heather, you got into it later in life. After your first experience with coding, what did you do next?What made you want to attend that Python workshop? Especially if you didn’t have much exposure to programming previously?Why is learning how to program important to you? Why is it important to the women who attend LLC workshops? Is it different than your own goals? Or the goals of other men in the tech industry?
  • To Heather: Let’s talk about Girls Learning Code. When did you decide to start Girls Learning Code? Why is it important to get girls started young?You’ve also spent time teaching girls from some of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. What was that like?
  • To Pearl: Speaking of kids, you recently taught a 9-week after school programming workshop. Tell me about that.Did you get any insights into gender differences with that program?Do you think girls or women learn differently than boys or men?
  • To Heather: Despite the success of initiatives like Ladies Learning Code, the tech industry remains unbalanced. Why do you think that is?- It’s a hard field to break into
  • Let’s both answer this one: What key piece of advice would you give to girls or women who wants to enter the tech industry?
  • Let’s both answer this one: What key advice would you give to an organization that wants to hire more women and generate diversity in their workplace or community?Blog post by Christina Cordova (link: http://cristinajcordova.com/post/45132333029/how-to-hire-more-women-at-your-startup)Start early: The fewer women you have early on, the harder it will be to recruit them laterMake your workplace one that women will enjoy being inMake sure job descriptions are welcoming to diverse groupsCulture – beyond free beer and chips (also applies to Hackathons)Have women interview womenHire well (have a 0 tolerance policy for people who negatively impact culture)Be conscious of gender differencesGo find them (often, you have to reach out to women to be speakers, to run events, to ask them to apply for a job, etc.)Our additional points:Encourage female developers on your team to speak at conferences, run meetups, etc.Support female developers on your team who want to be role models (by blogging, speaking, mentoring, etc.)For women: BE MENTORS. Make sure that your event website or company website showcases the diversity that you’re aiming forMake the onboarding experience welcoming (not just for companies, for everyone)Start a group in your own company (or bring in Ladies Learning Code to run a workshop)Eliminate bias by removing names/gender from resumes, speaker applications – noting that women will talk about their accomplishments differently. Women: have other people review your resume to make sure you’re highlighting your accomplishments properly

 Lessons Learned from Ladies Learning Code with Pearl Chen, Heather Payne Lessons Learned from Ladies Learning Code with Pearl Chen, Heather Payne Presentation Transcript

  • lessonslearnedfrom
  • Pearl Chen@pearlchen
  • Heather Payne@heatherpayne
  • Thank you!@pearlchen @heatherpayneladieslearningcode.com