The Columbus Dispatch published an article about women learning to code in central Ohio, and Girl Develop It Columbus made an appearance.
It’s been an interesting journey so far for Girl Develop It Columbus. Almost two years ago, I first thought about reviving an old idea I had in college about creating a supportive educational program for women who wanted to learn about web development. I then started talking about it to people in the community, both online and off - one of whom was Sara Chipps of Girl Develop It. At that time, the only GDI classes were happening in NY and in Sydney, Australia, and even those were only a few months old. Sara was more than happy to provide advice and encouragement for me creating my own program but also said they would be more than willing to have me do it under the GDI banner. I figured, why not, and decided to create GDI Columbus.
We’re now one of eleven GDI chapters. Our first official class was in April of 2011, which means we’ve been around for about a year and a half. We’ve held about a dozen full-course classes, hosted speakers, created hack nights, partnered with local organizations and have begun to build a cohesive community within the city that welcomes beginners and people looking to learn about web development in a friendly, low-pressure environment.
Here’s what we’re planning for the future:
- More speakers/workshops. We’ve got workshops for UX and Git on deck and are finalizing the details for those to happen in the new year. We’re always looking for suggestions of more people to come speak and/or teach on a one-shot basis, so let us know who you want to see or if you want to share your own knowledge.
- Kid/family content. This is something we’ve talked about for a long time, and I’m making it a goal in 2013 to finally bring to fruition. Stay tuned for that.
- Community building. Our strength comes from the amazing people in Columbus who come together to learn something new, teach something new and support each other in the process. We’re exploring ways we can make our community even stronger, including everything from more social events to hosting conferences. Also, look for us at existing regional conferences. We’ll be raising our visibility and recruiting new teachers/volunteers there.
- More scholarship/childcare support. While we have always informally been willing to help out students with scholarships for class fees, we’ll be making that process and policy more explicit before the next round of classes begin. Also, we will be working on childcare solutions so that students and teachers can participate and parent at the same time.
I’m really proud of what we’ve done, and of all the people who have pitched in with their expertise, passion, time and patience to make it happen - teachers, students and volunteers alike. If you want to join them, there’s no better time. Drop by an event or reach out to see what you can do.
Collaboration has always been at the center of my understanding of and journey through web development. My interest began when I noticed people using tags like <big> back when I was writing N’Sync fan fics on a teen magazine site. (Don’t judge; we all had our teeny-bopper obsessions). I don’t think any of us fan-fic writers would have associated with the web development community, but we were happy to share the tags to help each other customize content in our posts.
After that little dip into the community, I was sort of thrown in to understanding a lot more when I started managing content for a website in my first job out of college. The programmers who had built the system and who firstly were the IT help desk didn’t provide me much guidance other than how to generate the lat and long points for the Google Maps interface. I had to research sites where developers share their code online for others to review, revise and understand.
Sure, with enough searching you can find just about anything you need to know on the Internet, but I haven’t found a bunch more willing to help than web developers. When I was in charge of a Facebook page in another job, I decided to brand a splash page, as many were doing at the time. From all of my other research, I had a pretty good understanding of how to splice an image/design in Adobe Illustrator and export to HTML. What I didn’t know was that Facebook used its own markup language, so my page looked like a bad Picasso. I placed a post on the developer boards and within a day someone was willing to take a look at my code and correct it to FBML. Just like that with nothing in it for them.
Collaboration is what continues to grow the capabilities of the developer community. When you think about the fact that many of today’s great advancements in web development are due to the sharing of ideas, you understand that the community wants you to succeed in order for it to keep progressing. So don’t be afraid to take that first step; come collaborate with us!