Women Who Code Belfast – Head First Introduction to iOS Development

This is a blog by Bernie Scott, one of WWC Belfast‘s City Leads.

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Local expert Matt McComb from Instil delivered his “Head First Introduction to iOS Development” for Women Who Code Belfast, in his company’s office last week.

Matt started off by telling us a bit about himself and technical background as well as giving us a brief lesson in the history of iOS.

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He guided us through the basics of creating a project and seeing our app on a simulator. He explained each part of the process we were following in just the right amount of detail, answering all questions expertly and helping anyone who was stuck and by the end of the session, we had created our first iOS app!

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Many thanks to Matt for the workshop and Instil for providing the office and pizza. It was  great to be part of such a good night.

Thanks,

Bernie

Women Who Code London – Code Challenge and Technical Interviewing Practice

This is a guest blog by Benedicte Slee, a WWC London member

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Code Challenge and Technical Interviewing Practice

On June 22, Women Who Code London hosted a technical interviewing practice session organised by Michelle Glauser and held at the Hult International Business School. The event was a unique opportunity to practice the often dreaded task of solving code challenges on a whiteboard, guided by four software engineers with technical interviewing experience from their respective companies.

We split into four groups, each headed by an interviewer, and started going through code challenges from a list of sources curated by Michelle. After warming up with how to reverse a string we went on to find duplicates, check for palindromes, calculate the factorial of a number, return prime divisors, and other tech interview staples, all while getting helpful tips and tricks from the interviewers.

The meet-up was also a great opportunity to network, compare notes on interview experiences and share sources on interviewing and coding skills. Thanks again to the organisers and interviewers who kindly gave up their Saturday morning and made it an insightful and fun experience!

Women Who Code London – iOS App Development session

This event was hosted by Gen Ashley & Vinita Rathi, Directors Women Who Code London chapter
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On 27th May, we hosted second Women Who Code London event at Makers Academy. We had more than 50 ladies signed up for the event, quite a few on waitlist and about 35 actually turned up at the event.

We began at sharp 6:30PM with Merici Vinton (Founder of Adaslist) who shared her story of how she started in tech, Obama campaign, ended up in setting up technology team for federal agency, her move to London and the work she continues to do to promote women in tech. I cant agree more that women well establish in tech now need to pull more women and should develop leadership. Go definitely join Adaslist.co – its only by sticking together we can address gender gap in flourishing tech industry!

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After Merici finished, I (Vinita Rathi, (co-founder Systango Ltd)) began tech session on iOS. My goal was to start with basics – why Objective C exists, how it differentiates itself from C and C++, Android apps vs iOS app, Google Play Store vs iTunes, XCode nuances and then gradually take attendees to build a simple hello app, app submission on apple store. We went through powerful interface builder XCode provides and did few exercises. By the end of the session each one of us had a working iOS hello app!

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Afterwards few of us stayed, chatted about if we should do advanced iOS sessions, open source projects one can contribute to. There were lot of questions around how I ended up starting Systango from a stable career at Goldman Sachs as Vice President Technology. We then headed to a pub where the chat continued.

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If you are interested in joining one of the advance iOS sessions – you can RSVP here.
Feel free to leave your comments, suggestions on what you would like to see Women Who code do more and how we can help you in your career progression!

Best,

Vinita

Women Who Code London’s 1st Javascript Study Group

This is a blog post by Michelle Glauser, the organiser of the WWC London JS Study group.
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On May 20th, we held our first JavaScript study group at Google’s Campus London. The meetup was originally scheduled for May 21st in a different room, but when told how many people were signed up (over 90!), our group was fit into a recently-canceled time slot for a larger room. Although the last-minute change resulted in a much smaller number of attendees, a good time was had by all and we now know to book bigger spaces for this study group.

Each attendee was asked to put on a name tag, and then we split into groups based on experience level. “Absolute beginners” were people who had never worked with any code besides HTML and CSS, and this group was the most sizable. After I (Michelle) gave a very brief overview of JavaScript, these determined women logged in to Codecademy and started on the JavaScript track. After some time, I was able to answer some of their questions about what jQuery and Github are and what it’s like working as a woman in the tech industry.

Other groups looked through my spreadsheet of learning-to-code resources and chose something to work on. They reviewed parts of Thoughtbot’s JavaScript trail, worked on getting set up with exercism.io, learned about jQuery, and asked more experienced attendees questions about their own projects.

For the next meetup, planned for May 28th, we already have a volunteer for an opening presentation about debugging, and it was generally agreed that some assigned pre-reading might be nice for us to discuss.

Until next time!


Michelle
michelleglauser.blogspot.com
@MichelleGlauser

People In Tech

Many of you will know me as Sheree Atcheson, a 23 year old software engineer who works at Kainos, or as Sheree Atcheson who founded Women Who Code UK (or more likely, Sheree Atcheson, who posts too many photos of her dog).

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As someone who is an advocate for people in tech, I wanted to share my experiences thus far. I never fully realized the gender bias in IT until I made a notable effort to see it. It’s always been that way – in my Computing A Level class, on the forums I posted on in my teenage years, in my CS university class (where out of 100 men, we only had 10 women) and then in work. It’s only when I properly sat down and thought about the huge effect this has on the tech industry, that I realized I needed to do something about it. We cannot innovate with only half the population.

As a software engineer, I write code. I find/create bugs. I do a lot of the same work that I imagine a lot of you do too. As well as that, I’m working everyday to eradicate the gender bias that is so glaringly apparent in our industry. If I look around my office, there are only 5 other ladies. There are 15 men. This is a common head count across the majority of the offices here. Look around your office? What is your split? I have no issue with the large number of men in here. What I do have an issue with is the small number of women.

If I were to ask any of the women in here do they have a problem with the number of men in here, I could guarantee that they’d say no. We’re all here to get a job done, and help each other along the way. I have asked almost everyone in this room for help at least once (their gender isn’t important to me. Their knowledge on my problem is). And every single person has been helpful – both male and female. We are all just people in tech.

I’m writing this post because I’ve seen some very unsettling opinions from women in tech and they have deeply annoyed/upset me. I founded WWC UK because I want there to be an equal representation of both genders in this industry. I want women to know that the current people in tech want them here and that more than that, they need them here. I have actively sourced several male speakers for my events, (and we’ve even had our first male attendee). My view is that regardless of what gender you are, if you can bring something interesting and insightful to my attendees, then I want you there. If a woman is a specialist in a field, then I want her to share her knowledge. If it is a man, then likewise. However, I’ve seen quite a lot of negative portrayal of all “men in tech” from certain women. And this angers me.  Let me share some examples with you.

I attended SXSW this year. I attended several Women In Tech sessions. One session I attended was “Getting non-tech women into tech”.  At this session, a lot of women were sharing their “IT Horror Stories”. I appreciate this. I understand some people have had negative experiences in tech at the hand of their peers. However, this quickly turned into a “sexism against men” session. One lady stated that she was accused of “selling her body for marketing space” by her (male) boss and because of that she would “never (which was strongly emphasised) work for another man again”. Another lady stated that her boss constantly told her she was inadequate and she stated that she “didn’t know what to do because it’s just a standard male insecurity that I have to put up with”. These replies were responded with cheering, clapping and “holla”s. Obviously these bosses are hugely unprofessional and in the wrong, but it is wholly unfair to tarnish all men with that same brush. The issue here isn’t the person being male, but rather that they’re unethical and unprofessional.

I can sympathise with any woman (or man) who has been put in an inappropriate situation like this, however if we veer so closely (and cross that line) to sexism, then how are we any better than the people we have an issue with? These negative traits aren’t attached to one gender – all people can be ruthless, and branding all of the opposite gender because of a bad experience means you are part of the problem.

Furthermore, a lot of you may be aware of the recent Valleywag Gawker article, in which users of a dating app are likened to the Comfort Women of WW2. Obviously, this is grossly inappropriate and offending. People all over the world having complained about it. I noticed however, one lady took her views a step (in my opinion) too far and stated that “Men in tech don’t support women in tech. They assault, rape, harass, stalk us, make jokes about it, stay silent about what happens to us”. Isn’t this sexism? Isn’t this tarring all men with the same opinionated brush?

Sure, her views might be in the minority, but they’re still noticed (which could be seen by the retweets and favourites on said tweet). And just like all of the negative views of the different men in tech we have seen, such as Pax Dickinson, they still make an impact.

I replied back to her and stated that she must mean some men in tech, because saying all makes her just as bad as those men she is referencing. Unfortunately, she swiftly told me to “f–k off”, proceeded to continuously post sexist tweets and that was that.

This issue has arisen several times now, and it saddens me each time it does. Because it undoes a lot of good work so many men and women are doing to try and create equality in this industry. Increasing the number of women in tech is something that the entire IT industry has to be focused on – men and women alike. There is no “them and us”.  I have been helped by so many people in this industry. And I thank each and every one of you for all of your support in Women Who Code UK. Without the help I’ve received from people like Tom Gray, Matt Johnston, Emma Leahy, Basil McCrea, Emma Mulqueeny, Mairtin O’Muilleour , Mary McKenna so many more, WWC UK wouldn’t be where it is today.

At the end of the day, there is one business that we are all passionate about and we best work together to make this sector flourish.

Thanks for reading,

Sheree

- WWC UK Founder

 

Women Who Code London

On the 25th of March, we had the first Women Who Code London event at FDMGroup.

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Firstly, huge thanks to FDMGroup for sponsoring our first event and supporting us on our WWC London journey. FDMGroup is well known for it’s efforts in empowering women in tech through many initiatives which you can see here.

We had 50 ladies signed up for this event, and 39 turned up. I consider that a win because this was our group’s (which is relatively unknown) first free event.

After the ladies were seated, Emer Coleman (ex-GDS, now founder of Dsrptn) spoke of how she studied History/Sociology at University College Cork tech. She imparted wisdom on how she took the skills she learnt from that degree and applied them to the tech related jobs that she has now been a part of. I chose Emer for this first event because she is truly inspirational. She honed her skills, decided what she wanted to do, moved her entire family from Dublin to London, and now fronts her very own company.

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After Emer finished up, Rosario of Coderwave began the tech session on Ruby/Sinatra. Rosario was exceptional at answering all questions from the audience, putting everyone at ease and ensuring no one was left behind. I look forward to working with him in the future.

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Afterwards, the ladies all stayed behind to network and create some future connections. One lady came to talk to me and told me how she was considering not coming along because she didn’t know anyone, but then decided to stick it out and attend. She then said that she was so glad she did because she realised “WWC was a safe non-judgemental learning environment”.

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I’d say that’s a pretty big win.

Here’s to the next one, with Zoe Cunningham & Pawel Krawczyk on Dealing with Security Issues in Software.

As always, you can RSVP here for future WWC London events, and if you have any queries about any aspect of our London branch, please email london@womenwhocode.co.uk.

Cheers,

Sheree

-WWC UK Founder

WWC Belfast in The_Thread

Hi guys,

At our January event, The_Thread  came along and shot some footage.

In this interview, I wanted to cover what we’re about and why we’re needed. I hope I’ve done you all proud. As I’ve always said, my main aim is to create a local haven for all you ladies, so as you can hear about the inspirational women on your doorstep and realise “Y’know what? I can do that too!”.

Check it out here.

Cheers,

Sheree

-WWC UK Founder

 

We are one of Belfast’s Leading Tech Startups!

Hi all,

Great news. Late 2013, the Observer contacted me about WWC Belfast appearing in a Guardian article about Belfast’s Leading Tech Startups.

The article was published last week. Check it out here.

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The photo, taken in the fantastic Titanic Drawing Rooms, is something we’re very proud to have been a part of.

Observer Tech SupplementWWC Belfast has been hugely successful and as some of you may know, WWC London has just opened last week. Already, we have 77 members and I have no doubt that we will replicate WWC Belfast’s success over in London.

Many thanks,

Sheree

-WWC UK Founder

WWC Belfast’s 2nd event

Hi all,

This week hosted the 2nd Women Who Code Belfast event, hosted in the MC Breakout room at Kainos Software. 

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This event was somewhat more technical than the last as it’s topic was Intro to ruby (with Heather Campbell). I chose this topic because I wanted people to be able to try something new, and have a basis for working on it further at home/at other WWC Belfast events (there will be intermediate, advanced etc level classes in the future).

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As always, I opened the event then quickly passed to Naomh McElhatton, who I chose as my inspirational speaker.

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I chose Naomh because like a lot of my attendees, she started of in a career completely unrelated to tech (teaching), decided to take a leap and is now in charge of several hugely successful companies (which she founded herself).

Naomh talked extensively about why she chose to make the jump and how it’s mostly always been a positive experience but that you will face opposition and some negativity. She told a story about being the only woman at a tech conference, whilst 8 months heavily pregnant, and having one person come up to her and ask her why she was there since she was a woman. Obviously this shocked the audience, but she cited it as a way for her to work harder and not let silly comments from other people affect you negatively.

Naomh’s main point throughout her session was to always be passionate, and always choose a career that enables you to do so.

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After Naomh finished, Heather Campbell of Kainos Software , began her session on ruby. Heather’s session covered the beginnings of the world of Ruby and I applaud her on the amount of effort she put into her slides, exercises and ensuring everyone was on the same page. Thanks again Heather!

This event was packed out (same as the last) and from RSVPs on the next February event – Create your own website in a session, the next one will follow suit.

As always, you can follow WWC Belfast on twitter and if you have any queries, please mail queries@womenwhocode.co.uk.

Sheree

-WWC Belfast Founder

BigAmbition Interview

Hi guys,

As you know, more and more people are becoming interested in the work we’re doing here at Women Who Code Belfast.

After I spoke to 300+ girls at BringItOn‘s “IT Girls” event earlier this month, BigAmbition contacted me about an interview for their website. And of course, I jumped at the chance.

You can check the interview out here. 
I’d love to hear back from anyone who reads it.

As a sidenote, WWC Belfast is expanding, and we’ll soon be UK wide. Watch this space.

Have a great Christmas, and I look forward to bringing you some very exciting news in 2014.

Sheree

-WWC Belfast Founder