Women Who Code Stories

Member Stories
03.14.2017

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Women Who Code is a global community made up of over 80,000 individuals. You are engineers, designers, dreams, and entrepreneurs. You are the changemakers in the world, and your accomplishments are amazing.

Over the years we have had the honor of being a part of some of the professional stories of your lives. Here we have collected quotes and memories from those experiences, to celebrate the importance of this catalytic journey.

EVENTS

Women Who Code Networks have been responsible for over 4,200 free technical events around the world, and we have given away more than $1 M in conference tickets and scholarships. This has provided members of the community with opportunities to expand their tech horizons, meet industry leaders and gain valuable experience.

Lorien Smyer - Leader WWCode SF
lorien smyer
Thanks to Women Who Code, I was able to attend Twilio’s Signal Conference on May 24th and 25th, held at Pier 27 in San Francisco. As a former bookkeeper who is gradually career-switching into web development, it can be tough to narrow down what tools to build applications with. I want to try all the things, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Conferences are a great way to get bite-sized introductions to various development tools and philosophies, and Signal was an excellent conference, with a wide variety of speakers on many interesting topics.
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Amrita Aviyente - WWCode Boston
amrita
This year, I got a chance to attend the MIT VC and Innovation Conference. It was not possible without the support of one of my favorite organizations – Women Who Code. Women Who Code is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. They have chapters in each city where they hold classes introducing women to tech (coding). They have a weekly newsletter [CODE Review] which includes topics such as quotes from inspiring women in tech, ticket give aways to conferences and discount for tech events etc. This is how I got the ticket to attend MIT VC and Innovation conference. You can subscribe to their newsletter here or view their last newsletter here.
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Anna P Schwab - WWCode SF Member
anna schwab
On one of my regular visits to the Women Who Code web site, I clicked thefree ticketlink and won a conference pass to WSO2ConUSA 2015 in San Francisco. I was elated. I did the dance of joy. I called my husband at work about it. Thank you, WWCode! Yay!

After that, I visited the WSO2 web site and I encountered words I have never seen before: middleware, enterprise service bus, integration platform, enterprise architecture etc. This is totally new to me, I said to myself. But, I decided that this would be an opportunity to learn, and that I should just go with an open mind.
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Liliana Herrera - WWCode Dublin
liliana
First, I am very grateful for the tickets, it was overall a very good experience. Before going, I was considering just settling for any job offer I could find as a recent graduate, but now I am very inspired and have made up my mind that I truly want to work for a great company in one of their Graduate Programmes in order to learn a lot and grow as a professional just like any speaker from Inspire Fest.
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Alexandra Polubiec - WWCode SF
alexandra
I attended Women Leaders in Technology here at TechLAB Innovation, a startup incubator in Santa Clara. Thanks very much to Women Who Code for sponsoring my ticket! It was really great to be in a room full of women tech innovators, company founders and aspiring company founders. The panel was moderated by Andy Cunningham, Founder and President of the Cunningham Collective. She did a fantastic job of steering the conversation in important topics like breaking barriers, how diversity affects innovation, and the role of mentoring in encouraging more women to become technology leaders.
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RETURN TO WORK

One of Women Who Code's core missions is to support career aged women who are in tech, as well as those transitioning back into a professional position in the industry. Our Network events provide community support, as well as training that can help make the technological hurdles of this process more manageable.

Jodi Loar - Women Who Code Community Manager
jodi loar
I work with brilliant women. I receive emails daily from women who are literally changing the world. But they all had to start somewhere. Maybe they started, sitting in their little booth, wondering how the hell to create a Google spreadsheet. But they learned. And I’m learning. So I’ll continue to sit here in my little booth at Starbucks. I’ve got my cheat sheet to my left and my green tea to my right. And people will probably stare at me when I let out the occasional “woo hoo!” when I figure out how to insert a link into an email. But I don’t even care. I’m so proud to be here, learning, one tech term at a time. And maybe, with enough practice, I can help change the world too.
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LEADERSHIP

Women Who Code is comitted to empowering our members to become leaders, ot just in the community, but in the greater tech industry. By supporting them in Director and Lead roles at the local Network levels we are able to help them with Networking, as well as opportunities that can improve their professional reputation.

Karina Machado - Director WWCode Recife
karina machado 2
I searched the internet for women in IT communities and found the Women Who Code global organization. This was a group dedicated to educating and inspiring women to seek knowledge and excel in technological careers. I wanted to start a WWCode group in Recife where I live, so I presented the idea to some colleagues in the industry. Getting a good reception I then went on to found the network in our city on January 8, 2014. I’ve now spent two years organizing groups of fortnightly studies, marathons programming and lectures. Being a member of this organization is making a big difference in my professional and personal life, and has helped me to conquer new opportunities, while new friendships and partnerships have emerged. It is sincerely an honor to be part of it all. :)
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Claire Burn - Women Who Code Belfast City Lead
claire burn
Claire joined Women Who Code While completing her undergraduate program, after a colleague told her about the group. There she found a network of support and inspiration that helped her to overcome her own lack of confidence. Through the women that she met she came to realize that coding was an ever evolving learning process, that didn’t have to be mastered overnight, or ever, as long as she kept constantly growing to meet the needs of whatever problem she was tackling.

Women Who Code also gave Claire an opportunity to expand her reach while exploring some of the issues that mattered most to her. She was promoted to WWCode Belfast City Lead, and from that position she spearheaded an initiative to develop a Youth Outreach Program for the city. This involved her and others going into local schools and delivering tutorials to girls on coding and other aspects of technology. That built her prestige, confidence, and contact list, while also positioning her as a promoter of social good in the community.
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Ana Castro - WWCode Colima Network Director
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Throughout her career Ana has been driven to become the best possible front end engineer that she could. However she was always held back by a terrible case of “impostor syndrome” which left her feeling like she was less capable and worthy than her fellow peers in the field. She was finally able to overcome this when some of her co-workers told her about a fateful meeting they’d had with Zassmin Montes de Oca at RailsConf in Portland. That was when she discovered Women Who Code.

At the time, there wasn’t a group in Mexico working to advocate for women in technology careers the way that Women Who Code was. However the idea intrigued her, and she reached out to the leadership of the organization in order to find out about the process of founding a local branch in Colima. After an initiation process that familiarized her with the goals and procedures that guide WWCode, she started working to lay the foundations for the Network.

Being in charge of this local group instilled Ana with a sense of pride that helped her to overcome the impostor syndrome symptoms that she had faced throughout her career. It also taught her how to be a better communicator, and share her knowledge with both crowds and individuals. At the same time the prestige of her position opened up doors for her, giving her the chance to travel, and making her eligible for numerous speaking opportunities.
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Erica Stanley - WWCode ATL Director
erica stanley
This continued success made Erica a natural leader in her field, but she found herself held back by a lack of confidence in her public speaking abilities. However she quickly got over that when she decided to help start the Atlanta Women Who Code Network. As a leader, she found herself in a position where she constantly had to handle crowds of varying sizes in order to support the group. Her involvement as a WWCode Director also opened up opportunities for her to give tech talks, and increased her standing and prestige in the industry.
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CONNECT 2016

Women Who Code CONNECT 2016 was a conference that brought a diverse array of engineers and tech professionals from around the world, together to demonstrate the innovative power of diversity and inclusion. It featured female leaders and innovators from a variety of companies, as well as panels, discussions, and educational events.

Sheila Oh - WWCode Seattle
sheila oh
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I have been to conferences before, and women-focused meet-ups, but I have never attended an entire conference “designed to inspire women to excel in tech careers. As I entered the 2nd floor keynote area and scanned the room, I noted how few people I recognized and knew. Such a different experience from the normal meet-up or conference, where I am often the only woman or one of a few represented.

At the end of her talk, Alaina asked women to share stories of success — a promotion, a new job, anything! Tentatively one woman came up and told her story. Then another. It struck me how hesitant we as women are to stand up and say, “Yes, I rock. I did this amazing thing. Help celebrate with me!” The praise and enthusiasm from the audience seemed to help motivate others to come up, and soon, there was a line of women at the stage. ApplaudHer is such a great message. Let’s support each other. Let’s celebrate each other. Let’s be allies for each other!

I am an academic. And I stayed out of tech during my high school and college years, due to perceptions that it was a field for men. The reasons why women go into computer science really hit home, and made me want to do more to help encourage young women interested in computing. Until attending the #WWConnect2016 conference, I’ve never been in a room full of female developers. I’m used to the opposite, I usually have to fight to have my voice heard. Instead, I was invited to come to the stage to share my successes, I’ve never been surrounded by women (and male allies) passionate about supporting and celebrating women in technology. How enlightening. What an inspiration. So glad I went!
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COMMUNITY

Women are often minorities at technology companies, which can enhance a sense of solation which may lead to long term attrtition. The community support that Women Who Code provides can be an important tool for inspiration and empowerment. This can in turn have a profound effect on a persons perception of themself and the indsutry as a whole.

Chhavi P. Gupta - WWCode Delhi
chhavi
All the people gathered there were united by a common passion for their own progress and because of a belief in community bonding and building. A unique experience of the day was #Applaud section which entailed attendees coming up and speaking and being once again proud of anything and everything they had achieved. There was a seamless connection of people with ideas and people with means - job opportunities, mentorship, guidance or just some others to share your experience with. It was gratifying to watch and see that the will to help was as strong as the will to learn.

I could preach about the outcomes and ideology behind organizations like Women Who Code all day but what I experienced is that if you remove the name, the mystique, all it does is provide a platform for like minded people to come up and share their life stories under a safe banner where they know they will be appreciated. And what could ever be wrong with that?
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EDUCATION

The 4,200 free technical events provided by Women Who Code Networks are an invaluable tool for those looking to enter the tech industry, as well as those who are trying to level up to a higher position. There are also profound positive benefits that can come from providing mentorship and training to others.

Brenda Deverell Cortez - WWCode NYC Director
brenda deverell
Although I worked in tech and have an engineering degree, I only started to delve into web development when I joined Women Who Code NYC in the Fall of 2014. Until recently, everything I knew about web development, I had learned from attending tech meetups, networking with other web developers, and working on different small projects and tutorials using an array of different programming languages and frameworks. However, I had not yet had a chance to create anything remotely close to our Koneksa Health application or utilize Backbone.js, on of the libraries with use in our front-end framework.
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Snigdha Banerjee - WWCode NYC
snigdha
One of the things that has been crucial for my professional development is finding mentors. A mentor can be someone who knows a bit more than you, or they can be a seasoned professional who has been in the industry for many years. WWCode gave me a great community, where I was able to meet other women who were working in tech or looking to enter the industry. Some were more advanced programmers, and I learned a lot from them. Those interactions were inspiring and energizing, and I recommend that WWCode members seek formal or informal mentors in their network.
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JOBS

Through our work with technology companies around the world, and the development of our innovative Women Who Code for Companies Job Board we have shown ourselves to be leaders in the field of diversity hiring practices and advocacy. Our work is helping to ensure that gender bias, both subconscious and otherwise, is eliminated from the practices of companies everywhere.

Princiya Sequeira - WWCode Berlin
princiya
Here is the newsletter which I received from Women Who Code on 15.10.2015. Zalando’s advertisement in the ’employment opportunities’ section caught my attention. Join Zalando — Europe’s largest online fashion platform — as a Backend Engineer. Code Java, Python, or Scala in Berlin, Dublin, or Helsinki!

Upon browsing through the various job openings at Zalando, I found it suitable to apply for this position. The ‘What you can expect from us’ section was of special interest to me and I found this to be a really cool job ad :). Relocation assistance, personal branding, hack weeks, tech talks etc, this job ad, according to me, was a match made in heaven and I was few steps away grabbing my dream job.
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