Girl Develop It is an organization started in the U.S. to help women learn software development. With 90 percent of programmers male, there is a serious need for women in the field.
In four years since its launch in 2010, 25 chapters have sprung up around the United States and Canada. It’s clear Girl Develop It has begun to solve a real world problem that has existed in development since the inception of the field itself. We need more female developers, and Girl Develop It is building them up and churning them out.
Enter Girl Develop It Raleigh/ Durham. The local chapter is helmed by three active members of the Triangle developer community: Julia Elman, Sarah Kahn and Sylvia Richardson. I first interviewed Julia and Sarah last year for an ExitEvent story about Teen Tech Camp, an annual event held for underprivileged teens at the Durham County Library. That, however, is just one of their pursuits to spread learning and knowledge of software development. I sat down with Kahn recently to learn a bit more about our local GDI chapter and what is in store for the near future.
First, some quick stats about the Raleigh/Durham Chapter:
*Since its founding in 2012, the local chapter has almost 600 members, and gained 100 new members in JANUARY alone.
*Classes are $20 per person, per class.
*3-4 classes are generally held per month, some as part of an ongoing series.
*Men are invited and encouraged to sign up for classes.
*Girl Develop It is a non-profit. All services—from hosting classes to course materials—are provided by sponsors, volunteers and donations.
Globally, programs like Girl Develop It are starting to gain steam. San Francisco is home to the Hackbright Academy, a 12-week software engineering fellowship for women and crash course on modern web development and Python. Rails Girls holds weekend crash courses in cities around the world teaching various languages and technologies in software development (A Raleigh-Durham event was held last September). Google has also started its own Women Techmakers resource, which indexes all woman-focused developer events throughout the world.
Girl Develop It RDU is a unique program so far in the Triangle. Part of its mission statement is to provide an inclusive, open and welcoming environment for women to learn web and mobile application development.
It’s great to see programs like this not only take root in our local community, but experience a huge rate of growth. It helps that the organizers have a community mindset.
“Being involved in the organization allows you to give back to the community and meet amazing women who constantly inspire me to work harder and do better in both my career and the Girl Develop It community,” Kahn told me.
The next two classes offered by the Raleigh chapter include a Code & Coffee on April 19, and a Python for Beginners class on April 26. Previous events range from intro classes on a variety of programming languages to tech book swaps and hands-on workshops.
You can sign up for classes here through their meetup.com page . If you’re interested, I highly suggest you sign up soon. The past several classes, as well as the upcoming Code & Coffee, had waiting lists.
Girl Develop It is always looking for more members, volunteers and donations. Whether it is time, space or knowledge, organizations like this need our support. The Triangle is home to a great many exciting things that are already shaping the future of web development and I am ecstatic to see real world solutions to the Dave to Girl ratio finally being combated locally as well.