Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GirlDevelopIt SF: Help us grow in 2013!

In my last post, I talked about how we started up GirlDevelopIt SF just 8 months ago in April, and thanks to the kindness of sponsors and the enthusiasm of volunteers, we had a great 2012. We've already started planning our 2013, with multiple events a week in January and some exciting new topics planned like Salary Negotiations and Data Modeling, and it's looking to be a great year.

Want to make it even better? Here are some ways you can help:

As an individual:

  • Be a TA: We strongly believe in having an interactive component to our classes, so that students get the chance to actually try out what they've learnt and the opportunity to ask questions that inevitably arise. As a TA, you can help them answer their questions and clarify their understanding, and as a bonus, you'll probably learn something yourself! Many of our students go on to TA the classes that they themselves took, as a way of testing and solidifying their knowledge. If you want to TA a particular class, just send a message to the teacher and let them know.

  • Teach a class: We have a vast array of topics that we want to teach our students - web development, version control, command-line, design, user experience, mobile, gaming, etc. If you feel comfortable teaching a particular topic (maybe it's one we already have curriculum, like HTML/CSS, or maybe it's a completely new one that you'd be willing to create curriculum for), please send us a message. We find the best teachers aren't necessarily the "experts", but the ones that have practical experience in the industry with the skillset, and can impart real world learnings and industry best practices to the students.

  • Run a hack night: Our students learn a lot at the workshops (we hope!) but they need to practice what they've learnt for the skills to really stick. Many of them do Codecademy or Treehouse at home, but when they get stuck, it's harder for them to find the help online. So, we like to hold casual hack nights for students to practice around others. Typically, they're at a cafe with free WiFI like Epicenter or Panera, or they can be at the office of whoever is hosting the hack night. If you'd like to host a hack night (or a "code & coffee" if it's in the morning), please send us a message.

As a company:

First, a preface: Yes, we do charge our students a small amount, but it is lower than the other similar classes in SF, and is designed to be just enough to make GDI sustainable, but not necessarily profitable. When companies sponsor us, that means that we can support more students and make sure our teachers are adequately compensated for the vast amount of time they put into teaching. We feature our sponsors on the Meetup page and also thank them in the event descriptions, and of course, at the event itself.

  • Volunteer your space: We've had a lot of great spaces for our workshops, but we can always use more - we don't want to exhaust our current spaces and hosts. We look for spaces that have tables with chairs where students can sit with other students, but also with enough room for TAs to walk around. Usually, we host classes around the SOMA area in SF, but we're starting to explore classes in South Bay and Oakland. Our classes are either on weekday evenings or on weekends, and sometimes stretch over multiple days. If you have a space in your office that you'd like to volunteer for a class or two, please send us a message.

  • Sponsor our snacks: Our classes require a lot of brainpower - students learning programming for the very first time! - so we like to keep our students fueled with food when we have the funds to do it. For evening workshops, that means a light dinner and for weekend workshops, it's usually lunch and snacks. If you'd like to sponsor the food for an upcoming workshop, please send us a message.

  • Donate to our scholarship fund: Many of our students are learning programming because they are in a low-pay position now and trying to transition over to development, so money is tight. We encourage those students to apply for a GDI SF scholarship, where they describe what they want to learn and how it will benefit them, and then we give them a free entrance to the class. Right now, the teachers have been giving up some of their own compensation to make those scholarships possible, but we can't keep doing that forever since our teachers need to support themselves as well. So, we are starting an official scholarship fund for the GirlDevelopIt SF chapter, and we would love for companies to contribute to that fund. When you sponsor a student, we will let them know who the sponsorship came from, and we will thank you on Meetup and at the event. If you're interested in sponsoring, please fill out this form and specify 'San Francisco' as the recipient chapter.

And hey, even if you can't help in any of those ways, you can help us by spreading the word. Let your female friends and family know about GirlDevelopIt SF and encourage them to take a class or two. Who knows, they may turn out to be the next great developer!

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