Most people already know this but I love project work. There’s something about having a team with differing specialties, all with great ideas, managing everyone to their ability and working together towards a set target that really makes me have an optimistic mindset for team-based work.
So, my first project for this semester was focusing on encouraging young people to sign up for organ donation We could use any form of media to promote the campaign.
I thought of making a responsive website – to sort of stand out from the many others making posters – with the audience-specific marketing technique to capture their attention. Overall, it was such a great project which I had fun being a part of – I mostly just coded the website and put everyone’s ideas together. Any excuse to code is a motivation in itself! 👍🏻
A lot of people were shocked by my ability to code. I had one girl on my course say, “Wow! That’s amazing!! Literally, NO GIRL talks about coding and it’s not a girly hobby!”
I found this quite funny because I grew up in this blogosphere where everyone I know is talented web developers/designers.
Although I’m not sure if it was entirely a compliment, I took it as one, because of all the years I’ve been coding and blogging people wouldn’t look at it positively and it’d be heavily criticized.
At university, it’s a lot different.
People are actually impressed by my ability and talk about it in a positive light, which is refreshing. I feel like I can finally tell people about coding skills and blog without feeling self-conscious of what they might think or fearful of what sexist comments might be said. I’ve also inspired my girlfriends to code too, which is super exciting because:
- Front-end web talk has made it into my regular conversations now.
- I feel like I’m using my voice to get other girls into a traditionally male-dominated field, which is, even if the contribution is tiny – feels great!
Debugging the gender gap
This brings me on to my next project: Code First: Girls. As you may not know, Code First is a business whose aim is to encourage ladies into coding and hacking their careers! Proving the fact that: coding and tech aren’t just a boy’s club.
Although it was a beginner’s course and I know I’m definitely no beginner (nor expert) but I did decide to join because:
- Being self-taught in coding, I wanted to run through the basics anyway to ensure I didn’t miss anything. I did learn new things, mainly Bootstrap, though – I finally understand it. Finally.
- Be a part of a like-minded group of bright girls who want to code! A girl’s code club. Love it.
- I wanted to set out sometime during the week to code, I’ve been looking into the tech industry as a possible route after I graduate.
I’m actually really happy with this project because it’s the first time I got to successfully get Bootstrap actually working. You can see the project here – changing Bootstrap’s long and complicated stylesheet was probably the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done in my life, haha.
There was a little competition at the end where we could see other people’s work, I was impressed by how everyone could code up a great website from scratch in under 6 weeks.
I know it took me a while when I was learning for the first time – definitely more than 6 weeks; group work, discussions and amazing instructors helped greatly!
If you’re interested, you can view live tweets and other images of other groups websites through the hashtag on Twitter #shefCFG.
Being surrounded by a group of like-minded girls was wonderful, I’m actually pretty sad it’s ended now. The extra-curricular two-hour course was always the highlight of my Tuesday nights!
— Pauline (@paulienuh) March 15, 2016
What I gained from the course:
- Great enhancement to my existing coding skills
- Strengthened my problem-solving skills – writing code is never right the first time and problems are encountered along the way, but it does get easier!
- Found a promising community where I got to share my long time passion of coding with.
- Awesome new coding friends!
< conclusion >
Attending and seeing a number of girls present and absolutely rocking it, really empowered me to step into my future career in science or technology1.
I’m happy that I’ve been able to encourage my girlfriends and others to code2 and to continue breaking the boundaries of science, tech, and engineering! #GirlPower
Let’s face it, not everything is “man” made.3
3. Reference to this YouTube video by Microsoft for International Women’s Day 2016