Live Blogging from WIT Luncheon October 29

UPDATE: Watch the recording of the original session.

Denise McInerney introduces Angie Chang.

She started a networking dinner for women. Started Women 2.0. Organized conferences of 1000 women. Hackbright found her to organize a geek dinner. She joined them.

You can become a software engineer after a 3 month bootcamp. Women can become managers and CTOs in a few years if mentored. Hackbright is training technical and leadership skills.

Hackbright was started by people who attended a bootcamp. Women learn differently. They started experiments of 10 week women only class. The women got jobs after the class. The team has grown, the curriculum has grown. They are teaching several languages and work in teams and ask questions.  100 software engineers donate 1 hour per week to help these women.

What does Hackbright do differently? Pair with a programmer. All women programming school. It has a very casual environment.

Mentoring with women professionals is key.

Several women through the program have been promoted to engineering management. One former student now comes back and hires new engineers from Hackbright. Quite a few have been promoted. Former admin assistants and more are now engineers.

Partner companies help students improve resumes and interviewing skills. They have a career day and the partner companies meet the students. Facebook sponsors a student. Intuit has a scholarship.

Girl Geek dinners started in London in 2006. She started in the Bay area. Google sponsored the first dinner in 2008. 400 attended the first event. They have 2 or 3 a month. It’s a great networking event, and women professionals speak. Often people hire from this event. It sells out in 5 minutes.

It’s a leaky pipeline, not a pipeline problem. Need to train managers to hire for diversity. It’s a retention problem.

The Hackbright alumni have a great community and network. They have a support system. This helps stop the leaky pipeline.

One of the alumni started the “I look like an engineer” campaign.

An engineer was always hearing “you don’t look like an engineer”. She started the program and many Hackbright alumn are in the photos on bill boards.

Enroll your daughters in robotics and tech camps. Talk to your kids about roles. Buy engineering toys and books. Don’t tell girls that they are going to break things if they touch things. Encourage girls to be a tomboy. Send the kids to science and technology camps. People are not sending girls.

You can get involved as a mentor or sponsor or partner company. They can help with senior talent as well as new developers.

12:41 Time for questions

Our education system. She took AP Computer Science in high school. A company promotes robotics with high school girls. Technovation — girls pitch a product that they think of.

What is hackbright doing to help high school kids? They can talk to mentors. HB gets mostly career changers, not people right out of high school. They have night classes for women, an intro to programming class. HS girl can attend. Workshops and hackathons for all ages.

Are there plans for other programs? They are now focused on software engineering. It’s a high paying job and women are needed. May expand in the future.

Are degrees important? It’s in the job description. It’s not encouraging for women. It would be better to hear about their experience than asking about a degree. Women don’t apply if they don’t meet all requirements. Job descriptions need to be more accessible.

Everyone here should be mentors. There are so many things for coders. Data is missing from these. Let’s get database mentoring going.

Will Hackbright scale out to rest of the country? They are focused on San Francisco now, but may expand next year. Talking to companies about growing women into managers.

What is the atmosphere in all women learning? Women are more supportive. There is a great energy. They go to meetups, they organize events. They give back.

What is the advantage of having more women in male majority teams? Diverse teams have better results. They are high paying jobs and women want these jobs. They go out and inspire others. Tech is often for women consumers.

Makers groups around the countries, learning robotics and programming. Males look at women with different eyes when the women build cool things.

Males start out interested in tech by playing games; how do we encourage girls to play video games? Girls are playing Minecraft which is great for learning programming. There are lots of games on iPad to learn how to program games.

How to get women to speak at events? Invite them. Women will often not apply because that feels like bragging.

Is the term “girls” insulting when applied to professional women? The Girl Geek term started in UK because they are “cheeky”. There are better things to worry about.

How to get IT culture more accessible for women? Managers need to learn about unconscious bias. This happens in teams. Have team take implicit bias test. Results are surprising. They need to track managers to see which actually promote women and reward those who do.

How do we expand to smaller towns? They are a school  but don’t have unlimited resources. There are many organizations who send speakers. Bring girls to the workplace so they can see what working in tech is like.

Do you have mentors for your new mentors? Yes, we do train our new mentors. Be careful how they criticize. Their job is to mentor and be supportive.

Thanks to SQL Sentry for supporting the event. Thanks to Angie! Bringing out a gift basket with PASS and Seattle swag. There is a meet and greet.

Her Twitter @thisgirlangie






About Kathi Kellenberger

I am the editor of the online journal Simple Talk. I love talking about SQL Server to anyone who will listen, just ask my seven year old granddaughter. I love to write and teach. I am so humbled and honored to say I am a Data Platform MVP, a volunteer with LaunchCode and co-leader of PASS Women in Technology Virtual Group.
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