Girl Develop It Celebrates 5 years of Teaching Women to Code in WNY
Even as more women are breaking barriers in STEM fields, and being recognized for their contributions, there is a still a major lack of representation of women in the tech industry. Luckily, there are organizations that help women find their path in technology, one being Girl Develop It.
Girl Develop It is a nationally recognized nonprofit that originally formed in 2010 in New York City, by two women developers. Girl Develop It was founded as a call to all women, to develop the solutions they sought out, and change the low representation of women in the tech industry. Eight years later, Girl Develop It now has over 55,000 members in over 50 cities across the nation.
The Buffalo Chapter of Girl Develop It will be celebrating five years of teaching women to code in Western NY, on March 30th, at 6:30 pm at Kenmore Lanes. The Buffalo chapter was founded and is currently led by Lena Levine, who runs her own web development studio where she builds web-based solutions for companies all over Buffalo. She leads the organization along with chapter leader Quintessence Anx, the lead DevOps engineer at a local startup. Buffalo was only the 12th city to form its own chapter and has made great strides. The Buffalo chapter has experienced tremendous growth and such a short period of time and has now surpassed 800 members. The mission of Girl Develop It is to make learning programming accessible to women of all ages, races and educational backgrounds.
None of the growth and women empowerment throughout the region would be possible without a strong support system. Under the leadership of Levine and Anx, chapter organizers Danielle Allan and Olga Nelioubov help manage teachers, TA’s, and host weekly events. Some of those events include Code and Coffee and Office Hours, which members can attend for one-on-one help from chapter leaders for projects they’re working on, or just to network and seek new opportunities.
“It’s about getting women excited, and creating a network of women to get more women into the field,” said Levine to Upstart NY. “It’s great to see our members get in those great tech jobs and advance their careers, and we are here for them.”
In order to make learning affordable for everyone, there are scholarships that members can apply for that allow them to attend classes for free. All proceeds from the anniversary party will be going towards the chapter’s scholarship fund, which helps to eliminate one barrier to entry in the technology – the cost of education and training.
Lack of diversity in tech continues to be a hot topic, but progress is being made with the help of men and women who want to change what the future in tech looks like. Girl Develop It isn’t just around to support aspiring software engineers, but also those women who want to learn new skills for their job and take on new responsibilities, want to pick up coding for personal projects and even those who enjoy being surrounded by like-minded women. No matter what it is that someone aspires to do, Girl Develop It strives to give women the confidence to make it happen.