What happens when you get 100 engineers together? Magic! And what if they are all women engineers in Mountain View and Delhi? MAGIC!
We were lucky enough at LinkedIn to witness magic in the making last month when we held our first ever Women’s Hackday, DevelopHer. A little tongue-in-cheek, and a lot of good old fashioned elbow grease, this hackday was initially sketched as a get together for women in tech in the Bay Area. It shortly became clear to us that we need more doing in this area, and less talking. So DevelopHer was born to give women of all programming abilities a chance to code with us, and compete against each other. And we coded, all night long. 18 teams in Mountain View and 5 teams in Delhi were formed and amongst them there were the Hackbright Academy women who are just learning to code, and industry rock stars like Julia Grace of WeddingLovely.
We did do a few things differently from the usual hackdays. We had yoga sessions, healthy food, delicious cupcakes (to offset the healthy food), and some girl-friendly music playing.
So what did we learn?
We learned that Laura Kelly and Andrée Brazeau shipped winning code after only a few weeks of learning how to code. An impressive feat if you consider that they built a fully working app, MuniMobile, that lets you see real-time notifications when a bus is nearby. In their words: “Let’s just make something we can deploy.” Well said, ladies! Their article on women 2.0 details their app and their teachable moments.
We also learned that it’s never too late to learn. This was Michelle Sun’s first ever hackathon and despite challenges, she was able to get her hands dirty and collaborate with more experienced programmers. Practice makes perfect, and cupcakes help a lot. In her own words:
“Coding is highly addicting. Hours flew by when typing away on a keyboard or debugging. Yet hackathons are designed to be a congregation of like-minded individuals (otherwise people can just code in their own bedrooms). I took both yoga classes (see the full schedule below) and lined up for the cupcake (the fleur de sel was delicious). Exchanging ideas and hanging out with other programmers certainly made up a large part of the experience.”
We’re glad you enjoyed it, Michelle! Check out her Survival Guide for a hackathon.
We can’t wait to host it again, and next time we’re aiming for twice as many programmers.
At LinkedIn, we’re committed to women in technology. Our ongoing support includes university scholarships, the Grace Hopper sponsorship, DevelopHer, Tech Women and more.
Check out hackday.linkedin.com/developher/2012 to see the full list of winners. Congratulations to all the great hackers, we cannot wait to see you transform the world with your products!