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Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Tech at Facebook’s F8 Conference

When it comes to women in tech, Hackbright is all about changing the ratio. That’s why we were excited when Facebook asked us to represent Hackbright at the F8 Developer Conference in San Jose this past week!  

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Hackbright had an information booth for the invite-only 1,000 attendees from all over the world, with a special musical performance by DJ Blaze.

You’d think by now the men to women ratio is evening out, but sadly, it’s notSo, Hackbright aimed to be the representation at the conference to bring awareness to this issue. #ISupportWomenEngineers signs were seen all over the conference, to help bring awareness to increasing the number of women, specifically engineers, in tech today.

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Even if you weren’t at the conference, you can still join in our enthusiasm. Get inspired by reading some of our Student Stories of women who are changing tech history.

Hackbright Academy is an engineering school for women with a mission to increase female representation in tech through education, mentorship and community. To close the gender gap in engineering and technology, we have reimagined and improved engineering education through a customized model that aims to bring women back into the field. 

EXCLUSIVE SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS FOR OUR UPCOMING COURSES:

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners is offering $1,000 scholarships | Apply here!

In honor of International Women’s Month, every student will receive a $1500 scholarship for our full-time fellowship or a $500 scholarship for our Part-Time June courses!

Hackbright Academy is the engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry offering 12-week software engineering programs and night courses for women.

#GlobalEngineer Day – Hackbright Grad Creates App for Good

Natalia Margolis, Hackbright Fellowship Grad and Software Engineer at Huge, created an app called Notifica that allows people detained for deportation to send out alerts to family, friends and lawyers with the push of a button. In celebrance of #GlobalEngineer Day, we sat down with Natalia and talked about her experience at Hackbright, her experience working on Notifica, and her advice for women seeking a career in software engineering.

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What was the inspiration behind creating the Notifica app?

The inspiration came from Adrian Reyna of United We Dream, and the original hackathon team in Oakland. We met at a post-election action Meetup co-organized by PyLadies and Techqueria. When we went around the table saying what gave us hope, he said it was that folks already have strong networks supporting them. Adrian wanted to use tech to create a tool to activate those networks for a rapid response to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and to give people some control in a moment of chaos and uncertainty.

For our company hackathon, Cid Donham, Genki Hagata, Jessie Kim and I worked with Adrian to make this app a reality. The goal is to provide a way for undocumented immigrants to take control in a situation that causes a lot of uncertainty and fear. We were all deeply disturbed by the militarization of ICE and the fact that more and more people are getting swept up in raids and targeted attacks. After the hackathon, we ramped up and an incredible team of developers and designers worked around the clock, fighting to get the resources we needed to get this app into the hands of users as fast as possible.

How has the creation of the app impacted your own life?

It impacted my sleep and quesadilla intake… But seriously, this has affirmed why I got into tech in the first place. I wanted to find ways to bridge tech and social justice. After working on this, I have more confidence that I can actually do what I originally set out to do when I made the career transition.

I have also learned how much can get done, and how many roadblocks you can work through, when a team is passionate and genuinely cares about the success of the product on a deeply personal level. For everyone who worked on the team, this project has inspired a sense of purpose.

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How did your experience at Hackbright prepare you for working within a large digital organization like Huge?

I learned how to pick up new technologies quickly, and I learned to not be intimidated by the unknown. Pair-programming taught me how to communicate clearly about code, how to collaborate, and how to leave the ego out of work. Being around inspiring and supportive women also set me up with a little voice in my head encouraging me when I have challenges, and advising me about how to succeed as a woman in this industry.

Why is it important for software engineers like yourself to create apps for good?

If the tech community is upset about what’s been happening after the election, or what’s been going down for a lot longer than that, it’s time to do something about it. The tech industry has a ton of resources and skills to contribute. As a privileged white woman, I have benefited from an unfair system, and have a lot of resources too. Let’s leverage our resources by working with nonprofits, grassroots movements, and civic organizations to develop the tools they need, and develop apps with a purpose.

And hacking on apps for good in our spare time is a great start, but we also need to change the industry fundamentally. We need to be conscious of the ethical impact of our work and the lack of diversity in the culture of tech itself. For example, when software used to make decisions in the criminal justice system ends up having racial bias, it’s clear that software engineers need to think about the implications of what we’re developing and make sure the decision-makers and developers are diverse enough to have the perspective to flag these kinds of issues in the first place.

Any advice do you have for Hackbright students pursuing the job search after graduation?

Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know things. You won’t learn anything if you pretend you already know it all. The companies that are worth working at will value that honesty and curiosity, and will be the best places to grow.

Check out Notifica here and follow Natalia on Twitter @nmargolis89

 

EXCLUSIVE SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS FOR OUR UPCOMING COURSES:

Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners is offering $1,000 scholarships | Apply here!

In honor of International Women’s Month, every student will receive a $1500 scholarship for our full-time fellowship or a $500 scholarship for our Part-Time June courses!

Hackbright Academy is the engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry offering 12-week software engineering programs and night courses for women.

What is Programming? Start Learning Today (Free Course Guide)


Jessica-Earley-300x300Jessica Early is the director of  Part-Time Education at Hackbright Academy in San Francisco. Prior to working at Hackbright, she spent a decade working with nonprofits with at-risk youth in disadvantaged areas. She received her BA in Sociology and Education: Applied Psychology from UCSB. At home, Jessica loves to spend time with loved ones, her pets and
collecting strawberry knick knacks. 

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You Don’t have to Be a Rocket Scientist to Code. 

Programming or coding isn’t just for hoodie-wearing, Doritos-eating math prodigies. People who write code come from all different backgrounds. You don’t even need a CS degree. In fact, 59.8% of software engineers, programmers or computer scientist titles do not carry a CS degree, according to Tech Crunch. So if you don’t have a Computer Science Degree and you’re interested in learning to code, you’re in luck!

Step 1: Watch this video

‘What is programming, exactly?’ you ask. We’ve got answers in this quick video on what programming is and how it relates to the computer. Video by Austin Olney.

Step 2: Spend 60 minutes with Python

 

Sign up for free at Codecademy, which hosts a free hands-on Python course that takes an estimated 13 hours to complete. (Look for the link to the course catalog to find the Python course, and to see the many paths a coding career can take. You don’t need to upgrade to the paid Pro membership.)

Why Python? Because it’s one of the most in-demand languages today in many areas of computing, from recreational websites to serious data science. That’s why it’s also the highest-paying language to know for new engineers. Once you’ve learned one programming language, learning others is much easier. So you might as well start with the one that currently maximizes your opportunities.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start with just one hour of the tutorial. You’ll get an overview of concepts, and you’ll write and run your first simple Python program. That will give you a basic idea of how code works, and what a software development environment looks like.

Slow and steady learning will get you where you want to be. You’ll be spending a lot more time playing with Python — a lot, because coding is addictive rather than a chore. But before you do, there are some people you should meet.

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Step 3: Follow Online Classroom Resources

Online resources like Youtube have thousands of videos searchable, from every programming lesson possible. From beginner to advance, help ease yourself into the world of programming with instructors and teaching styles of our choice.

Start with Jessica McKellar, an amazing Python developer who has a great class you can follow right along. Free courses like our 10-Day Crash Course are also a great start to the world of coding.

Congrats, you’re coding!

That’s it! You’ve taken your first steps into a new life, and already have new friends with whom to make the journey. You’ll also find them — and others — online. Stack Overflow is where you can talk about coding. GitHub is the go-to place to peruse and share working Python (and every other language) examples with other programmers. Both are also places where managers looking to hire new engineers look for promising candidates.

Bookmark our list 7 Online Coding Resources For Beginners for more tutorial and help sites.

As you progress, you may want some classroom education. Hackbright offers a part-time Intro to Programming night course in San Francisco that runs five hours per week, for 12 weeks. You may find similar courses in your area.

Whatever you do, keep coding, whenever you have even a few minutes. Once you get rolling, it’s as addictive as Facebook. The more time you spend editing, running and debugging algorithms on your screen, the better — and better — you’ll get. Welcome to the club!

And lastly, apply for Hackbright Academy.

If you’re ready to change your career and become a coder or programmer, but don’t have the experience to get accepted into a bootcamp, apply for the Hackbright Prep by March 24. You’ll learn the foundations of programming, how to use necessary tools, and ultimately tackle the bootcamp application process. You’ll work with a one-on-one advisor to track your progress, create your own personal project, and expand your network in our community of like-minded women.

EXCLUSIVE SCHOLARSHIP OFFERS FOR OUR APRIL COURSES:

  • Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners is offering $1,000 scholarships | Apply here!
  • In honor of International Women’s Day this month, every student will receive a $500 scholarship for our Part-Time April courses!

Hackbright Academy is the leading engineering school for women in San Francisco dedicated to closing the gender gap in the tech industry offering 12-week software engineering programs and night courses for women.