The she codes; Annual Hackaton

A week and a half ago I attended the annual she codes; hackathon. I came there to deliver a talk about JavaScript. I had so much fun! I feel really bad that I could only attend one day out of the three. In a nutshell, dozens of women, from all backgrounds and experience levels, gathered together for an entire weekend(!!) of coding. The more experienced ones divided into groups and worked on their own ideas, and the beginners (with no programming background whatsoever) had a more structured program with lectures about HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and a defined project to work on (a photo album).

Photo credit to the she codes; team

Photo credit to the she codes; team

Like I said, I came there to deliver a lecture about JavaScript for the beginners and to mentor the beginner Web developers and the advanced .NET developers. I must admit I didn’t have very high hopes from this whole beginner thing (you might have gathered from my previous posts that I’m a big skeptic). Boy, was I wrong! The beginners did such an amazing job. Unfortunately, this was all on their local machines so I have no way to share the results with you. But I was truly amazed. They did complex CSS animations, and used Bootstrap (which totally confuses me, BTW) and some even added a search feature.

So I’m writing here for two reasons. First, to share the resources from my talk. Second, to tell you about she codes; and what we do. she codes; is an Israeli organization whose goal is to promote women in the high-tech industry. We hold weekly “hack nights” in 9 branches across Israel.  We welcome women from all backgrounds, all interests and all levels of experience. The organization also does a lot of work with young girls and high school students. I can tell you a lot more about us, but I think that one of our newest members described it the best:

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And for the Hebrew-challenged, here’s a very unprofessional translation:

Browsing around Face, suddenly a post pops up: signup for the shecode hackathon. I think to myself what is a hackathon and how do you even pronounce it? And what is shecode anyway and who added me to this group… I read the post and get curious. Send an interrogating message to almost all attendants ‘say, who is this intended for? I don’t have any experience… Will I have what to do there?’ Almost everyone answer decisively – sign up quickly we’re about to run out of places! I sign up. Thursday arrives and you need to be somewhere on Rothschild st. Wondering what to do, to go or not to go, I don’t know anyone maybe it won’t be a good fit. I find myself at the Facebook offices. A very graceful young lady named Ruth welcomes me smilingly, takes interest, asks for my name and who I am. I try to tell my life story quickly but, as everyone knows, the elevators there are fast… And the elevator goes up insanely quickly, suddenly I’m on top of all of Tel Aviv and the door opens. I don’t know what to expect, thinking again I made a fool of myself and I made a mistake and they’re about to realize that I don’t know anything and tell me that it’s not a fit. I enter a huge transparent space filled with smiling women who are happy I made it. I don’t even have time to tell them I don’t know what code or software are or how to build a Website and I feel a real embrace in the air. The event starts and I still don’t get where I got, told my parents I wouldn’t be there for Shabbat, when they heard why the asked if everything was OK and if they should be worried and come over (they thought I went out of my mind… I’m a literature teacher after all). The lectures are given by inspiring women, I’m sure I won’t be able to understand a thing but hey, there’s a great vibe here so why not listen to some more. And the material continues and suddenly I understand a little. Ha, so that’s how the Internet is built? Ah, so that’s how you write a site’s title? And another lecture, and another realization and some more practice and the moment I break and think about going home a mentor appears and helps me arrive at a solution, shows me that it’s possible and mainly that I can do it on my own with the right patience and will. I did not believe I would survive three days. I did not believe that in such a short time I could meet friends who are like a family, enjoy the warm atmosphere, learn and understand a world that has been strange to me and unfamiliar and light-years away. So thank you to whoever it is who planted something new in me and opened a new world that did not before exist in my consciousness. Thank you to all the initiators, the volunteers, to this entire moving staff, to all the amazing girls who participated. There’s no doubt I got out with a lot of new knowledge. More than I imagined I’d get out with, but mainly… mainly I got out with a goal and a new family!
See you at the Google campus