Today, PyCon Zimbabwe, a four-day conference that aims to increase the visibility of developers started. The conference brings together people of different knowledge and skill levels in Python to share knowledge through talks, tutorials, and coding exercises that are conducted during the conference.
The conference itself is a paid one but they also host a free workshop during the conference called Django Girls. The workshop is part of a larger community of similar workshops conducted around the world. The workshop is held so that it helps increase the number of women in the programming or tech industry by teaching them how to code.
At the Django Girls workshop, the room was filled with more women than men. This is something that you don’t necessarily see at a tech related event but given how this is specifically targeted to women, it was expected. There were more than 25 women in the room which is way above what Anna Makarudze, the organizer of the workshop, considered success. According to her, holding the event and getting someone to come is a success.
During the workshop, the women were given tutorials to follow on their individual laptops. Every person could work at their own pace and if they were faced with any challenges, there were instructors in the room waiting to assist them. For this year’s Django Girls, 3 of the instructors were ladies who attended the previous year’s workshop.
Anna also said that once the women have attended the conference, there are a number of other platforms set up to help them continue learning. One of them is PyLadies which a community of Python lady programmers who meet monthly to learn and share knowledge. There is also a WhatsApp group and a mailing list that share more information on Python coding.
The reason behind these platforms being setup is because Django Girls understand that very few if any can learn to program deeply in a day. So they have these platforms available to those women who would take the initiative to continue their coding adventures after seeing what the possibilities are after attending the workshop.
From the previous workshops that have been held, Anna indicated that several of the women who attended ended up getting Python related jobs. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get a job just because you attended the workshop but it will get you started on the right path. Tell us what you think about such events and communities.