(Photo via Meetup)
We all know that it’s tough out there for a woman in tech. The industry’s gender gap is real, entrenched and problematic. Ultimately, systemic change at all levels is necessary to change the narrative.
Of course, this won’t happen overnight or all at once. So here’s one idea for a place to start — encouraging women to learn coding skills in a supportive environment that meets their needs. Good news: This is something that the D.C. area tech scene excels at.
Want to make learning to code (or maybe just adding to your already badass coding skills) your New Year’s resolution? Go for it, girl! Find a community that meets your needs by checking out these six active Meetup groups:
- Women Who Code DC: The D.C. branch of this global nonprofit is the largest of the women-focused coding groups in the area with over 2,700 members on Meetup. The group holds recurring Python, Ruby on Rails and front-end hack nights, often directly targeting the needs of first timers and beginners. These “study groups” are free to attend. Women Who Code DC does far more than just coding classes, though — for example they recently launched this mentorship program.
- Girl Develop It DC: This group teaches “affordable and accessible” workshops for women interested in web development. While Girl Develop It certainly focuses on appealing to and serving women (just take a look at all that pink), the group welcomes men as instructors, sponsors and students. As organizers say, “We’re women-inclusive, not women-only.” Amber Stratford founded and leads the D.C. branch of Girl Develop It — learn more about her story in this Technical.ly profile.
- Hear Me Code: Shannon Turner taught herself to code, and then founded this “by women for women” group that teaches beginning coding classes, for free, on the weekends. The group prides itself on being a safe space for true beginners — declaring that 85 percent of students have never coded before. Hear Me Code strives to be more than just a class, though. It’s also a great network of resources for women working in #dctech — lots of sharing happens in their active Google Group.
- Rails Girls DC: The name here is self-explanatory — Rails Girls DC focuses on teaching Ruby on Rails. You can attend their weekly classes in person in Vienna, Va., or in the comfort of your home/office via Google Hangouts.
- DC PyLadies: Another language-specific group — DC PyLadies hosts workshops of various levels for developers and aspiring developers working with Python.
- Ladies Who Code: Already know how to code? Then Ladies Who Code could be the perfect place for you to “make new friends, and to bounce ideas off [fellow lady coders] to keep improving [your] coding skills.”
Of course, there is far more to tech than coding, and women working in other areas need support and opportunities too. Stay tuned for more on D.C. organizations that focus on other aspects of women in tech through sponsorship, funding and more.
Did we miss anything? Got the name of an active group in D.C. that teaches women to code? We’d love to hear about it! Tweet us @TechnicallyDC, or comment below.