Girls bring your toys… I mean code!

The lovely ladies at Girl Geek Academy bring you a girls only hackathon. So what’s it like, and is it a good idea?

You will often hear conversations around “women in IT”, “girls in STEM”, “diversity in tech” and many other similar phrases. Well, this hackathon is aimed at changing those stereotypes. Rather than be an exclusive hackathon, #SheHacks aims to provide girls with the opportunity to experience a hackathon for themselves, giving them the confidence to go and compete at other hackathons. I had the pleasure of speaking to some of the ladies at #SheHacks. For many of them, it was their first hackathon, and they were always apprehensive about competing in these competitions as they are “for guys who code”.

Well we all know this is not the case, and anyone who has been to my hackathons know I encourage everyone and anyone to compete; coders, designers, hackers, business minds, interested folk, girls, guys, everyone! This makes for really diverse solutions and creative outcomes. #SheHacks simply provides an easy springboard into hackathons for women. It shows them that it’s not all about coding, that girls can do just as good as guys, and that, above all, these events are INSANELY FUN!!!

Girl Geek Academy knows how to hackathon
Girl Geek Academy knows how to hackathon

Fun, why did I mention fun? Now I have to talk about it. Sarah Moran and the team at Girl Geek Academy put on an AMAZING hackathon. From 3D printers, branded scarves, cookie cutters, Pokemon cake pops (yes, it was inspired by Pokemon GO I’m told), croissants, stickers, and tea… oh and was there an abundance of tea?!? Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE tea (remember the post I did about not drinking coffee, yes that one). I dunno how Sarah did it, but she somehow managed to find, not only a huge range of teas, but an entire tea set that matched the Girl Geek colour theme… yep, it’s pretty sweet right. I think I drank probably half a box of tea in the short time I was there.

Pokemon cake pops, popcorn and scones... YUMMY
Pokemon cake pops, popcorn and scones… YUMMY
Nothing like T2
Nothing like T2
It's a hackathon tea party
It’s a hackathon tea party

Back onto more important things, the hackathon. I should mention, I wasn’t able to be around the whole weekend, and therefore this post leaves out the winners and other things around pitching. If you want to know all about who won and the awesome ideas they created, check out #SheHacks on Twitter. Instead, I’ll write about what I experienced during my short time at General Assembly. The women I spoke to at this hackathon were incredibly exited by the prospect of a hackathon. Not only had many of them never done this sort of thing before, but most of the ladies hadn’t met others working within the tech/startup/dev space before. It is a great opportunity for them to network together, build on each others’ skills, share experiences, and have a great time. I met a heap of amazing people, and was able to give my insights into the tech space, startups, and hackathons in general. Many ladies are keen to come to another hack like this and hopefully we’ll see them around soon.

It was also a pleasure to see the new Xero Developer Evangelist, none other than Bec (Coder) Martin. She was in full form, with her new tees, Xero merch, tonnes of stickers (starting to rival Dev Steve), and the new coder, developer, evangelist barbie (what even?). Bec managed to pull this one off and Barbie even has her own girl geek scarf.

Coder Bec and Barbie in the house
Coder Bec and Barbie in the house

The other thing I loved about #SheHacks is the photographer… nice thinking girls! Sarah and the team organised a professional photographer to come and take portraits and head-shots of the attendees (I even got mine done). This is a fantastic way to give our LinkedIn profiles a fresh new, and dare I say it… professional, look. Getting this done in a group setting is not only cheaper, but it’s so much more fun!

Well, that’s about all I had time for at #SheHacks. I hope I get a chance to compete next year; bring it on girls! In the meantime, I’ll no doubt see many of you at more hackathons coming up. Don’t forget to check out the list here if you are unsure of what is on next. Until next time, happy hacking =)

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