I was born and raised in Elmhurst, NY to immigrant parents from Bogota, Colombia. I’m a self-taught developer, currently pursuing a masters in Computer Science at Pace University and completing an Engineering Fellowship at NYC Opportunity. I’ve been working as a developer since July 2015 and community has played a huge role in my career.
I’d never thought about the impact community can have on your well-being until I started learning to code and realized how terrifying and overwhelmning it can be. Early on in my engineering career I began seeking out communities where I’d feel safe, heard, and welcomed. Below I highlight four of them (sorted in alphabetical order) in the hope that maybe one will be a fit for you:
- CodeNewbie: https://www.codenewbie.org
- Tech Ladies: https://www.hiretechladies.com
- Women Who Code: https://www.womenwhocode.com
- Write/Speak/Code: http://www.writespeakcode.com
“CodeNewbie started as a weekly TwitterChat to connect people learning to code by Saron. Since then it’s grown into a supportive, international community of people learning to code.”
3 reasons I love CodeNewbie:
- The CodeNewbie and Base.cs podcasts are fantastic. If you want to learn about others experiences, developer tools, or other tech organizations, listen to CodeNewbie. If you want to learn Computer Science foundations, listen to Base.cs (co-hosted and inspired by Vaidehi Joshi’s basecs series).
- The TwitterChat is always thought-provoking and you can be as involved as you want. My schedule usually doesn’t line up so I check out the thread afterwards to see what’s being discussed.
- CodeNewbie runs a yearly conference called Codeland. It’s beginner friendly, inclusive, and informative!
My experience with CodeNewbie:
I came across CodeNewbie because it showed up in a search for engineering podcasts and have been hooked since. It was 2015, I’d already started my internship at Stealthwerk and was looking for resources. I fell in love with Saron’s honesty and openness, the candid conversations she has with guest speakers, and the breadth of topics covered.
The CodeNewbie podcast exposed me to CSS Tricks, Impostor Syndrome, Free Code Camp, Write/Speak/Code, Web Animations, Web Performance, Data Science, and a bunch of other topics. Being able to get this information early on in my career was pivotal because it helped me figure out the type of engineering I was interested in, and exposed me to resources to help me grow as a developer.
As a way to give back, I volunteered at the Codeland 2018 conference in NYC and really enjoyed it! I found the conference to be beginner-centric and the community was as welcoming in real life as it is online. I would’ve loved to have had it as a resource when I was first starting off. During the conference I met fellow volunteer, Margaret E. Ikeda. A few months later she tweeted about an Engineering Fellowship at NYC Opportunity where she’s a PM Apprentice. I reached out her and she helped me prepare my application. We’ve been working together since early September!
Side note: CodeNewbie has a Patreon where you can donate!
“Tech Ladies connects women with the best jobs and opportunities in tech. We connect companies with the best techmakers. Above all else, we’re a community.”
3 reasons I love Tech Ladies®:
- The Facebook group is amazing, and has over 26,000 members!
- They have an online job board full of companies they vouch for as having healthy work cultures for women. You’re also provided a direct contact to the organization, which ensures your application is seen.
- The community is open to women across tech roles (business, operations, engineering, entrepreneurship) and is international so you get a wide range of topics being discussed and viewpoints chiming in on the questions you pose to the group.
My experience with Tech Ladies®:
I first came across Tech Ladies® by word of mouth. My friend, and fellow engineer, Jennifer Refat invited me to join the Facebook group and I’m so grateful she did! Since then Tech Ladies® has sprouted into a suite of resources offering a job board, webinars, in-person events throughout the US, and founding membership which comes with its own suite of benefits.
I personally found immense value by searching through the group posts when I was trying to figure out whether I should pursue a graduate degree, and again when trying to figure out how to get started as a freelance web developer. I’ve invited a bunch of fellow tech ladies to the group and give back by offering feedback or making a connection whenever someone posts in the group and I’m able to help.
“WOMEN WHO CODE offers benefits and services to help you achieve your career goals.”
3 reasons I love Women Who Code:
- They have a huge array of resources: weekly newsletter, online job board, coding and leadership resources, scholarships, meetups (worldwide), and a yearly conference called WWC Connect.
- They offer conference ticket giveaways and financial support to attend.
- The community is welcoming to (and supportive of) beginner, mid, and senior engineers.
My experience with Women Who Code:
I’ve been a member of Women Who Code the longest and it’s been pivotal in my development as a software engineer from day one. I joined while I was still learning to code (the second time around), without a job prospect in sight. Joining Women Who Code enabled me to meet others who were learning to program (like me at that time), and those who were further along in their careers (like I aspired to be). This was inspirational, eye-opening, and liberating. It helped me stay on track when I felt like quitting or negative self-talk kicked into high gear.
Women Who Code took me to Seattle to attend WWCode Connect in 2016 and Mountain View to attend Google I/O in 2017. Both trips were possible because of financial assistance and a gifted conference ticket provided by/through WWCode. I give back by letting others know about the organization and by being involved as a Lead with WWCode NYC. As a Lead in NYC, you host at least one event per year and support other Leads with their events, which can involve finding a host, speakers, or helping with logistics on the day of the event.
Side note: WWCode has an online donate page!
“Write/Speak/Code is on a mission to increase the visibility and leadership of women and non-binary coders through thought leadership, conference speaking, open source contributions, career development, personal growth and self-care.
Data scientists, software engineers, eBook publishers, designers, VPs of Engineering —and more!— have taken their career to the next level at our conferences, events, and local chapters across the US.”
3 reasons I love Write/Speak/Code:
- Their yearly conference is phenomenal!
- They are beginner-friendly and offer huge value to mid and senior engineers, which I find is hard to come by.
- They have a booming Slack community and offer a breadth of meetups nationwide.
My experience with Write/Speak/Code:
Write/Speak/Code is hands down the most inclusive and warm welcoming in-person community I’ve experienced as a newcomer. They do an amazing job thinking about everyone within the community and making sure it remains inclusive and safe.
I had the privilege of volunteering with them at the 2018 Write/Speak/Code Conference and can say, with 100% certainty, that they take to heart all the feedback they receive from the community and implement change as quickly as humanly possible. As someone who is looking to advance from a junior to mid-level engineer, the Write/Speak/Code community is a perfect fit.
Other communities I think are wonderful but, sadly, haven’t been as involved in (in alphabetical order):
- Free Code Camp: https://www.freecodecamp.org
- An online community where you can learn to code using free online courses, programming projects, and interview preparation for developer jobs.
- GirlDevelopIt: https://www.girldevelopit.com
- Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their every day lives.
- Women Techmakers: https://www.womentechmakers.com
- Google’s Women Techmakers program provides visibility, community, and resources for women in technology. They host a yearly International Womens Day conference and offer curated resources for early, mid and senior career levels.