Girl Develop It Buffalo teaches women to code, provides fellowship

Learning a new coding language can be intimidating, not to mention frustrating. Even with the plethora of online classes and free tutorial websites, you can still get stuck and easily feel discouraged and alone. Elena Moiseeva hopes to help those in western New York seeking to expand their skills and learn new coding languages with the Girl Develop It Buffalo Chapter.

Moiseeva,  a web desigpink-logoner who holds degrees in computer science and digital media, said she started the Girl Develop It Buffalo Chapter this year in order to get more involved in the tech community and so women could have a place where they could talk, ask questions and learn coding. She said tutorials and online learning are fine, but sometimes you get stuck and cannot get an example to work like it does online.

“Someone can look at your code and say, ‘You missed a comma there,’ and that saves you hours of frustration,” said Moiseeva.

Girl Develop It is an international non-profit organization with goals to “provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction.”

“It’s great because it already had infrastructure (in place) and people working on it for a couple of years,” said Moiseeva about the organization. Before starting her chapter, she spoke with the leader of the Pittsburgh chapter for help and tips with getting started.

“I can go and ask them question and have people help me brainstorm ideas,” said Moiseeva. “It had guidelines – how to start, what to do – and teaching materials for classes.  The name is out there, so it’s easier to build the community. It was a better package altogether. “

So far the chapter has had introductory classes on Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML and CSS, which is a class that Moiseeva taught herself.

“HTML and CSS are very popular because they are basic,” said Moiseeva. “Lots of people use it for styling e-mail newsletters.”

Although the organization is focused on teaching women, but men are welcomed too as long as they keep with the organization’s mission.

“We are open to men and women, as long as everyone supports our goal and mission to be supportive to help each other learn,” she said.

Classes range from one-day to a few hours held over several days and prices range, depending on the class’s length, from $20 to $80.

She said Buffalo has been a very supportive community and that two of her JavaScript teachers, Shawn Biddle and Sean Zawicki, donated their pay from teaching the class back to the organization. The money will go to scholarships for future students who want to attend classes.

Future classes might be on Drupal, WordPress, Sass (a more advanced level of CSS), LESS (a dynamic stylesheet language),  HTML 5, PhotoShop and responsive web design. She is open to ideas for future classes and welcomes community feedback.

Girl Develop It is about more than teaching, it is also about fostering community and Moiseeva schedules social outings like movie meetups and coffee and code nights where everyone is welcome to stop by a prearranged site (like a coffee shop) bring their laptops, work and chat.

To learn more about future meet-ups or to join the Girl Develop It Buffalo community, sign up for free for their group on MeetUp.com at http://www.meetup.com/Girl-Develop-It-Buffalo/.

Stories about Girl Develop It from other Buffalo Media:

International organization empowering women to code – WBFO 88.7

Local efforts seek to boost women in computer, IT fields – The Buffalo News