1. gdidetroit:

    imageThis month, we interviewed GDI Detroit Founding Instructor Cara Jo Miller, Lead User Interface Designer at Simple Energy & Chapter Leader of GDI Boulder. Cara Jo helped us launch the Detroit chapter of Girl Develop It and taught numerous HTML & CSS classes before taking off for a new job in…

     

    gdidetroit gdiboulder girldevelopit 

  2. Software Patents and Social Responsibility

    Whether you’re a seasoned or newly-minted programmer, issues of intellectual property eventually affect some aspect of your procedure in development. At present, the complexity of software patenting does little to ease the headaches nurtured and often initiated by the legal process. But if you’re in NY on May 22nd you might have the opportunity to change that; and if you’re elsewhere on that date, there is likely a comparable opportunity near you.

    As preface, a few months ago, I was fortunate to attend a bi-coastal Software Patent Roundtable organized by the USPTO aimed at soliciting developer perspectives on this very issue, and articles abound addressing similar concerns. Mentions vary from direct indictments of poor patent practice, to legislative proposals for protecting industry in the startup community, to perhaps surprising and peripheral but probably necessary manuals for protection against cyber warfare. However disparate, these coalesce in a similar focus on the support of intellectual ingenuity and legal precaution in multiple computationally enabled contexts. One of the most insightful arguments at the roundtable on February 22nd came from a female representative at Google, Suzanne Michel, and more participation in such events from the Girl Develop It dev community might provide likewise important perspective. Here’s how you can help (invitation via community contact, Alicia Fischer):

    Call for Speakers - Developer Patent Summit 5/22

    Hey GDI members,

    Have you ever been sued by patent trolls, or do you have strong patent reform opinions? If you would like to speak out on the issue, the Developer Patent Summit in New York on May 22nd is your chance. 

    Software patent trolls are a looming threat for every innovative company working in the app development industry. A successful app or breakthrough in the market is an open invitation for abusive letters, licensing claims and lawsuits. Through a 15 city roadshow, the Application Developers Alliance is standing with thousands of developers and companies threatened by an antiquated patent system to fight back against the harmful effects of trolls and patent abuses.

    They’re stopping by Projective Space and need one or two more speakers to join the expert panel. If you’re interested, please contact chelsea@appalliance.org.

    Regardless of speaking, we hope you can make it to the free event, which promises to be both fun and insightful. Register here.

    Hope to see/hear you there :). Thanks for reading!

    Aurelia | aurelia@girldevelopit.com

     
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    DYK it’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day? I recently took a web accessibility workshop through Girl Develop It with Catarina and her TA Brian at Tamman Technologies. Although accessibility is such an important aspect of website development, it is often overlooked and not taken into consideration. There are four different types of disabilities to consider: visual, hearing, physical and cognitive. In the class slides I think Catarina explained it best when she wrote “many times, good design practices create accessibility as a side effect.” It is so easy to make your site accessible just by simple things like using h1 tags correctly and making sure your images have alt tags that give an appropriate description of what is being displayed. Making sure all of these things are done actually ends up helping your site’s SEO too! Just another benefit to web accessibility.
     

    web accessibility 

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    Great companies are vibrant, they can hardly contain themselves. It’s because they’re made by believers who want to find other believers and convert the rest.
    — 

    An email from Scott Kraft. (via zachklein)

    Strong people/companies don’t need strong leaders. They need strong allies. 

     
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    Empowering Women by Teaching: guest post by GDI Raleigh-Durham Chapter Leader Julia Elman

    Julia Elman: empowering women by teaching 10 January, 2013

    Many folks have been asking the following question: how to get more women involved in various programming communities? This questioning has led to great discussions about subsidized childcare at tech conferences and more focus on diversity in programming.

    My answer: Teach women to program.

    Last night, I had the pleasure of teaching my first class for Girl Develop It Raleigh/Durham. It’s an affordable opportunity for women who want to learn the basics about HTML and CSS. We had about 9 students and it was… well, awesome! By the end of the class, we were laughing and learning together. The students left with smiles on their faces and telling me how much fun they had programming.

    The other thing I learned tonight is that teaching women also empowers you as a teacher. A lot of us seasoned female veterans of programming have a lot of knowledge we can share. By getting involved and teaching other women how to program, you are not only empowering your students, but yourself too.

    So, it’s like that old saying, “Teach a man to fish and…”

    Wait… let’s change that to:

    Teach a woman to program and empower her for a lifetime.

     

    empoweringwomen girldevelopit 

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    Visit Pittsburgh August 16-17 for the Steel Ruby Conference. Girl Develop It’s Pittsburgh Chapter Leader Julie Pagano —  also organizes the conference! See more info via her blog post. 

    juliepagano:

    Some of you may know me as a chapter leader for Girl Develop It Pittsburgh (GDIPGH). I am also an organizer for Steel City Ruby Conf (SCRC), a conference in Pittsburgh focused on the Ruby programming language. Tickets go on sale this Friday, so I want to reach out and encourage people to join…

     
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    Every Girl Develop It Member Should Ask for Tuition Reimbursement, Here’s How to do It

    Many companies offer tuition reimbursement but employees rarely take advantage of it, either because they don’t know it’s available or they’re not sure of how to approach it. Becoming a valuable asset by strengthening or building new skills is a win-win for employees and employers alike. In this post, I’ll share tips and strategies to start the conversation and close the deal. 

    I approached my boss about taking a design class at University of the Arts during our site redesign last year. I made it clear aesthesis wasn’t my strong suit and it would help me do a better job with the project and others coming up.  Coupled with the steps I outline below, my request was granted and I was able to take the $545 eight-week class for free. 

    I’ve brought up the concept to a few Girl Develop It members. Our classes are $10 to $14 an hour and it should be an easy win to ask for compensation. So far, every member that has tried has been successful. For those that are a little apprehensive, the process is similar to a negotiation. It requires pre-planning to prepare and negate any issues that may appear. 

    Step 1: Have a plan

    • Align it with a project and lead with the interests of the company. Your chance of success will increase if your proposal is framed in terms of benefits to your coworkers or your company.
    • Demonstrate how your new skills will increase productivity and revenue. In my case, I mentioned our project pipeline and how improving my design skills will help us when we create new tools, redo our mailings, revamp other elements and so on.
    • Show studies of how it will impact the company in a positive way. These two links from NBER and eHow explain how tuition reimbursement attracts new talent, increases loyalty, reduces turnover, creates advancement opportunities, and improves productivity.  No one can argue with stats!

    Step 2: Anticipate problems that may arise

    • Reassure her or him you will not leave right afterwards. It’s a valid concern and you can offer to sign a contract if necessary (and if you’re comfortable with the idea).
    • Let them know it won’t impact your time at work. The last thing an employer wants to do is sign off on something that will take you away from your responsibilities, regardless of the long-time benefits. Look for options that allow you to attend night or weekend classes.
    • Guarantee a good grade. My company’s policy required I pay for the class upfront and my level of reimbursement directly correlated with my grade. A “B” or higher provided me with the full compensation while a “C” would give me half. A lower grade would mean I would NOT be reimbursed. It’s a fair policy as it ensures employees are taking the course seriously despite not paying out of pocket.
    • Offer to train other employees. As an added side-benefit, you can also suggest teaching other employees your newfound abilities and also help them boost their talent.

    When the answer is “No”

    • Offer to split the cost. When it’s clear the answer is no and you really want to attend a class, suggest dividing the bill before you pull out your check or credit card.
    • Don’t give up.  If the answer is still no, try again in a few months when the right opportunity arises. You’ve already won because you’ve showed initiative and your boss will file this away mentally for your next performance.

    It doesn’t have to be a long or nerve-wracking conversation. Bring it up during a status meeting or when the right moment presents itself. The more you focus on the benefits and advantages it’ll provide to your employer, the more successful you’ll likely be. What do you really have to lose? 

    This post was written by Yasmine Mustafa, Leader of Girl Develop It Philly. This post was taken from her blog at myasmine.com

     

    tuition reimbursement 

  8. r/ally your goals

    A few months ago, the Girl Develop It New York Chapter had the pleasure of hosting an Intro to Git/Version Control Workshop punctuated by a delightful visit and demo from Leah Eichler, a female entrepreneur building a mentoring app for women. r/ally pairs women with mentors in their domain of focus via an iOS application and modified gift economy. In a way, it allows you to crowdsource and version your aspirations under the guidance of other accomplished females in the field. As a beta tester, I can attest to [fun]ctionality and utility. 

    Read More

     

    r/ally mentoring female developers 

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    The way we try to recruit girls into STEM fields is all wrong. We typically compare them to some great woman or someone that has gone before them. We are saying, “Hey, you can be like Madam Curie or Sally Ride.” It is recruiting by intimidation. We need to change that message. We need to recruit by appealing to WHY we need them in STEM. We NEED you to help make the world a better place We NEED you to help discover the cure for cancer. We NEED you because you have the ability to change the course of humanity for the better.
    — 

    Tim Holt —Thoughts on why we still see the number of females in STEM fields fall way behind their male counterparts.

    (via holtthink)

     

    STEM