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Women's DIY for Software Development

Recently the Women’s DIY Series hosted the successful launch of a new event series called Women's DIY: Learn Together, Develop It Yourself in the ThoughtWorks Chicago office. Founded by two ThoughtWorks programmers, the series aims to get more women engaged in programming, with a goal of providing a supportive environment where women can work together and grow their development skills. In addition, Women’s DIY Series encourages women to go beyond basic HTML, JavaScript, and Rails to explore other technologies.


The first workshop took participants through the process of building a mobile app with Android. The event was structured as a full day of coding, where participants worked through a tutorial in small groups. Each group of three had a coach available to pair and answer questions. There were more than 30 participants, ranging from people who were fairly new to coding to people who already had some experience with Java. There were college students, professionals considering a career change, and even retirees.

The participants gave lots of positive feedback about what they learned, the support they received from their coaches, and the way they could move at their own pace through the tutorial. They also enjoyed being able to meet other women who were interested in programming. At the end of the day, one of the participant's completed apps was used to choose which pub to visit for drinks! (The tutorial built a 'decision maker' app.)

Positive feedback from the participants included:

  • “Excellent work by ThoughtWorks, very well organized. Keep up the good work. Coaches were very helpful and friendly. Enjoyed every second being there as it was very interesting.”
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and hope there will be many of this sort of programs in weeks to come. "
  • "It was well organized and completely focused. I learned more in a few hrs. than I had over the last 2 wks."
  • "The fact that so many women from all walks of life were gathered for a common purpose, to learn something that has been reserved for the 'boys' club' in the past, is monumental. And don't forget the fact that the support staff were extremely proficient in their respective fields; the guys included! Can't leave them out. But it was 'Ladies' Day.' Thank you, and I'll be there for the next one."

As we evolve both the physical spaces and perceptions of our offices around the US and the world, ThoughtWorks is moving towards a community-based model in which technology groups and social organizations are welcomed into our spaces. This event was no exception to what we’ve found time and time again: that we are invigorated by the passion and excitement shown by members of our community that come to learn with us in our spaces. The participants all proved to be extremely motivated, fast learners, and had as much fun as we did.

Women’s DIY Series plans to hold an AngularJS workshop this summer in Chicago. If you’d like to attend a future event, connect with Women's DIY on their website, Meetup or Twitter. Check out more photos of the event. 

If you’re interested in hosting an event in our space in Chicago, USA, please get in touchSee all of ThoughtWorks’ upcoming events here.