Curtains Up: Learn IT, Girl ! 3rd Edition.

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After a long wait, Learn IT, Girl! 3rd Edition is back on track where we shall be pairing up mentors & mentees all across the world to help the mentee learn a programming language of her choice and build an awesome project during the course of it. We are extremely delighted to announce that the application period of 3rd Edition of the program has begun already. In 2nd Edition, 150+ pairs from around 30 countries participated in this one of a kind virtual mentorship program to come up with projects in ~15 different programming languages & frameworks and this time we aspire for supplemented outreach.

Do you want to learn a new language with the help of a mentor ? It doesn’t matter if you are an absolute newbie or an experienced coder. Apply to become a mentee!

Want to help a girl learn a new programming language ? Want to show her the best practices and tricks while she builds her own project ? Apply to become a mentor!

Along with an amazing opportunity to interact with a mentor to learn skills beyond coding and project development, we also provide a curated list of learning resources from Android, HTML/CSS, Javascript, C#, C/C++ to Git, SQL, Swift, VB.NET, MongoDB, PHP, Python, etc. Don’t forget to check them out at our open-source web platform: www.learnitgirl.com 😊

Come join the bandwagon, apply latest by September 1, 2017.

In the meantime, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for regular updates and stay connected. In case of any questions, feel free to comment below or simply drop us an EMail at learnitgirl.office@gmail.com and we shall be happy to assist you.

Love,
The Learn IT, Girl! Team

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The Last Day Of Work!

To all the mentors and mentees, yesterday was the last day, yes you heard it right, the very last day of the program.

We have been amazed and humbled by the work done and efforts put in by each one of you. The journey was made rewarding by witnessing the growth in knowledge and confidence undergone by all.

The mentees – We are proud of your desire to learn and that you had the courage to see it through by working hard the past 12 weeks. We hope you will take back fond memories and continue to work on your projects. Perhaps we will see some of you as mentors in our upcoming editions.

The mentors – You enabled us to make this program a success. Your dedication has empowered minds to take on self challenges and grow into more productive individuals. We hope the bond formed will be lasting and you will continue to be a source of guidance for the mentees.

The final evaluation forms have just been sent out, fill them up! The passing mentors and mentees will receive their diplomas next month.

Continue to follow our activities on Facebook and Twitter and write to us if you have any questions!

“Learn IT, Girl” second edition: the numbers

Hi all,

It is already week 5 into the program and we hope you are as excited as we are about how the program is advancing! We know the start is always difficult, but we know the learning is always rewarding.

The first four weeks have been very intense for the organizer group too, preparing, fixing and rematching. With our participant base more stable now, we want to share with you some of the great numbers that make us excited this year: 750+ applications, 300+ participants, 14 languages and 30+ countries. Thank you for being part of “Learn IT, Girl”. Enjoy!

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Dig In, Get Comfortable.

We are finishing the fourth week of the Second Edition of “Learn IT, Girl!” Wow, that is some progress and a dream for us on the organizers team. Seeing the enthusiasm to teach and learn, we are glad to be able to provide a platform that acts as a bridge for both these desires.

Now that we are already here, in our process of learning and teaching, let’s make the most of this opportunity. Let us make the most out of this and not be held back by anything. Believe it or not but something as small as hesitation might be holding us back from a wonderful experience and we won’t even be aware. So let us talk about that. This is especially for the mentees who are making their first attempt at undertaking a technical project. We applaud your efforts already! The first project we do always gets more bugs than are fair for one project but don’t you worry, we are here and these are our two cents on the approach to be taken:

 

No question is stupid!

We have been told this since elementary school and it still holds good. So it doesn’t matter where you are stuck, the error could be as small as a typo (that happens more often than you think). Whatever problem you have, search for it, Stack Overflow will surely come to your rescue and you won’t feel alone in having that problem. And if you still don’t find it, ask your dear mentors. They are happy to help but be patient in your queries. And most of all, don’t hesitate!

Don’t Quit.

Everything at once is overwhelming and we are aware of that. But perseverance will get you there. Stuck on a problem for hours? Don’t worry, sleep on it, things will be clearer in the morning. And if they are not, start over from the beginning. It might happen that things suddenly start working and you will never know what the bug was (insider secret 😉 ).

Don’t Pressurize Yourself.

The 12 week time-line of this program is not an ultimatum to produce a marvel. The whole purpose was to introduce and initialize enthusiasts into a topic they wanted to study. And if you walk away with a feeling of having learned something, our job is done. Build a small functioning application in the given time (so we have something to evaluate) and you are free to build that project further after the program.

 

A small tip for the mentor:  You are there to help, but make sure your mentee doesn’t feel reservations in contacting you. The regular inquiries for updates have your good intentions at heart but your mentee might feel embarrassed when the progress is not significant. Make them feel comfortable, make yourself warm and welcoming. We know our mentees are in good hands!

Wishing all our members happy coding hours and hope to see what has been brewing in the kitchens during the mid-term evaluations!

Getting Down To Work : First Week in Review

The much awaited second edition of “Learn IT, Girl!” kicked off this week and everyone involved was pleasantly surprised and inspired by the amount of participation seen, a huge amount of mentors and mentees applied with 161 successfully matched pairs. The process was perhaps not so smooth for a few participants and every attempt was undertaken to fix all issues and ensure a memorable experience.

On to the first week, a week full of excitement and introductions, a time to get to know each other! For some these interactions transcended borders and time zones, perhaps setting off a butterfly effect for community building. This post focuses on what the mentees were up to as they are the whole purpose of this program, the entire endeavor is paid off if the applicant walk off with their sack of knowledge a little bit heavier from when they began.

The languages and projects we see are as diverse as the participants themselves, with languages varying from Java, Python, C++, JavaScript, Ruby, C# , Swift and Php. The projects are ambitious and innovative. Some test the waters as beginners while others aim at head on tackling of complex implementations.

We have projects based on Data Encryption System, Artificial Intelligence and Search Engines and we have high hopes to see the results upon completion.

A particular project that caught our attention is MyVoc by Joanna that aims to create a user made dictionary of words that aims to improve your vocabulary and provide point system to keep you motivated.

It seems as if many of our mentees feel the need of the fun element in projects (and we couldn’t agree more!) so have decided to work on games ranging from theme of Chess, Pong, Maths (yes that can be fun too) , Tic Tac Toe and a project that brings a much loved memory game played when young to the electronic dimension.

It’s not all play in our mentee workshop with many utilities applications coming up like Mood Tracker, Electronic Bookshelf,  Appointment Maker and a Healthy Life Organizer all aiming to make our lives just a little more sorted and productive.

The air smells fresh, spirits run high as a journey (quest perhaps) for knowledge is undertaken by the enthusiastic mentees. There will be a lot to learn about programming and themselves in the weeks to come and it will all conclude in about three months time! Wishing everyone the very best, may you work to the best of your abilities and enhance them further!

The “Learn IT, Girl” team

Let’s get started!

The day has arrived! Today, the second edition of “Learn IT, Girl” has started! We are excited imagining all the wonderful projects you will create, the friendships you will make and the experience you will accumulate. We want this journey to be a wonderful experience for all of you, which is why we have put together some dos and don’ts for mentors and mentees that we hope will help you getting started.

This week you should have your first mentor/mentee meeting over Skype or Hangouts to start getting to know each other and think about which topics excite you for the project. By the end of the week you should have updated your project proposal on the websiteto the final proposal you have worked on with your mentor. You also need to start defining your roadmap and create weekly tasks on your dashboard to keep track of your work.

This week you should also create a Github repository and update the link in our website. Make sure you put a link to the repository you will be working with and not your Github profile! Feel like brushing up Git a little bit? You can check our learning materials or this two-hour course. Remember that you can always check the timeline to see what will happen every week.

But the most important thing is for you to learn. Your mentor is here to help you through this journey, so don’t be shy if you have a doubt. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Every week you will make some steps and, no matter how big or small, these will help you reach your goal. Celebrate every step together with your mentor!

As always, we are here to help, so feel free to contact us at learnitgirl.office@gmail.com if you have any questions.

The “Learn IT, Girl” team

 

Welcome mentors! Let past mentors inspire you

Tomorrow “Learn IT, Girl” will finally start its second edition. After months of hard volunteering work, we are both moved and excited about this achievement. More than 150 pairs of mentors and mentees will start a wonderful journey into coding and creating. And for some, this may be their first mentoring experience. We want to let you know you are not alone. In November 2014, when the first edition of “Learn IT, Girl” started, a group of mentors started a similar journey being as excited as you are now. Here are some of their experiences, along with others from Google Code-In or Google Summer of Code. We hope their advice guides you and inspires you through the journey you will start tomorrow.

Katerina Trajchevska is a Software Engineer and web-enthusiast who co-founded Adeva IT. She was a PHP mentor during the first edition of “Learn IT, Girl”.

Have to say, mentoring someone online can be quite a challenge. You can’t use the common techniques and have to find alternative and creative ways to explain something. There was some drawing, code snapshots and lots of draining skype sessions. But, it was fun! Trying to get the best out of someone, and the best out of yourself actually, when you face different limitations can really boost your creativeness. And there’s that feeling of pride and satisfaction when everything ends and you know you helped a young girl find her place out there. I don’t think there’s anything more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.

You can read her entire experience here.

Pramiti Goel is a Software Engineer and tech-enthusiast from India interested in algorithms, data structures and machine learning. She was an Android mentor during the first edition of “Learn IT, Girl”.

My experience last year was stimulating. I initially got to know she wanted to revise java before jumping into any framework, so in my first week I gave few coding quests to get her hands on java. In the following 3 months, I learnt a lot about mentoring. If she finds her task difficult, split it into smaller doable tasks. If she is a beginner, be patient, as she will take time to figure out things. If she loses hope, give her some assignments and keep praising for her good work, which will boost her confidence in that language. Keep talking to your mentee if she hesitates to tell you where she is going wrong

Alma Castillo Antolin is a final year master student focusing on user interfaces and mobile development. She was a Java mentor during the first edition of “Learn IT, Girl”. She has also been an Android mentor at Google Summer of Code.

My advice is: tasks should be short, as there will always be things to improve, especially in the beginning. Addressing these as soon as possible will avoid making the mentee feel frustrated when having to rework on something big. Setting a deadline is a great way to tell your mentees what you exactly expect from them, so they can easily assess if they are meeting it. Regular meetings will help review the current state of things and create an open environment for all sorts of seemingly stupid questions, making everything run much more smoothly. It is also great to open some informal communication channel to reply to quick questions and unblock mentees. 

Video meetings are essential. The amount of information that can be transmitted in an email is not even close to what can be said during a video meeting. They are the greatest tool to explain things clearly and quickly and they are also the best way to get to know each other better and trust each other more, making communication much more fluid.  

You can read her entire advice here.

Tapasweni Pathak is a Software Developer at SAP Labs in India. She is involved in Open Source and writes on her blog and Quora. She has been a Django mentor for Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In.

My tips are: be nice, be respectful, be patient. Encourage questions. Be responsive. Get to know your mentee. Help them in the way they need to. Plan things early. Help them to stick with it.

Being a mentor, I learnt managing different things at the same time. My personality improved. I didn’t realise I could lose my patience easily until I was tested. I learnt how important it is to be polite with your mentee when they are asking questions. Helping someone learn something easily made me happy. When teaching my mentees, I refreshed my concepts and that also helped me understand them better.

Dinu Kumarasiri is a Software Engineer from Sri Lanka. She writes on her blog. She was a mentee during the first edition of “Learn IT, Girl” and has been an Android mentor for Google Summer of Code and Google Code-In.

There is no more satisfaction than your mentee figuring out a concept with your help, which she/he didn’t understood earlier. Mentoring is not doing your mentee’s work. It is to show the mentee how to do a certain thing. If your mentee didn’t understood anything or faced some trouble, first teach him/her how to Google. If the issue is still there find out some great articles/videos yourself and send them to your mentee. If the problem is not still solved, then tell in your own words how to do it. You can chat or video call for better results.

Different people will have different learning methods. You have to understand what suits your mentee and suggest learning material according to it. Always expect the unexpected. Something very easy to you may be very difficult for your mentee. Have patience and spend some time on the topic until your mentee gets that. If you do not know what your mentee is asking, be truthful about it. Then you can both look for a solution. When you review your mentee’s work be objective. Give your feedback with positive and negative points. Always give her/him chance to improve. 

Jigyasa Grover is an Open source crusader, feminist by heart. She is the Director of Women Who Code Delhi and she is pursuing a Bachelor in Computer Science and Engineering at Delhi Technological University. She has been a SmallTalk mentor for Google Code-In.

My past experience tells me that mentoring is a rewarding experience, both personally and professionally. One gains a new perspective of thinking and gets to advance technical skills by learning together with the mentee. I never knew my answers and feedback to simple questions could be the cause of someone’s high spirits. 

The journey in this field will urge one to shed all the inhibitions, keep pride aside and dive into this worthy mission of building a powerful community.  I am also of the view that by being a mentor to a newbie, we pay our regards to the computing sphere and its fraternity. Helping the mentee have a smooth transition into the tech world helps make long-lasting associations and ensure a better future.