Monday, 29 April 2019

My First Experience as a Django girls Coach

Coaching at Django Girls Ho was a refreshing and eye-opening experience for me.

After attending my first ever Django Girls event at Capecoast in February as a mentee.  I worked on finishing my blog before the next event so I could apply as a coach but I wasn’t able to meet the target.
I refrained from applying as either a coach or mentee because I thought I didn’t have the experience to apply as a coach and I also didn’t want to take the space of someone with zero knowledge of Django since I already have the tutorial book from the previous event.




I was able to attend Django Girls Ho with the hope of finishing my blog at the event, through the help of some of the coaches. When the event started, I teamed up with Coach Barbara as an assistant coach+mentee.
It was her first experience as a coach and she had three mentees excluding myself. Therefore, I offered to mentor one of her mentee, Dzifa so she could concentrate on the other two.

Coaching Dzifa was really refreshing. I felt good that I was able to share my little knowledge of Django and Python with someone else and I was able to learn and understand more by teaching.
I was so nervous and I had to keep asking her severally if she really understands. I think i was  really able to calm down after the thumbs-up and support I got from her and other experienced coaches at the event.




It was really a fun and awesome experience and I hope I get to impact more knowledge and give back to the Programming community. Thanks to organizers, sponsors and the whole Python Software Community in Ghana for making these events available.





This blog was written by Rahmat Akintola.








Wednesday, 17 April 2019

PyLadies Night with Eva



She is a Python Developer, currently working at Getinnotized as a Technical Test Engineer. Her responsibilities include planning and executing tests on Web and mobile application. She writes and refactor automated tests on a daily basis. She also does code reviews with developers which has forced her to fall in love with Java, Javascript and PHP. She also leads the testing team at GetInnotized.

Eva leads /organizes codebar Accra, which is an organization that provides a safe-space for underrepresented people in Tech to connect, network and learn. Before Getinnotized, she was an Entrepreneur in Training at MEST, where she studied Software Engineering and Entrepreneurship.

Eva is in a transition phase to Data Science. She believes in everyone's responsibility to challenge the status quo and is happy PyLadies does challenge the status quo in our community. She also watches the movie "Hidden Figures" at least twice a week

Tell us one word that best describes you
I think "determined" is the word I will use

Has it been IT always? Or how did you venture into this field?
I studied computer science. To be honest I touched my first computer at 17 years of age. I wouldn’t say I have always been in Tech.

Did you have any mentors? Since it was quite new, what kept you going?
I am kenyan, we go to High school for 4 years, after that we stay home for around 6 months, after which we join college. My mum wanted me to be independent and she ask me to get a job. My first job was cleaning computers. My boss at the time forced me to learn word, excel, powerpoints etc After learning those, he took me to his lectures. He was working as a lecturer in university in Kenya. That way he became my first mentor. He wanted me to audit Technology courses and know where I wanted to be. After I knew I wanted computer science I went out looking for people who inspired me.

Tell us about the others
In my first year, I joined Google developers Group. In the group, there were a few ladies. I started hanging out with them, and they would take me to meet ups like andela, akirachix and other groups. In the GDG group, I started taking responsibilities, the leads there were willing to direct me and sometimes take a fall for mistakes I made.

Was it hard adapting as a lady. Even now do you think there are any hurdles for ladies in IT?
Yes, it was challenging. 90% of the time I was expected to be serving snacks instead of answering tough tech questions during events. Sometimes when I was in an assignment group there would be that guy who wouldn't want me to write code because I might not do it well. Like most of us in this group, I have asked myself whether I am really capable. All of you know that small voice in your head, right? For students, you know when you go to ask a question about a bug and the boy simply takes your computer and writes the whole program for you. In work area though, I have become more intentional about who affects me, but because I lead a team, I get to observe how women are treated. I think things are getting better everyday.

You have experience with Java, Javascript, php and then Python. Is there any thing about Python that stands out for you? What has your coding experience being so far?
Yes, it was challenging. 90% of the time I was expected to be serving snacks instead of answering tough tech questions during events. Sometimes when I was in an assignment group there would be that guy who wouldn't want me to write code because I might not do it well.
Like most of us in this group, I have asked myself whether I am really capable. All of you know that small voice in your head, right?
For students, you know when you go to ask a question about a bug and the boy simply takes your computer and writes the whole program for you. In work area though, I have become more intentional about who affects me, but because I lead a team, I get to observe how women are treated. I think things are getting better everyday.

How did you explore all these technologies? Any link to resources you use?
I am a big fan of videos. So youtube is my university. But I was given a trick by my boyfriend, he is Ghanaian by the way 😉 He said, "The best way to learn, is to just get the basics, then immediately build something". So I try to build something new every month. For Resources, I have tonnes. I will have to organize that into a roadmap so that it is useful for everyone.

Your portfolio must be a huge one. I mean of the projects you've built.
Haha, yes and no, I started this practice last year, sometime in November.

Please tell us about;
1. Your typical work day
I wake up at 07:00 Then exercise and prepare for work. I then get to work at around 0750.(I live where I work). From 8am-9am, I get to know what everyone is doing and if they have issues. From 9am to 5pm, I will be doing various tasks, including writing code and debugging. I read a lot, so I use minimum 2 hrs reading. Then I start coding until I fall asleep at around 12 o’clock midnight. Sometimes up to 2AM, and then begin again. Not all days are the same though. Haha, I don't balance. I have not figured that out yet. Maybe you ladies can help me with that. I do what gives me the greatest happiness and has a greater impact. I also allow myself to be imperfect. I exercise, I have few, very few friends who keep me grounded, then I talk to my God a lot.

2. Getinnotized
For getinnotized, I am a test automation engineer. My work entails a few things. I lead the Quality Assurance team. I do code reviews with developers. I write automated tests using selenium, appium, xunit frameworks. I also do a bit of DevOps which also comes with Continuous Integration. My work is to make sure the products we release are of top quality.

3. Codebar
For codebar, I organize meetups. The group is for underrepresented people in Tech,so we provide a space for them to learn, network and grow. You can check out codebar.io for more info. We have tutorials there, for beginners and the meetups take the model of student-teacher model

4. Hidden Figures
I am a lazy-movie-watcher. So I found hidden figures last month. I watched ladies who were out to make a difference and nothing was going to stop them. They worked day and night. Not only were they women in offices full of white male, they were also blacks in a segregated state. One of the ladies was a leader(Dorothy) that woman was willing to go over and beyond to create opportunities for women. If she was moving ahead, she made sure to bring her sisters with her. Dorothy learned Fortran programming language from a book!!
That left me super super inspired but also scared. I was scared because I have no excuse when someone asks me: "Other women are working in NASA, helping humanity explore space, what are you doing?" I don't know about you guys, but I am ready to do a lot so that I can have an answer for that

How can we reach you?
I prefer texting/whatsapping because I don't like my phone and I might not see your calls until I am forced to charge it 😁 @evagachirwa on twitter LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/evagachirwa/

QUESTIONS FROM PARTICIPANTS
If you’re in final year in school and you have now developed an interest in software development is it too late??
It is never late, I started programming actively in my last year in school. You just need to go out there and start, then get people to go on the journey with you. And most of all don't give up, because you will want to, but when you are most challenged, is the same time that you learn the most

You started computing at a young age, If the "older" You could give an advice to the "younger" You, what advice would she give her on learning to be a programmer?
To actively look for exposure. I will give you an example. I was studying computer science, I was learning how to code, but I was not actively coding until my last year of university. For 3 years I was comfortable going to class and going back home and relaxing like everyone else. Until, I applied for andela and it opened up the world for me. In less than 2 weeks I learned more than I had learned for 3 years in university. Imagine I started seeking these opportunities and exposure early. Get exposure and be daring.


COMMENTS
Wow, thanks so much Eva. I always get scared with coding but with this experience you shared, now I'm also going to hook my husband to help me come up like you.~ Precious

I’m inspired, thanks a million and a thumbs up for that guy who sees and encourages I can do it. ~ Anonymous

Great session Eva ! You're an inspiration❤❤❤.More Vim. ~ Pamela

The secret many never told us is, this journey is hard sometimes. ~ Saviour

This session was was interesting and inspiring ~ Anonymous

Thursday, 11 April 2019

PyLadies Tarkwa Meetup 1.0



As the first ever meetup for PyladiesTarkwa was planned to come off on 16th February, 2019, did happen, It was amazing seeing four ladies from different fields of engineering making time out of their busy schedule meet with one passion to learn how to code with the Python Programming Language at 12:30pm at the University of Mines and Technology, library discussion room.

The session started with building a network among the new faces seen. It was a very interactive session where we got to know each other's passions. After which there was an introduction from the coach who shared her experience. We then delved into the general overview of programming with python, opportunities available and also motivated the ladies to set goals in other to reach higher heights. All mentioned above constituted the informal session. Before the tutorial session started, the coach went round the tables and made sure each lady had their IDE installed and had Python running.
Looking at the encouraged faces of the ladies, we delved into Python, by learning the basics of programming with python. Most were surprised at seeing few lines of codes, executed very simple; they were inspired to learn more because it was easy.                              

Experiences:
Here are a few words from the participants about their experiences.
Fatima- Bint Ibrahim

The python programming language is a very easy and friendly language in terms of its syntax as compared to other programming languages. This makes it easy for individuals with little or no knowledge about programming get well acquainted to the programming world. From my perspective, I feel python is the best language to begin with when starting your programming journey.

PyLadies is a good initiative because it helps not only women offering computer related courses but also women from diverse fields to at least get a feel of programming without much stress but with little effort and dedication they are able to do wonders. This initiative just started and I’m already having a feeling it is going to be massive, more exciting and more inspiring as the years go by. With PyLadies Tarkwa, not only have I been able to learn the language, but I also have met women from diverse fields. This I believe will help broaden my horizon as we interact and share ideas.    ~ Fatima- Bint Ibrahim


~ Kate Walker


My enthusiasm to learn a programming language died down on my first lecture. I found it very boring. It seemed very complex too (maybe because of the kind of tuition I got). I lost interest at some point. Though I managed to pass my exam, I was not confident in my ability hence would not put it out anywhere that I could code.
I saw PyLadies Tarkwa as a chance to learn so I decided to go for it. The first meet up was a very exciting experience. Finding me amongst ladies like me who were ready to learn and share their knowledge was just the right atmosphere. At my first try, I was very excited and desired to continue. Python is very simple and easy to use. It was presented to us in a simple manner and tutored such that I found it very interesting.
I am very confident this would be an amazing learning experience. I look forward to solving problems around me with the knowledge and skills I would acquire. ~ Kate Walker

Having all the fun by experiencing python, time was not on our side, so we had to draw the curtains down and get to another fun session of photo shoot with the coach and participants and after which we had some refreshment. PyLadies Tarkwa's very first meetup was a success, very exciting and most of all, a daring one for me – but thanks to the Almighty God for granting us the opportunity to host this session. I am so happy.


We therefore say thank you to The Python Software Foundation (The PSF), Python Ghana, PyLadies Ghana and to the PyladiesTarkwa team.

This blog was written by Abigail Gyimah.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

My Experience at PyLadies Ho Meetup 1.0 - Code and Learn Session



In November last year, I attended the maiden PyLadies Ghana event in #HoCity hosted by PyLadies Ho at the Ho Node Hub.
PyLadies Ghana is an initiative under the Python Software Community in Ghana with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community.
The Ho event was part of a series of meetups that was held in some cities in Ghana.

It was a day (few hours) event with a lightning talk from the PyLadies Ghana lead Abigail Dogbe, followed by installation party session (led by me!), and later the tutorial session lead by Kafui, the lead for Python Ho community.

The sessions were all fun and very exciting for me and the ladies. I had to take over Kafui’s team as a coach so he could lead the tutorial session. It was my first time coaching ladies through programming and the feeling was great! Especially since my team had #pyfun coding with kindness.

The event was not just filled with programming, far from it. We had occasional ‘social media sprints’, where participants and coaches took selfies and posted on twitter with the hashtag #pyladiesho. It was really fun!!! Then we sang rhymes (I know!) in between sessions and danced to our hearts content!
With the help of our amazing coaches who volunteered to guide the ladies in learning python, the event was very successful and impactful and here’s what some participants and coaches have to say!


“PyLadies Ho was amazing. That was my first experience at coaching, and coincidentally my birthday (Yay!). I must say I even learnt more about the language being a coach than a participant. The Python community is one of a kind, very supportive and encouraging. I feel that should be a priority for any organization.” – Martha (Coach)


 “It was a great experience learning to code for the first time. My coach was helpful too.”
– Faustina (Participant)


Being part of the maiden PyLadies Ho has further fueled my zeal to encourage more women and girls into STEM just like what the community is doing.
Big thanks to the sponsors who made this possible; The Python Software Foundation (The PSF) and Ho Node Hub. Also, kudos to the amazing organizers, wonderful coaches who volunteered, the awesome participants of PyLadies Ho and above all, the PyLadies Ghana team!!! Let’s grow together!

PyLadies Ho has come to stay and we look forward to more enlightening and fun events in the future!
PyLadies Ho to the world!!! 


This Blog was put together by Pamela Klutse, an ardent member of PyLadiesHo.