Educate women and girls to create the next wave of skilled female technologists.
Inspire change by encouraging gender parity in tech.
Foster social coding by creating a space that makes it easy to collaborate on code.
she.codes is like one of those games where you level up a character's set of skills. Except that character is actually you, and the skills are actually useful!
We challenge you with quests and provide you with pointers to resources. You then go out into the wild forests of the Internets and pick up the gems of wisdom others put there for you. Get sidetracked as you like, but please return safely home, where you can show off what you've learned by taking the final quiz of each section. Answering correctly will level up your set of skills and will unlock the next level. You will earn badges for special achievements, like helping out a fellow coder that got stuck.
Instead of putting you into a closed learning environment, we teach you how to use the Internet in order to learn to build the Internet. We curate online resources such as free interactive tutorials, screencasts, text books, and podcasts, filling in the blanks where needed.
As you explore the world of programming, you will encounter and team up with other she.coders to collaborate on assignments. Your peers will come from all over the planet, and you will have voice conversations while you code with them. When you have finished an assignment, more experienced members of the community will review your code and give you feedback. Soon, you will be the one to give feedback, and you will level-up your code review skills by doing so.
You will never be alone, and you will soon pass on what you've learned while picking up new techniques from your fellow coders.
Once you are advanced enough, the assignments will turn into more serious challenges, and what you do starts to affect other people's lives. For example, we might assign you to a non-profit, open-source project that implements assistive tools for those who can't use the Internet without them. You'll learn by doing – by doing something useful.
We will teach students everything they need to know to become a full stack developer working in a distributed, agile team. This includes hard and soft skills.
Throughout the world of she.codes, you will find and collect flash cards that teach you facts you need for work, provide background information about the people that created the tools, and fun facts about the history of programming. Nerd parties will be so much more fun! And if you like, you can take part in multi-player quiz games and earn some extra credibility.
You will feel at home on every Unix server you encounter, because we don't simulate. The technologies you use in the learning environment right from the beginning are technologies that power some of the biggest sites on the web.
You will aquire the following skills:
Programming is much more than writing code - it is about communication between humans. True, we write code that is interpreted by machines, but it needs to be readable by humans too! If we know how to efficiently talk about code, we will become successful members of the community. With the help of this community, we will build amazing things.
The founders of GitHub coined the term social coding. It stands for a new, more open and collaborative approach to software development. It is much easier now to incrementally improve on other people's projects and realize an idea more quickly. This is a radically more effective way to building software. It requires a set of social skills that are as important as the technical skills. At she.codes, we especially emphasize these topics:
We have a different scope than sites like Codecademy, CodeSchool or Treehouse (to name a few). We are not competing with these sites but complement their offerings.
We curate learning resources that are freely available on the net and offer guidance on what to learn when. We have opinions about what technologies are the moving parts of tomorrow's Internet and encourage our students to look at them first and then leave the path to go on adventures on their own or in small groups.
Instead of having a closed learning environment, we integrate with sites like GitHub and Stack Overflow and use real tools to better prepare our students for real projects.
From the beginning, we accompany the training of technical skills with the human side of coding. This includes the history of programming and presenting the authors behind the tools we use. Most importantly, the platform pairs students with similar skill levels and gives them assignments to collaborate on. It then moderates a peer review process to give them feedback by real humans rather than algorithms.
Yes. Plus free text books, screencasts and podcasts. We also encourage those students who can afford it to create Gittip and Flattr accounts to support authors of materials they like.
We create our own interactive tutorials only when we feel that a particular topic is not covered extensively by resources that can be accessed freely, or where these resources do not meet our quality criteria. We favour helping out to improve pre-existing resources before we make our own. Just like we tell our students to treat open-source projects.
We believe that not only this approach scales better but also makes for a smoother transition once our students leave she.codes and continue learning on-the-job.
The fact that only a tiny fraction of software developers are female (1.5% of all open-source authors) tells us that there is a huge potential of talent that for some reason is not attracted to the fun and extremely rewarding art form that coding is. The huge success of initiatives like Rails Girls tells us however that it is not the challenges of mastering technology that keep women from writing software. Obviously, being female-only greatly increases the attractiveness of a learning environment to women. Why is that? Good question!
she.codes is the first instalment of the learning platform we create at INSERT MODE. We will offer an open-for-everyone environment in the future and, in addition to everything else, we will address issues of cross-gender collaboration. (It will be a lot of fun anyway, promise!)
It probably is. However, it is not easy for everyone to attend classes in person. Be it because they are living in a rural area or are not as flexible time-wise (think kids, job).
However, remote teaching does not mean that it is conducted by machines. We dislike automised evaluation of assignments, because we found it to be frustrating and error-prone. Nothing is more discouraging than an algorithm that does not detect that your answer is a valid solution to the given problem.
On she.codes, students are not alone. They collaborate in real-time in pairs on an assignment while having a conversation over a peer-to-peer audio link. The assignment is then reviewed by other, more experienced students to give valuable feedback. We believe that this approach combines the best parts of in-person training with the flexibility of remote learning that is needed by many.
However, the site will inform students about upcoming events in the vicinity, and we will organise casual meet-ups.
Very good question! The first lectures are free because we believe that everyone should have a chance to evaluate our style of teaching and the site’s features, and should be able to get a feel for the community. If you make it past the free stage, you will already be skilled enough to make some money as a web designer. We think, from that point on, it is fair to ask for a small fee to cover our costs.
We actively work on putting people into more attractive jobs that finish the more advanced stages. Being the matchmaker between our best students and attractive tech companies worldwide is another source of income. So, yes, in a way, we use the knowledge of the fact that you are awesome (which is a data point about you) to make money (in the way that recruitment firms do). If that is not in your interest, we won’t work on getting you job offers. It is opt-in.
We will invite the first few she.coders that finish the final stage for an interviews for the CTO position at she.codes (the stage is actually called “CTO of she.codes”!) It won’t be easy at all to kick Jan out of his job! And it will take some time to get to that stage. Do you have what it takes?
Developers are in high demand for years to come. So you will not have a problem to find a job. And with your remote pair programming skills, you might even be lucky and convince your future employer to work from home or some nice beach somewhere.
We are promoting efficient workflows and tools that do one thing good. Vim is an incredibly efficient code editor and worth the initial investment of learning it with gamified tutorials. There is no way around version control and git is by far the most common and powerful tool for it. And for serious work, you have to master the command line.
Our mission is nothing less than to create the next wave of awesome female developers. We aim high, and they will kick ass!
It is not there yet. We quit our daytime jobs to work on it, but we need funding to be able to afford to continue doing so. At the same time, we want to stay independent from investment firms, so we are planning a crowdfunding campaign.
Plese see Getting Involved below.
Check out our amazing team of volunteers!
Olena is an American freelance developer and software consultant based in Edinburgh. She developed a passion for addressing the lack of women in STEM fields while studying mathematics and neuroscience. Along with Jan Bölsche, she founded she.codes in an attempt to remedy this imbalance.
Olena is self-taught, using the same resources that are available to she.codes students.
Jan taught himself programming when he was eight years old, which is a very long time ago. However, he’s still learning this form of art and will probably never stop doing so. Today he is an independent Software Consultant, author and photographer based in Berlin. Throughout his career, Jan consulted dozens of companies and development teams consisting predominantly of young men.
Jan is she.code’s interim CTO. He will offer this position to the first student that finishes the final learning stage.
If, like us, you think that more women should be in software development and take their part in shaping tomorrow’s Internet, then help us in creating the most awesome place to learn the art and craft of coding, and let's build a welcoming and supportive community around it!
You can help with your connections, your talent, your knowledge or with donations.
We are preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign to be able to exclusively work on she.codes while staying independent of venture capital firms, and we would love to have your support! We will announce the launch of the campaign on the mailing list.Help us to promote it, and together we can make she.codes happen!
Tell us what you think and get in touch by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org