Written by Lindsey Marratta from the BuzzFeed team. TechGirlz was chosen by BuzzFeed to be one of its Hack Week projects. Their fantastic team of engineers implemented features on our website that will make our workshops easier to access than ever. Originally posted on BuzzFeed’s blog.
It’s hack week at BuzzFeed, and this has been a particularly special one. This summer’s hack week coincided with BuzzFeed’s global service week, giving members of the technology team the option of hacking on projects for nonprofits. After a few weeks of research, Cap Watkins, VP of Design put us: Product Designers Emily Brick and Lindsey Maratta, and Director of Engineering Swati Vauthrin in touch with TechGirlz, a nonprofit that aims to close the gender gap in tech by developing fun and educational workshops for girls.
TechGirlz helps expose young women to the diverse career opportunities within tech – their courses range from Podcasting and Photoshop to Ruby on Rails and Programming a Raspberry Pi. It’s a grassroots style initiative, where anyone can run a hands-on workshop, and the TechGirlz team is willing to help each instructor out along the way. They’ve put all of their workshops online for free, hoping to grow the number of participants and instructors globally. Even more remarkable, through their weeklong Entrepreneur camp, based on the Lean Startup methodology, they encourage young girls to think about the world through an innovation mindset.
As a team, we were excited to find an opportunity to help out a group of fellow female technologists on an initiative to educate future women in tech. We held a kickoff call with TechGirlz’ founder, Tracey, and community outreach manager, Sarah, to get a deeper understanding of their needs and challenges and determine where we could make the most impact. Their enthusiasm and passion for the cause was infectious, and we left the call with enough energy to carry us through hack week and beyond.