Girl Develop It Launches In Chicago!

February 19, 2013


Girl Develop It (GDI) launched in 2010 with a simple concept; make software development accessible and affordable to all women in New York City with little to no development or training experience. Within 24 months, nine chapter openings, 10,000+ members, and 300 successful classes taught to 2,300 unique members, GDI is gearing up for a new accomplishment: 10 new chapters expected to open by December 2013. The massive growth is projected to help women throughout the globe enhance their skill sets, illuminate their passions or hobbies to make beautiful code and websites, and spread the principles of effective software development.

When Chicago software developer Brittany Tarvin attended her first major technology conference, Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in 2010, she was shocked and overwhelmed by how few women were in attendance. Freshly introduced to the professional world of software development, and having taken computer science courses in engineering school, Brittany knew the software field lacked diversity. However, it took seeing the issue on a global scale for the truth to really sink in. From that experience, she went on a mission to seek out any way she could help close the gender gap, and introduce more women to programming.

Now, three years later, Brittany is bringing the Girl Develop It organization to Chicago, launching a new chapter in her hometown that will create a supportive network of encouragement for people of all backgrounds to experiment with and learn programming. The Girl Develop It Chicago chapter, which will officially begin classes this spring, aims to create a welcoming curriculum of bite-size, evening and weekend programming courses for beginners to experienced developers. The courses, which will range from introductory web development and user interface design, to mobile application development, will be targeted at working professionals who don’t have the time or resources to commit to several weeks of full time, intensive training, but are curious about learning to code.

By bringing the GDI network to Chicago, Brittany hopes to foster a supportive atmosphere for learning and empowering other women to try their hand at development. Through connecting talented developers in the community with newbies in a comfortable class setting, GDI Chicago will train a new force of business professionals who have the power to code their own websites, and the support network to get their questions answered. The organization will seek to attract people of all different backgrounds, who are interested in trying their hand at software.

“There are so many amazing programs out there if you’re ready to quit your job and make an investment toward becoming a developer.” Brittany stated. “But in my experience, the way to really encourage diversity, is to show that learning to build software can start as a fun side project. To me, that means having an opportunity to dip your toes in and experiment before you dive in head first. That’s why I was really drawn to the Girl Develop It approach.”

Founded by female software developers Sara Chipps and Vanessa Hurst, the organization currently has chapters in New York City; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Detroit, MI; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA;  Raleigh/Durham, NC; San Francisco, CA;  Seattle, WA; Sydney, Australia; and Ottawa, Canada. | @gdichicago