04 Dec 2013

I went to a fantastic meetup called codebar this evening – it’s a semi-structured Student and Coach affair, with pizza and drinks (not necessarily alcoholic). Each Coach is paired with one, maybe two, Students for a couple of hours of concentrated one-on-one help. I was invited by Jarkyn, who I met at Node School a couple of weeks ago.

Codebar describe themselves like this:

We organise free sessions in HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby and offer guidance and advice on a variety of programming related topics. Our target is to help groups of people that are underrepresented in the tech industry.

The unique aspect is that, to sign up as a Student, you must fit into one of following categories:

  1. identify as female, or
  2. be part of a group under-represented in the tech industry, or
  3. convince two people from the above categories to attend.

This means the vast majority of the Students and Coaches are female, which I think is a fantastic achievement. Attendance I’m told wasn’t brilliant compared to the usual 30 or 40 – a very encouraging number that hints at a great untapped potential in tech-minority groups.

At Twitter we’ve talked about the poor gender balance on the engineering team in London, and said it’s something we’d like to address. It’s something very important to me personally too, and I’m very pleased meetups like this are happening with such good attendance. I’ll be going back, and I hope that, if you can spare some time, you come too!