women who code

The Story Behind Women Who Code

More than 50,000 members strong, Women Who Code (WWC) is one of the largest non-profit organizations advocating for the inclusion of women in the technology sector. Unfortunately for female coders and developers, their career path represents an occurrence that “breaks the mold” in the tech industry, and that can cause problems that range from annoying to career-ending. WWC pushes for changes in policy and private business that support equality and fairness in terms of creating opportunities for women to successfully contribute to the tech realms, and organizes and supports numerous local chapters across the world.

womenThe organization wasn’t always the goliath public service advocate that it is today; it has grown tremendously quickly since it was founded in 2011. WWC is headquarted in San Francisco but has built a significant presence in Washington D.C. In an effort to combat companies waging an internal war to maintain that status quo in the tech arena, the WWC brings women in tech as well as others who are interested in the field together into a collusive group.

Together with Girls in Tech and Women Who Tech, WWC has joined the rank of non-profits committed to providing coding sessions, networking hours and other community-driven events that enable women to expand and strengthen their careers in the technology industry.

According to Women Who Code higher-up percival, “our members are Women Who Code’s greatest assets. By focusing on their needs as we can empower them to become leaders and even super stars in their field. They can then in turn help to inspire and support other women, and the process continues.”

rosy coderPercival went on to explain that chapter founders and leaders do not generally receive payment and instead work as volunteers that contribute their own time and expertise. This altruism is the underlying engine that powers WWC.

Another interesting aspect of the company’s foundation: each WWC chapter has little oversight and is free to become whatever is most helpful to the women in tech in its district. These chapters, which span from India to Seattle, are connected using a cloud-based communications platform called Slack. Slack, an two-year-old¬†startup-superstar recently valued in the billions, has apparently served as the organization’s central nervous system.

Gibilterra oversees the approximately 3,500-person D.C. WWC chapter, and recently spoke about her experience leading the group and building it into what it currently is: “The size of the city, I think, really helps decide what sort of organization will be formed.” According to Gibilterra, her chapter of WWC actually started without the brand as an initiative to find a place and a community where Gibilterra and others could code after work.

When a causal coffee shop meeting slowly turned into something much larger, Gibilterra’s coding group mutated from casual encounter to MeetUp worthy, and after a few months transformed into its own WWC chapter.

“Members sharing their experiences and inviting friends and co-workers through social media and in conversation led to huge growth,” Gibilterra explains, admitting she didn’t make any real effort to market the female-led coding meetings as such.

At this point in time, there are roughly 140 WWC directors all around the world.

“The fact that we’ve been able to expand so rapidly shows that there is a real need for the support that Women Who Code offers. There are brilliant women around the world that are doing amazing things in the tech industry. Our job is to build a community that connects them to one another, creating a sense of belonging and community to support them on their career path,” Percival concluded.

lil flip

Flip Phone Making a Comeback

The Smartphone is something that is ubiquitous with the term phone today and they are assumed to be part and parcel of the same thing. However, smartphones are for a large class of cases beginning to lose their appeal in every case. Apple which is considered the king of the smart phone and really got the ball rolling a few years ago is now facing an upswing in flip phones. I’m not kidding this is actually happening in the market today.

Clearly, the market appears to be the next big question as to why this is occurring. There was a lot to love about your flip phone, I remember my first Razor phone and though how can it get any more high tech than this. There was a lot of love surrounding flip pones not doubt, but as we see in the fluid nature of the market all things change. Palm and RIM (now BlackBerry) took over the market from Motorola, and Apple went on to take the Market from Palm and BlackBerry, only to face its largely successful attack by Google.

Apple changed the game with the iPhone and no one will deny that claim. But as things got more and more technologically advanced so to did they become more expensive and the cost of having a phone went from having something that made calls, a fairly inexpensive ordeal to a ground breaking portable computer that has near constant WiFi connectivity. Which is not an easy or cheap pill to swallow. Not to mention the battery life for a smartphone is crap. I can plug in my iPhone 6s and go on the web for about a half hour, after that time its probably a quarter depleted. My old flip phones you could leave for days or weeks without charging and you were fine.

The flip phone also had many advantages such as it was smaller and more portable, it was far easier to put in your pocket or hold with you shoulder. It was also more robust and safe from damage given that it was protected by its defining characteristic, the flip.

Today people are beginning to consider where they can save money and equally as important time. One of the major drains of non essential spending we experience is though our cell phone and their data plans. Not to mention if you are in the smartphone trap you almost feel obligated to re-up and get the newest phone every 6 months which cost hundreds of dollars per go. 

In terms of time it is all to easy to open up the Facebook app or one of those dumb bubble pop games when you’re on the train on your way to work. Once you arrive at work you go right from that screen to your work computer, then its back onto the cell phone in between work and the commute home. We are trapped in a constant state of checking and rechecking our status on the web or click bait. Perhaps the rise of the flip phone may not be a step forward, for tech but it may very well be a step in the right direction for America.