While it can seem challenging to connect with each other over the last several weeks, it is one of the main focuses at Gaia Resources at the moment; making sure we all stay connected with each other and the activities and communities that support us.
One of my personal aims for this year was to make better use of the opportunities to access different learning communities and as most of these have been face-to-face meetups, I have had to adapt my expectations on this!
I have been recently accessing the resources of the SheCodes community. I’ve been lucky enough to attend some of their one-day workshops in the past. When a Virtual Coding Party was announced for the 18th April, it seemed to look too good an opportunity to miss. The SheCodes workshops are a really positive and supportive environment to learn a new skill and the step-by-step tutorials are a great way to see your code in action quickly. I was a little uncertain how they would manage to maintain that environment when delivered online to a large number of women coding from home in multiple locations.
There might have been a few more hiccups behind the scenes, but from my perspective, they managed the transition fairly seamlessly. Participants had access to mentors through different chat channels, with the opportunity for ‘face-to-face’ support on video chats if you hit a real blocker. All of the mentors were really responsive online, and mine (thanks Sam!) made sure to check in with our group regularly if he didn’t hear from us.
Despite any initial hesitation I had in how the delivery of the day proceeded, I was able to make it through the Django tutorial on the day (albeit with an extra fifteen minutes at the end to just get that last couple of tasks …). This gave me the ability to see and post to a simple blog, and there are follow-up tutorial steps I can do to take my learning further. Now that I have been able to see Django work with Python scripts, CSS and HTML that I wrote (celebratory moment, there) I feel a lot more confident in my understanding and ability to go back and build on these learnings, either by myself or by reaching out to the marvellous communities I have in my life and work.
Shout out to our own Senior Software Engineer Brianna Williams, who has made sure I feel supported when I need to ask ‘silly’ coding questions or just vent a little bit when things don’t go to plan (when I write bad code). Knowing I have a judgement-free zone to work through the beginner issues makes it so much easier to move on from them instead of getting blocked and losing momentum before I can get really underway. Even when I can’t apply everything I have learnt immediately, I have really enjoyed getting a better understanding of all the different skills that go into the final product, increasing my already significant appreciation of our technical team!