Day 54 - Giving Back

One of the things that attracted me to working at ThoughtWorks is their desire to have a positive impact on the communities they're in. Most importantly, they actually act on that desire in a tangible way. One of the ways they do that is by partnering with Black Girls Code, an organization whose goal is to encourage minority girls to persue careers in STEM fields. They do that largely by giving seminars which teach those young girls how to write code.

BGC has chapters in many cities in North America (and one operated by our office in Johannesburg, South Africa), and were now in the process of spinning one up in Dallas. As this was their first event in the area, they gave a one day seminar on developing web pages with HTML and CSS. The great thing about that subject is that the feedback loop is incredibly short. You can move very quickly, because seeing your changes is as simple as reloading your web page. You can get a significant amount of "Ah-ha!" moments packed into a relatively short time frame.

I was honestly a little aprehensive about how the girls would take to the subject. These days kids are exposed to a number of very high quality web applications. They have things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. Those are obviously not things that they'd be able to learn how to make in a single day, so I had worried that might discourage them. As it turns out, my fears were completely unwarranted. The girls were so stoked to do things like embedding youtube clips onto their pages or hotlinking images from other places on the web. It was unbearably heartwarming to see their enthusiasm.

So yeah, it was a incredibly great experience, and I hope to do more with their organization on their future visits to Dallas.

Another shoutout to UT Dallas for hosting the event. They also do a lot of Computer Science camps and classes for school age kids. If you or someone you know is interested in that, you can find more info here: http://www.utdallas.edu/k12/