This is a sponsored post
Yesterday eleven groups of women and their male allies presented technology solutions that were designed to support women and girls in tech as part of the first ever Women in Tech #WITDemoDay. Teams were asked to create products that would inspire more girls of color to learn coding and inspire them to see themselves as computer scientists. Individuals competed at the Capital One headquarters just outside Washington, D.C. for the chance to win a $10,000 scholarship for courses from General Assembly and a $15,000 donation made to Black Girls Code in their name.
I attended #WITDemoDay to provide live coverage on social media and also to serve as a mentor, providing advice throughout the day. Since the end products should be practical and able to be implemented in real life, my role was to listen to pitches and advise the teams. Throughout the day I provided feedback to participants to help them effectively communicate the practicality of their solution during their 3 minute pitch to the judges.
As I met teams and listened to pitches, I thought of girls like my daughter, Emily. A few summers ago Emily came to me and my husband and told us she wanted to code. My husband and I had many conversations about how to help Emily get started and what would be the right programming language for her to learn first.
My husband is far more knowledgeable about the many different programming languages and codes regularly for his job and I was able to provide the practical advice about good age appropriate resources that could be helpful. We realize that because of our backgrounds, we were able to provide a foundation for Emily to get her started but today’s competition was a great reminder that you don’t have to come from a tech savvy household in order to develop an interest in coding.
The women who presented today’s solutions are part of a community that is always increasing in size. It was inspiring to hear how they were creating products that would have helped them and their struggles as women in their tech fields. From online games that provided practical ways that girls could apply technology solutions to real world problems that they encounter in their young lives, apps that connected girls with mentors, solutions to help keep young college students on track with their coursework, and more, these products were inspired by personal struggles in the tech world that teams didn’t want other girls to have to face as they pursue their technology path.
Take a look at the incredible pitches the eleven co-ed teams shared with the audience! You will be blown away by the solutions that these women devised to get more girls interested in coding!
While there was only one winner, the opportunity to create a product that is a viable solution to a real problem and pitch it to a panel of judges who work in technology was priceless. It was a pleasure to be among so many inspiring women and I can’t wait to see what teams create during next year’s competition! Maybe Emily will develop a solution to inspire other tweens to learn to code!
If you might have someone that is interested in competing in the next #WITDemoDay in DC, take a look at what it was like behind the scenes while teams were busy perfecting their pitches. Also? Capital One has some pretty incredible office space! No, I didn’t actually play skee ball while I was there. Maybe next year!
Huge thanks to Capital One for sponsoring my attendance at #WITDemoDay. I was compensated to attend, provide live coverage, and share my experience through a series of blog posts. All opinions are my own and based on personal experience.