We caught up with Lindsay Siovaila, co-founder of the Indianapolis Girl Develop It chapter to find out more about the organization and get advice from a woman in the coding world. Lindsay is a Senior Solutions Developer at Salesforce where she helps build tools and processes that help the Sales team demo their software. She worked with her friends Erica and Virginie to bring a chapter to Indianapolis after noticing that there were quite a few Girl Develop It chapters scattered throughout the Midwest (Chicago, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Cleveland), but not in their city. Lindsay explains:
“I first heard about Girl Develop It in 2014 via some blogs I read online that discussed the gender gap in the tech world and various efforts that have been going on to help bring more women and minorities into the tech world. I have always been interested in giving back to the community by teaching and tutoring, and Girl Develop It appealed to me since it was a chance to teach valuable tech skills to people who are curious about web development but don't really have a community or background in tech.”
GDI’s target audience is women who want to begin exploring web development or continue learning web development, but anyone is welcome to attend the classes and events. They welcome all skill levels and encourage questions! We asked Lindsay if she could offer a little advice for a total beginner who just wants to get started, and she shared a few pointers:
- Online resources are a great place to start, “but the real learning happens when you’re working on a real project and have a real problem to solve.” Think of a simple project, like a website showcasing your photography or favorite recipes, and then put your knowledge to use developing that project.
- Find a mentor that you’re comfortable with and who is further down the road in experience. Then ask them LOTS of questions. “One secret you might not know about developers is that we are all learning from someone else at some point - no one is the master of any topic, and we are all dependent on each other for help when we get stuck.
- Making mistakes is part of the learning process and is completely normal! A lot of time on real development projects is spent working out all the kinks in the code, so being comfortable finding errors or logic flaws is integral!
As far as the future goes, Lindsay wants to see Girl Develop It become a place where women can feel empowered to learn web development, and then use those skills to impact the community in a meaningful way. Another passion of Lindsay’s is the idea of passing on the skills women learn from GDI. She hopes that by offering these classes it will create new teachers and mentors for the future. Ultimately, the industry will become stronger with more women in tech and web development roles.