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See How Ms. Hackers has matured throughout the years

2016 looks like it will be a good year. Nay, not just a good year, but a great year. Yes, 2015 was vintage, but in years to come, people will be talking about the great hacks of 2016. Why?

Well, it’s because of what’s in store. But, we will focus on our women in tech initiatives. With a couple of “finings” thrown in. Let me clarify. First, a bit of history.

In 2014, Grace Hopper partnered with us in their Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. And as part of this celebration, we held a major hack: the GHC hack. This was based on a social theme. Held in 3 cities: Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The finals, as you might have guessed, took place in Bangalore

On the day before the hack commenced, the women, in teams, ideated, wire-framed and “architectured” their ideas. They then had one month to put their ideas into fruition.

The female coders had a lot of mentorship! From NGOs to social groups, from hackers to great technologists, almost anyone who was anyone was there to help out.

On the final day of the hack, there was a surprise awaiting. Teams had 6 hours to add a unique new feature to the specific apps that they had built. Cool stuff! The best submissions won great prizes. As well as the pleasure of getting their projects off the ground.

But that was 2014. Women in tech initiatives have to mature.

Women Technology

In 2015, we raised the bar.  In March, in honor of women’s history month, we held a women-only initiative. As GHC proved, there is tremendous enthusiasm among women to get into the hacking scheme of things. But this enthusiasm is not easily realized. We enabled this fermenting pent up energy to result in the finest opportunities possible.

The idea was simple. And based on a challenge-centric model, of course. First, women had to sign up for a MOOC from Microsoft. Or they could sign up for a hack camp. Where they learned about particular technologies. After finishing the course/camp, they had to complete an online challenge. Essentially to showcase what they’d learned. Just like winemakers showing off their finest wines.

We invited those who took part in the hack camps and/or completed the online challenges to a career fair. With an interesting twist. You’d expect that women would pitch their ideas to the companies. Instead, companies had to pitch their stuff to the women. To continue with the wine metaphor, women turned into sommeliers of company technologies. Fun stuff!

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With the success of this women only initiative, we were thirsty for more. In August, we held a 6-hour women-only code-a-thon for Morgan Stanley. Mainly for experienced developers with a view for hiring, this brought out 70+ hackers. You can visit this vineyard, oh sorry, post for more details.

In 2016, these drives to encourage women in tech will come of age. We will really punch it up. These ideas have been stewing in our minds for a long time. This upcoming year, we will mix these ideas into a potent brew.

Here’s how it works. (Note that this initiative is open to female hackers only.)

We will have learnups on specific topics each month. At these learnups, you will be mentored by some of the best female technologists out there. We will also provide specific learning resources based on that topic. Then, at the end of the month, we will have online challenges based on what you’ve learned. To test your knowledge.  As well as to enable you to give us a taste of what you’ve got!

You can take part in multiple learnups and challenges. In fact, we highly recommend that you do so. We will also have a leaderboard. This will keep you updated on the monthly leaders, as well as the overall leader.

Women that stand out will win prizes. They may even get great job offers. The sky is the limit, as they say.

I think you will agree that these are all the ingredients for a perfect hacking experience. Just like how the ingredients in the bottle of ’72 made a great vintage. 😉

Has this post inspired you to become a sommelier of new technologies? Yes? Take part in our Ms. Hackers initiative of 2016 and show us what you’ve got! We promise that the aftertaste will be just as sweet as the whole experience.

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Bharat Ramakrishna

Blogger. Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.