Three weeks have passed since the Girls in Tech Skills Bootcamp in Helsinki — it’s time to look back and reflect on what unfolded at the very first event of this kind in the Nordics.
When I helped launch the Helsinki chapter of Girls in Tech in spring 2015, we wanted to create a community that would inspire, educate and equip more women with the skills to enter and pursue their careers in the technology field. The idea of the two-day hands-on Skills Bootcamp seemed like a great way to give women a chance to learn from industry experts in an interactive setting. So we went ahead with it and GIT Helsinki Skills Bootcamp was born in partnership with Tuxera, a Finnish high growth software company. We received an overwhelming number of applications, which proves just how much events like this are needed — unfortunately, this time we could only accept 45 participants.
Ready, steady, learn!
The Skills Bootcamp program was not for the faint of heart. During the weekend our attendees participated in six intensive workshops on programming, service design, leadership, sales, venture building and pitch training. All modules were taught by 15 experts in their fields who contributed pro bono to the event. We wanted to make sure that all workshops followed a pragmatic approach that hopefully gave the participants practical skills they can apply in their daily lives.
On the first day, we were amazed at what the girls achieved during their 6-hour programming workshop. A group of complete beginners coded their first game! We couldn’t sum it up in a better way than the head of the programming module Marcia Villalba from Rovio: “Be proud of what you’ve achieved. Don’t be scared. And if you feel confused, that’s normal. We all are confused — that’s part of being a programmer.”
Tech skills are more than ones and zeros
Of course, there is more to technology than ones and zeros. That is why we included other equally important skills needed to achieve your career aspirations in the technology field.
One of them was service design. The participants learned to apply methods and tools used in service design to uncover users’ needs and create coherent experiences. They even got to pitch services they designed in teams in under two hours!
There was also a leadership track, which discussed how to grow your professional confidence and competence and how to transform yourself and your organization in an uncertain surrounding.
One of the goals of the Girls in Tech community is to inspire more women to develop business concepts involving technology and start their own companies. Therefore, venture building and pitch training workshops became an integral part of the weekend’s program.
Last but not least, good sales skills never hurt anybody — be it an engineer or a business person. During the B2B sales workshop, the participants went through the whole process from identifying prospects to closing the deal.
We hope that the Bootcamp has provided our participants with valuable skills and that it has sparked some great connections and friendships, which will make our community much stronger. We’ll continue offering educational support and inspiration to help more women pursue their ambitions and achieve their goals in the technology field. That’s it for now. Over and out.