It is common knowledge that there is a disproportionate number of men compared to women in the IT field. Most women are discouraged from going into the tech field because of the false notion that men are just at it. Morever, there is a strong stereotype that working on software are for nerds only.
Django Girls is a volunteer run organization that aims to dispel this notions and empower women to explore the tech field. More specifically, it focuses on organizing free workshops and providing tools, resources and support for learning the Python language and the Django Web Framework.
The workshop is based on a writeup by some of the organization’s best and most helpful volunteers. I am glad that this writeup exists since it helps coaches immensely in providing the same teaching experience for all mentees.
The workshop started off by showing a presentation about Django Girls. Afterwards, the mentors and mentees started introducing themselves to each other.
Some participants are what you would expect. Some were IT students who had experience with PHP and Java at school. Some were interns in the DICT office where the venue was held.
But I was surprised and glad that not all participants are professionals. There was a accountant that was interested in pivoting to the IT field. There was even a teacher who came from another town but was interested enough to attend the event.
It just means that there are some women who are truly interested in learning more about the IT field.
After the introduction, teaching Python was the next step.
The one common thing between my mentees is that they have prior experience working with the PHP language.
It easy for me to teach Python to my mentees because I don’t have to teach them about the semantics of programming. Python’s syntax also reads like psuedocode so it was very easy to translate their PHP knowledge into Python.
After getting the basics of Python, we then proceeded to teach tham about the Django Web Framework which makes it easy for anyone to create websites from scratch.
My mentees have experienced working in Codeigniter, a lightweight PHP framework that uses some of the same concepts as Django.
I leveraged this information to ease their transition to the Django.
First, we created a Django project and then moved into handling data using Django Models which abstracts it away and database migrations which creates database tables from the the models.
Django makes it easy for developers to focus on the core features of your application by providing a ready made basic admin interface from scratch. We leveraged that knowledge to easily do CRUD operations on our Blog data.
Version control is one of the most important things a developer should learn for professional work. I was excited to teach my students something that they will surely use later on in their careers.
We used Git, a distributed version control system and Github, a hosting service for Git, in the workshop. When I taught my mentees the concept of version control, I used Sourcetree to abstract away the complicated parts and make it easier for them to grasp the concepts.
The workshop also used Python Anywhere so that the mentees can create a working site that can be accessed live on the internet.
Urls and Views
Having done the deployment section, we then started making web pages that show and add blog posts.
There were 2 main Django concepts that were introduced at this point. The first is Querysets, which allows us to collect and manipulate data without ever having to create query statements in SQL. The second is Views and Templates to structure our html files easily without having a lot of redundant content.
After doing all that, we had a functional site that the is ready to use. But the site design was very minimal. We wanted to make it look better so that users would want to use the site more. The workshop used Bootstrap for styling and Google Fonts for custom fonts.
After the event was finished, we had dinner at Bowties and Butter. Then we went to Affinity Games because our Manila colleagues were interested in the local tabletop community. Afterwards, we had some drinks and talked a lot about random stuff.
It was a fun workshop. I was glad that there were people outside IT that are interested in software development. The mentees surprised me by how fast they were able to learn. Based ont he success of the event, I don’t think this will be the last workshop we can expect from Django Girls.