One-ish Years with Women Who Code Portland

I’m sitting in the volunteer’s conference room at Puppet on day two of the Women Who Code Portland IoT Hackathon. I’ve found myself thinking a lot over the past few months about how much I’ve grown in a year as I compare where I am at during my second time attending some conference or event. This event in particular stands out to me because it was at the first WWC IoT Hackathon that I first started volunteering with Women Who Code.

Volunteer might not be quite the right word. Someone thought I was a volunteer since they saw me at all of the events, and just started asking me to do things. I had fun helping out and got brought on officially not long after that. At first I just helped out doing odd jobs at random events when they needed the extra help. I’d check people in at networking nights, or show up early to hang out by locked doors and let people in. Over time I started helping out more outside of the actual events, I got more involved in the planning process, and hosted my own networking night last July.

This year I was able to move into a co-lead volunteer position. I work closely with another volunteer to co-lead the new Open Source study nights. Working on these study nights has given me a chance to start exploring leadership a little more. We have to create content for the monthly events, organize space and food, market / spread the word about the event, and actually put on the event. It is lot of work, but definitely worth it.

We have had three open source study nights so far. The first one was general interest and chatting about open source and how to get involved. The second one got snowed out, but we hosted it online instead, chatting with people and helping them get more comfortable with using git/github. The third one was appropriated by the hackathon, and used as an installfest, so that we could help everyone get set up for the hackathon. I’m looking forward to some of our upcoming events. I am planning one to go over some of the fun open source animation libraries that are out there. We are also looking at doing some more in-depth git workshops to go beyond the basics, and general project nights were people can work on making contributions together.

At this event last year, I was working in a company where I felt set up for failure. I was questioning if I was really in the right field and dreading going to work every day. This year, I am working at a company on a team that is very supportive. I was introduced to this job through relationships built in Women Who Code. I work with a tech lead and manager that take the time to understand my career goals and how they can help me reach them through my daily work.

I really enjoy being able to take this minute to look back and see. I think it is important to take the time to reflect on how much we grow in this field, especially when I spend so much time feeling like there is too much to learn just to keep up. I’m glad I fell into this supportive group of women, and look forward to seeing how they push me to keep growing over the next year.