Helsinki becomes the first city to hold the Girls in Tech Skills Bootcamp in the Nordics

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. But before we delve deeper into the event, we want to say Thank You to our amazing coaches, speakers, participants and sponsors!

When we launched 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.”

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!

Tiina Zilliacus and Heidi Gutekunst led the leadership tracks in which they discussed how to believe in yourself, 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 need more role models

We believe that we need more female role models to inspire a new generation of tech talent in Finland. That is why inspirational talks were a big part of the Skills Bootcamp. We are extremely thankful to all the successful women in technology who shared their personal stories with us.

Saija Halme’s cross-industry journey from a nurse to a software developer in healthcare was nothing short of amazing. Today her software company L-Force installs radiology software in many hospitals across Finland.

Pia Kantola from Microsoft told an inspiring story of how she’d decided to become an engineer and shared a few tips from her personal experience of balancing a demanding job at Nokia and parenthood.

Maria Horelli-Rosenlew talked about the importance of believing in yourself and going towards your dream, no matter what other people say.

Together with us at the Bootcamp we also had active supporters of the cause. Among them was Aape Pohjavirta from Frunzi and Startup Sauna who encouraged young ladies to be bolder in their decisions and act today, not tomorrow or not next week. Reidar Wasenius gave us a great lesson on how to think outside the box.

It’s a wrap!

We’d like to wrap the post with feedback from one of the participants of the Bootcamp Ilona Shagimardanova: “It has been very intensive, challenging, but at the same time inspiring couple of days. Interaction with those amazing, smart and intelligent ladies made hard work seem very fun and joyful. During that weekend, I tried constantly to push myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to learn to do things and think differently, in the end of the day I couldn’t get enough of the knowledge.”

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.

Want to participate in upcoming events organized by Girls in Tech Helsinki? Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Apply to our Mentoring Program until 28 February!