This time last year, I finally felt like an official card-carrying member of the Philly tech community. After many nights of teaching myself the basics of coding, building a portfolio, and making my way through the job search, I was starting my first agency position as a front end developer. Gone were the days of apologetically explaining my current career at networking events and tech meetups. I was in.
Looking back, however, I can see that my claim to membership in the tech community started much earlier than the first day on the job. In fact, my pre-career involvement in meetups, hackathons, and online communities was the biggest factor in getting my first position. It expanded my network and connected me to real, live female developers, who in turn gave me the confidence to even consider applying to positions. Don’t make my mistake: claiming your spot in the community comes first and a job comes second, not the other way around.
Ladies in Tech Are Here to Support You
Reach out, ask questions, get a cup of coffee with a community member. Your fellow women in tech will surprise you with their generosity: maybe they’ll review your resume, check out your code, advise you on negotiation tactics, or connect you with the right people. From what I’ve seen here in Philly, women in tech truly want to help each other succeed, and they will go above and beyond to make that happen.
Resources to Get You Started
Below are some of the communities and resources that I have found most useful at the beginning of my career. If I’m missing any that you think belong on the list, let me know :)
- GirlDevelopIt, Philly Chapter
This was the start of it all for me! Get yourself to a class or event. The women of GDI are simply the best. They are supportive, knowledgable, and incredibly welcoming. In addition to events, they have a very active online community through Slack. Request access to join GDI Philly’s Slack group.
- Ela Conf
Ela Conf is both an annual conference and a year-round online community via Slack. The conference is a total gem. If that wasn’t enough, there is truly too much good advice being given out in the Slack group to read it all. Get in there! Request access to join Ela Conf’s Slack group.
If you want to try out a hackathon for the first time, I highly recommend LadyHacks. It will give you great experience working with a group on a coding project all in a very supportive atmosphere.
PayUp is yet another awesome Slack group for women in tech to talk specifically about work and money. Bring your negotiation questions here! Request access to join PayUp’s Slack group.
- Tech Ladies
Signing up for Tech Ladies gets you access to their job board, a great newsletter, and a private Facebook group. What can I say, it’s really useful stuff, you will learn so much. Join Tech Ladies!
You’ve got what it takes to be part of the Philly tech scene right now; no need to be a ‘rockstar developer’ before showing up to your first meetup or thinking of yourself as a ‘woman in tech’. Find the communities that make you feel supported and happy — the more you connect, the closer you are to your first job in the field!