Our Fifth College Code Camp
And a look back at College Code Camp no. 4
Written by vanessa slavich.
In January, I had the privilege of participating in Square’s College Code Camp with 22 other women engineering students from all over North America. We were a diverse group with a variety of backgrounds, but we all shared a passion and intellectual curiosity for programming and careers in engineering. When we first arrived in San Francisco, we bonded over icebreakers and art — creating t-shirts and bags at a silk-screening printshop. This was the beginning of a sisterhood that would only get stronger.
Over the next few days, we focused on our personal and professional development. Square engineers led technical sessions (aka: tech treks) on various areas of engineering. These tech treks were one of my favorite aspects of Code Camp because of the conversations I had with engineers who are creating revolutionary technologies. They shared insight into how we could utilize the same technologies for our hackathon project, which we’d present at the end of Code Camp.
We also engaged in meaningful conversation with Square’s CFO Sarah Friar about her experience in leadership positions. She is an inspiration. Her leadership gave me the confidence to continue to persevere as a woman in tech. I also gained confidence to pursue my passion for programming because of my mentor’s support and advice. (All participants were given a personal mentor, who would show them a day in the life of a Square engineer.) My mentor encouraged me to continue to work hard and pursue what I love.
For our final group project in the hackathon, my team built a mobile app for Children International, a nonprofit that provides assistance to children and families struggling in poverty. This was my first time using Swift and building an app. I love that Code Camp focused on both growing a foundation for a sisterhood and helping us learn new skills. I left San Francisco with so many new friends and new technical skills, like machine learning and Swift.
College Code Camp showed me the importance of diversity in the tech world. Ideas can come from anywhere — people just need opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. I now have the confidence and information to help those around me through computer science. I encourage any woman who is pursuing a career in tech to apply for College Code Camp. Through the program, you’ll make friends who’ll last a lifetime, gain a great network and support system of Square employees (who are rooting for your success), and have an incredible time in San Francisco.
Today, we once again invite college students to apply to our five-day College Code Camp at square.com/code-camp. The program will take place August 17–22 in San Francisco and will include leadership sessions, coding workshops, and a hackathon to bring together women engineering students and build a stronger community around women in technology.