One thing that sets Django Girls Seoul apart from the others is our community. Our dream is not only to inspire and introduce women to programming but also to guide them after they've been inspired. We want to help all our attendees to learn and grow so they can become coaches, make their own events or even land an awesome programming job. Our motto is 'learn by doing and master by teaching' so we encourage all our members to teach what they have learned, no matter how small, to new members. This helps retain information, boost confidence and build community.
This is Miji Seo, an attendee turned coach.
Django Girls Seoul members had been meeting regularly for study meet-ups, planning events such as a movie screening of "Code, Debugging the Gender Gap" with panel discussions , and participating in other community events like Google Women Tech-makers and MS Open Community Camp.
Yejin Koo, Microsoft Evangelist and our gracious MS contact that helped get us sponsorship.
At MS Community Camp, the most recent event, one of our own,Hassan Abid, was invited to participate on a panel discussion. We also put together a mini-workshop of a few hours to give participants a taste of what our real workshop would be like. After talking with the supportive team at MS we decided to go ahead with our second workshop, and MS agreed to help sponsor us! Even on a tight budget, MS was able to offer us substantial sponsorship to help make our event amazing.
Along with financial support, Microsoft also let us use their beautiful venue. Microsoft's 11th floor with such an amazing view of Gyeongbokgung Palace provided a relaxing atmosphere and great photo opportunities.
This is the view of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Learn from Feedback
After reading last year's participant feedback, we realized many participants felt rushed to finish their project by the end of the day, even though we had told them to take their time. Because we have some good networks in Seoul and gracious sponsors, we decided to have a two day event to help lighten the pressure and reassure the attendees it's not a 'One Day Workshop', but rather their first day joining our community. If we had known before the workshop all the interest it would create, we probably would have better prepared and scheduled follow-up events earlier so we could inform the attendees during the workshop. We came to find out recently that many coaches and attendees weren't even aware that we continued to meet regularly after the first workshop.
Asella Choi giving tips of what to learn next.
So it was decided that Django Girls Seoul Workshop #2 was on June 4th, 2016 from 10:00 - 6pm at Microsoft's office hall and our "Extended Tutorial Workshop" would be on June 18th from 1:00 to 6:00 at D.Camp. We also made sure to announce that its a Two Day Workshop many times before, during and after the event so everyone will be aware that they can come and we want them to!
Two attendees helping each other with the tutorial.
Because of the limited time to prepare for the event, we weren't sure on how much sponsorship or how many coaches we would get so we decided to keep it smaller this year with a total number of attendees at 38, with 25 coaches, volunteers and organizers. Luckily we planned our budget conservatively and were able to get enough funds for our Two day event. Thanks to the support of Python Software Foundation we were able to make an event that lived up the expectations of both the returning coaches and first time attendees.
In 2015, for our first event, many of the coaches and organizers helped to translate the Django Girls Tutorial. Many people put in a lot of hours but then suddenly with an update to the English Version, the Korean version went from 100% finished to 20%. As you can imagine our team was crushed, but thanks to the Django Girls support team we were able to get a Beta version out in time for the Workshop. This year our translation was again only at 80% and with only a short time to translate, proofread and get it on-line. Thanks to the long hours and hard work of Sujin Lee, we were able to use an updated version of the Django Girls Tutorial in Korean. Without it, we couldn't have had the event so thank you from all of us, Sujin <3!
Along with translating the tutorial we made some changes this year. The tutorial usually uses a different deployment service but thanks to MS, all of our attendees and coaches were able to try Azure. Our team of organizers created a small tutorial to help fit in with our Django Girls tutorial and after signing up everything went smoothly. It's a great service for beginners because after any changes on the git repository, the deployment will be automatic. As a beginner, jumping into web development can be difficult and confusing with all the new languages so we appreciate any service that can make it easier.
Since last year our community has grown and we want it to keep growing, but we are all aware of the toll over-committing can take. We decided to shake things up and add new organizers to the mix. The main reasons were to replace two organizers that are leaving and to support the ones that remain. We are trying to avoid burn-out, add some fresh ideas, increase more community involvement, build leadership and maintain the energy to keep our community going for a long time. This workshop we had 5 new organizers and three from last year to reach a total of 8. The two that stepped down took on the official role of coach, but still helped a lot during the organizing period.
We tried to give each organizer a clear task. Some of those include: coach management and training, translating the tutorial, catering services, printed materials, lightning talks, and communication with applicants, sponsors and venue. With more organizers and volunteers it was difficult to make sure everyone was on the same page all the time, but in the end everything worked out perfectly and I am so thankful for the extra help this time.
The organizers are working hard planning and preparing for the workshop.
Coaches & Coach meeting
Before each workshop we think it's important to have a coaches meeting because even if we email the Django Girls Coaches Manual, chances are that most people won't read it. If they did read it, it's still good to have a coaches meeting to not just tell them how we want to run the workshop but to show them with our enthusiasm and energy. Because of the short time to prepare and train coaches we tried to recruit members in our network, such as coaches from last year. We ended up with 7 new coaches, 2 two of them were actually attendees at the workshop last year, and the rest were all repeat coaches. It felt like a reunion to see all the friendly, familiar faces.
Group shot of the coaches, organizers and volunteers.
Energy, Positivity and Enthusiasm
Energy, positivity and enthusiasm comes from the top down, so even at the coach meeting we try to create a fun and exciting atmosphere. One idea we used from last year was to put a clapper on each table for the coach to use when an attendee had successfully installed something, got their site on-line, or fixed a bug. Most of the coaches already knew about the style of our workshop so naturally things fell into place once we put the clappers on the tables. After the coach clapped loudly with the clapper, the other coaches joined in and the other attendees and volunteers cheered and clapped loudly together.
Jak, Jak, Jak - Coaches and attendees celebrating together.
The attendees LOVED IT and it was key in creating an exciting, cheerful, supportive atmosphere. One attendee commented to me during the workshop that she had never participated in some activity where people cheered for her so much, so I replied "you've been participating in the wrong activities!"
Another important activity we like to plan to create a better atmosphere is our ice-breaking event. Each team would wear silly glasses or headbands and use their creativity together to try to make a funny, silly or crazy photo and at the end of the event the winning team would get a prize. It was really fun watching all the interesting ideas and awkward moments, but it also got us some good photos on Instagram.
Jin Park is the regular photographer, IT guy, meta coach and my personal mentor. For the ice-breaking event so we went around to each table in the morning, when they looked like they needed a break, to take their photo. Because he was usually taking the photos, I had to sneak one of him!
Jin making an awesome video of the event.
Designs, Goodies, Coffee and Food
Since we didn't have much time to prepare the event, didn't want to spend any unnecessary energy, and had such an awesome event last year we decided to plan this event similarly. We used the same designs for posters, Eco-bags, and t-shirts, but with the added MS logo.
Our goodies( t-shirts for coaches and participants not pictured here)
One of the organizers, Olivia Ha, had a connection to a coffee shop so we got a deal on morning coffee and muffins. For non-coffee drinkers we had a variety of tea and juices. The universe was smiling at us because we had planned to get pizza, as we did last year, but for 'one week only' they were doing a 40% discount if you picked up your own pizza. Picking up 25 pizzas took a big of logistical magic but thanks to DY Park we had happy full bellies during lunch. We also provided some small cookies and some bite sized chocolate bars on each of the tables for participants to munch on while coding.
We had almost no left-overs. Yum!
The Small Things are Really Big
When I attended DjangoCon Euro 2016 I was really impressed with the thought that went into even the smallest things so I tried to use some of their ideas for our workshop. We wanted to make all the attendees feel like they were taken care of so we had a toiletries basket in the bathroom for attendees to take if they needed anything. We made a sign with the contact info of one of the organizers in case they needed anything else.
The mouthwash was a big hit, especially after the delicious lunch we had and loads of coffee!
Another point of focus for this year was theCoC. We discussed it and it's importance at the both the coaches meeting and in the welcoming talk of the workshop. We gave the contact info of one English speaking and one Korean speaking organizer in case the attendees needed it. No one ended up reaching out for help, but it always feels reassuring to know it's available just in case.
We also placed snacks, card games, coloring books and colored pencils on the tables in the lobby for participants to take a break from coding and de-stress a bit.
We also had invited participants to bring their children and we wanted to have some fun activities to entertain them while their mothers were focusing on the tutorial. Although no one brought their children the adults had just as much fun coloring because, who doesn't love coloring?
While we were at the MS Open Community Camp event we met a few people from the Korean podcast 'I'm a Programmer' and Dennis reached out to us for the workshop. He wanted to help out and offered to sponsor our afternoon snack and coffee along with giving us a talk about some programming tips for beginners.
Dennis Kim, from I'm a Programmer podcast.
One of the organizers, DY Park, is also a saxophone player and her ensemble offered to play at our event. The name of the ensemble is KU Ensemble and you can check out their performancehere. It was a short but sweet send off after an exciting, fun, busy and exhausting day.
A great view and live music made for a refreshing change of pace.
Not Goodbye, but See You Next Time
Since July, 2015 Django Girls Seoul has really grown into an awesome community of passionate, empathetic, hard-working djangonauts. Everyone that has been part of it, even a little bit, has helped it grow into what it is today, and the most exciting thing is it hasn't even been one year yet. I'm so excited to see what the community will accomplish and how it will grow over the next year.
Our final group shot together.
After two years of being part of this wonderful community and one year with Django Girls, I went from not knowing what HTML was to not only being able to make a responsive web app but also teach others how to do it. I learned a lot along the way and met many amazing people that helped push me, teach me, motivate me, and inspire me.
Some of the organizers surprised DY and Rachell with cake and flowers for a 'thank you' and 'goodbye'.
So after nine years in Korea and two years with you all, I'm off to the U.S. and hopefully when I visit next year I'll be giving a lightning talk at the Django Girls Seoul Workshop #3, about the awesome job I landed because of the wonderful support of the Django Girls community. Thank you all for the unforgettable send off! Until next time!