International organization empowering women to code

Ashley Hassett, WBFO
June 19, 2013

An international non-profit organization Girl Develop It or GDI works to help empower women through technology particularly by training them to write their own software.

Chapter Leader of Girl Develop It in Buffalo Elena Moiseeva came to the U.S. from Russia with her computer science degree.

“When I was learning web design it was difficult for me to learn on my own and I didn’t really have a place to go to ask questions or have a friend to do code with... So when I came here I wanted to help women and provide support for them so they didn’t have to  go through the same thing that I had to,” said Moiseeva.

Coding isn’t just about building websites or software. Moiseeva says it’s also a way to unite people from other countries.

“They say that people who know the programming languages they speak the same language, because people who write HTML, or JavaScript, or PHP coding in the United States speak the same language that anyone in Asia, or Europe, Australia, everybody speaks the same language so if I look at somebody else’s code from another country I can perfectly understand what they’re doing and what they’re trying to say on the webpage,” said Moiseeva.

The world of computer programming and web design is offering women more mobility in their careers, with the potential to work from almost anywhere. On a weekday owner of C-Designs and Illustrations Christa Penner is working on her clients web pages at a local coffee house.

“Most of the time I do work out of my house, I have a small bed room that is my studio space. In the summer I work on my patio, which is great. I’ve worked from Hawaii, I have. I’ve worked while I’ve been out of town. It gives me the flexibility to bring my computer and if my client has a problem I can fix it I don’t have to be in my office,” said Penner.

Penner says she took a class with Girl Develop It, because she wanted to be able to bounce ideas off of other female web designers and become a better graphic designer.

“Sometimes when you’re looking at code it’s a really big challenge, because there could be one thing off that messes up the entire site. So it’s really nice to have somebody else who can actually look at your code and say oh you just have an extra comma here, you have an extra period in here and that’s what’s messing it up,” says Penner.

Moiseeva says everyone should try and learn coding, and it seems like the message is getting through, because a three-day event for women developers being held at Pace University in New York later this week is sold out. Her advice for women who are learning code is to never give up.

“Over time you will gain that level of experience and you still have this perfect idea and eventually you’ll be able to match it with your level of skills and create something that is different and that can make the lives of other people better,” said Moiseeva.