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Innovation & Job News

Girl Develop It Philly gears up for a higher profile in 2013

GDI's Yasmine Mustafa

From meetups to coworking, the "better together" ethos is on the rise. For women in technology, the local peer support network continues to grow with Girl Geek Dinners, Tech Girlz, Web Start Women and Philly Women in Tech.

One such organization, Girl Develop It Philly, more than tripled its membership at the close of 2012. All sixteen GDI-Philly classes—which cover both soft skills and advanced programing—sold out, with most active members attending more than one class. 

Since establishing GDI-Philly in September 2011, Yasmine Mustafa, founder of 123Linkit and self-proclaimed "non-techie software entrepreneur" (Mustafa was profiled by Flying Kite in November 2011), has witnessed more women attending Philly Tech Meetup, Word Camp Philly and Lean Startup Machine Philly. One member landed a tech job at Center City-based ad agency Red Tettemer after completing GDI-Philly’s full roster of front-end development classes. Another member was hired by Zoe Rooney Web Development  after connecting with the founder through GDI-Philly. Many members credit their new skills for promotions and higher salaries.

While Mustafa says she can’t pinpoint exactly why membership spiked—some women sign up to supplement self-directed learning, others want to make a career change—she believes computer science is becoming more attractive to everyone. "You're stuck on developing something and then, suddenly, everything clicks," explains Mustafa. "It's an incredibly empowering feeling."

To match the growing interest, GDI-Philly beefed up their 2013 offerings with three learning trajectories: a comprehensive front end developer track (starting in January), an introductory back end developer track and a mobile Android/iOS  developer track (available in the spring). They’re also launching a mentorship program and a scholarship fund for their classes.  

For Mustafa, watching members develop and share success is the most rewarding part. "Besides educational reasons, the top reason members state that they signed up is to meet other technical women," she says.

Source: Yasmine Mustafa, Girl Develop It Philly
Writer: Dana Henry
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