Techleaders is mentorship program dedicated to women wanting to get into IT or branch their skills. This article is summary of my participation in the program.
I have some relationship with Polish Women in Technology community. My friend Karolina has convinced me to speak at one of their meetups in Wroclaw. It was my second presentation in front of the IT public. So keeps some special place in my heart.
When I was in Dublin, I did another one remotely for them. It was about IT in Dublin. This one is also special to me My only remote presentation I have done. Plus First time one someone Invited me to speak without going to them first.
Let’s solve IT
Then around April 2017, I have learned about a program called
„Let’s solve IT” the idea of the program was series of quick calls with an expert to solve participant problem. I found the idea interesting, so I’ve signed up as an expert.
Well, and It was a flop. My „student” problem wasn’t a problem it was a need she wanted to learn selenium and java.
I have raised my concern with organisers that it is not problem tackle-able in the format of this program. But We decided to give it a try.
It didn’t work out. It took a long time to establish the connection with my „Student” and that connection never lasted. I have stated clearly to her that I can help her and guide her but if she wants to learn she has to work on her own. In emails, she always expresses her will to meet, but meetings never happen.
And some point After Intervention of organisers didn’t work we dropped my participation in the program.
I also had some grievances with the program itself.
– No site. Seriously try to google it. You will find a post at Women in Technology site and some interview (which happened after I have signed up). But it is important that WiT official site at least blogged about it cause I’ve started wondering if it was a scam.
– The goals and ideas of the project were not clear.
– There was no clear idea what organisers require of me.
– Communication with organisers was poor.
So why Are we talking about 300 words about Let’s solve it? Cause that background is essential for my story with:
So when they contacted me about tech leaders program, I was Hesitant.
I wasn’t impressed with an organisation of Let’s solve it program. (Don’t worry I have given my feedback to organisers)
Plus I had my crisis of faith about Testing (to be honest I still have it but in the different form). And I doubt I want to mentor new person into testing.
I had talked about my doubts with few Women whose opinion matters to me. (Program was addressed to women, so I thought it is suitable to ask mostly them). I heard few different arguments for and against my participation.
– The biggest case against was: If „teacher” doesn’t have the passion, it affects the student.
– The perspective of someone who is disillusioned is also essential. It can show that is not only sun and roses out there.
– But someone said to me most important and so obvious thing:
I know more than testing, I can also teach programming.
Another thing that convinced me is an organisation of the even.
This time they have a site, much more explicit goals, still, they need some improvement but at least there were some.
So after some thinking and mail exchange, I decided to participate.
Ok, But What Techleaders even is????
It is Mentorship program for the women that want to improve their skills in IT profession.
They have to select apply to program select mentor from the list and apply. Apparently, there was even some guideline for suggesting goals. But it wasn’t made clear to me (nor to most other mentors I spoke to at Closing event)
Organisers suggested meeting once every two weeks for at least an hour.
One thing that was problematic was Starting date. Just before December. Which is busy Chaotic months, so scheduling was challenging.
I have mentioned it to organizers. They brought valid point: moving it sooner would conflict with summer holidays. Scheduling around it would be even more troublesome.
So again I’ve got someone who wants to learn how to write code.
But the idea of the program was to spend more time with the mentee, so it thought it could work.
My prodigy was also different from the one from The let’s solve it.
She was more proactive.
And that was an excellent boon the fact that she was investing time.
The way I see it mentoring is the catalyst. It can improve significantly effects of effort you put. If you don’t spend any time on your own, you won’t get much from mentoring.
So she wanted to learn to program in c# and do some test automation.
And I think I have helped her. She made quite a lot of improvements in those four months. Mostly by her own effort but I like to think I had my part in it. She already knows more than some junior programmers I worked in the past.
Of course, I made some mistakes.
For some time, I have misinterpreted my role, and I was more teacher then mentor. Fortunately, Piotr Wicherski pointed it out to me quite fast. Which allowed me to correct my ways.
At some point, I have also lost sight of goals of my mentee. But this time, she pointed me back on track.
In hindsight, I must admit I completely forgot there was Mentor for mentors whom I could contact for advice. I remembered about Her only after rereading emails in preparation for this post 😀
Going back to my mentee it was fun work with her, it also pushed me to relearn basics of programming, so I was sure I do not miss informing her.
The Closing Event
So the closing event happened on „check name”.
And at that moment I realized it was an international event – I was quite surprised. I thought next edition is the international one, so even American council in Cracow was involved.
There were four presentations including three from mentees.
My Favorite one was by Katarzyna Midlner. About her experience with learning programming. I could empathise with her struggles my beginnings were similar. Especially the pain of naming functions and variables.
Organisers shared some statistics.
95% of mentees set goals at the beginning of the program.
85% of them achieved more than 50% of their goal
89% of mentees claim that the mentor selection was accurate. (I hope my mentee thinks so too :))
4.7/5 is average program evaluation by mentees
4.7/5 is also their average rating for contact with mentors
Of course, in the end, I did some networking. I have congratulated Katarzyna on her great talk. Finally met organisers in person. And talk with some guys about AI they pointed me to significant resources on the subject.
To sum it up Techleaders is the great initiative. I am glad I was part of it.
Next iteration goas to Rosia and I am thinking about participating.
Thank you, Women in Technology for doing great work!
If you want to read more events report check it here.