Learning to code at ClojureBridge Berlin

November 24, 2017


Starting a new job at a tech startup as a non-developer can be daunting. And this feeling is often amplified by being female in a predominately male industry. If you are someone who has never worked in tech before and whose only experience with coding is some HTML in Wordpress, it might seem difficult to wrap your head around exactly what Contentful is.

Contentful strives for diversity and actively fosters an inclusive and supportive culture. We regularly host the Geekettes meetups here in Berlin. Earlier in the year, we attended the Women of Silicon Roundabout in London, whose goal is to inspire women in the tech sector.

It was this supportive culture which led to me to the ClojureBridge Workshop last month. Julia, one of our backend Javascript developers, recommended the workshop to the entire company—and, feeling brave, I decided to get involved.

The Clojure workshop is a completely free event for women and nonbinary people who have little or no background in coding. ClojureBridge’s goal is to increase diversity within the Clojure community by offering free, beginner-friendly Clojure programming workshops for underrepresented groups in tech.

Around 50 people from a range of backgrounds took part in the workshop. The introductory evening consisted of food and drinks, followed by the installation of the software we would need the following day. The main event was held on a Saturday at the Wooga offices in Berlin’s Mitte district. There, we were treated to delicious vegan bagels and coffee for breakfast, before being divided into our groups for the day. Each group was allocated two ‘coaches’ (clojure developers) who would lead the sessions.

Initially, I was still feeling a little daunted by the thought of coding. There was a lot of information to digest, and myself and my teammates had a lot of questions. It felt like we needed the very basics, which come as second nature to our coaches, explained to us. After many attempts and lots of edits, I managed to put together a short animation (below). I was even feeling comfortable enough to edit the background and added more snowflakes myself! There was a great sense of achievement in the room and my team was very excited to have conquered our first coding lesson.

The experience of the event taught me a few things. Firstly, being a developer takes patience, but when it works it’s rewarding. Secondly, while the industry gets a bad rep, the majority of people working in tech are supportive and willing to help—so it’s important to just ask. Finally, there are so many other people out there who feel the same way about joining the tech industry—you are not alone and the support is there!

I loved taking part in the workshop and gaining an insight into the world of developers. If you’re interested in participating, find out if there’s an upcoming ClojureBridge event near you.

Come join us!

Do you want to join the Contentful family and start your career in tech? If you are a woman looking for a fun job in the tech startup world, we encourage you to check out our open positions and apply today! Also, you can get a glimpse of our company culture from our latest offsite video.

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