Yesterday evening concluded the first ever, tremendously successful Montréal Python event exclusively for women, giving all involved an intense 3 hour introduction to the world of programming.
The turnout was excellent, with over 70 people -- both men and women- attending. The "rules" were simple: you had to be a woman, and if not, you had to be invited. The range of students covered a wide spectrum, from people who had never written a single line of code to people well familiar with programming, coming however from different backgrounds and languages.
The class was taught by Janina Szkut while a number of TAs from throughout the Montréal programming community helped the attendees install Python on their laptops and work through any problems with exercises.
Things started off gently with an overview of what's actually involved in programming -- what a programmer does on a day-to-day basis- then progressed quickly to Python itself, covering syntax, control structures, types, and other fundamental language constructs.
The grand finale threw students into the midst of drawing using turtle graphics with Swampy, writing programs to draw a myriad of shapes on screen. The air was thick, exciting; the theoretical knowledge everyone had spent the last two hours learning was now manifesting itself as something tangible. The caves of Lascaux, the historical first expression of visual art, could barely hold a candle. (actually, caves can't hold candles, so...)
On conclusion, the enthusiasm of everyone involved was overwhelming; those already programming were inspired by the elegance and simplicity of Python, while those who took their first steps were intrigued by a new world of possibilities. And of course, in the tradition of Montréal Python, we all ended the evening with drinks at the local distillery, networking, talking and inspiring each other to continue exploring the intricate world that is programming.