4 – 18 July 2015. Cape Academy of Maths, Science and Technology.
15 days. 64 girls. 14 tutors. 13 websites built for local businesses.
We’re not at camp to code for the sake of code; but to use technology to address real issues.
We worked in groups to build solutions for local businesses and organizations. We started by conducting research on our business, then interviewing them in person or by phone. Once we made sure we really understood the problem well, we started brainstorming possible solutions, and then testing those through paper prototyping.
Using WordPress we built websites that addressed some of the issues facing our clients – for instance we built an e-commerce store for ArtiRe, a Khayelitsha-based business that creates trendy furniture out of recycled tires.
Being able to communicate ideas powerfully is a really important skill as it lets you share your vision with others so that they can support your idea.
Presentation skills with Take my Word
Louise Mitchell, a UCT Professional Communication lecturer taught us how to present clearly and confidently.
Video Pitches with Fuel
We spent a day at Fuel learning about video production. This included learning about script writing and the chance to film our pitches.
It’s not all coding on camp – we believe success rests on more than just your hard skills.
In the name of healthy minds and healthy bodies, we made sure to get some relaxation in at the end of a hard day. Yugesh and his team from Art of Living Cape Town lead us in 2 hour yoga and meditation sessions 6 days of camp.
Kim Humby from Ted X Cape Town presented a TED night at camp. We watched various videos relating to issues that women around the world face and discussed some of the issues that came up.
Three of our tutors led us in a Global Citizenship workshop, discussing Wealth and Inequality.
When Friday came we were ready to dance! Mzi from Jazz Art taught us a contemporary dance – if you were at our final presentations you might have caught a glimpse of this!
As aspiring young women, our ability to manage personal finances is an important skill. Capitec Foundation provided an informative 2 hour session that taught us the ins and outs of budgeting and saving.
A life coach gave us practical advice on how to tackle some of the challenges we face as young people.
Sandi van Zyl, a Virgin Active dietician, taught us the importance of nutrition for a well functioning brain.
It’s good to start the week feeling good. Each Monday evening, Chantal from Body Works gave us a personal care workshop – the first on Skin, Nails and Face; the second on Massage.
Opportunities in the IT industry
A series of speakers representing a broad array of different companies within the local IT industry came to tell us about their field.
The Amazon Web Services team taught us about cloud computing and how search algorithms work. They held a Challenge Night where we had to solve tricky problems such as these three:
How quickly can you solve these?
- Five girls took part in a race. Alison finished before Sihle but behind Clare. Debby finished before Emma but behind Sihle. What was the finishing order?
- Two men, starting at the same point, walk in opposite directions for 4 meters, turn left and walk another 3 meters. What is the distance between them?
- A mother is four times as old as her son. In twenty years, she’ll be twice as old. How old are they now?
Those who got all the challenges right were entered into a draw to win a Kindle Fire!
Jade Matthieson from Sea Monster, a local game design company with a focus on educational games came to tell us about game design.
What Jade had to say to us:
- People make the types of games they like to play. Different people build different types of games so having many diverse people building games is really important.
- Play games and try understand what is capturing you – what makes you feel angry or happy or frustrated.
- Designing a good game brings together many different skills – programming, design thinking, artistic talent and having good taste in music.
Where is My Transport
Ivan Sams and Henk van Jaarsveld from Where is My Transport came to tell us about how they are improving public transport. They describe themselves as “A bunch of students who came together to solve a big problem”
- Focus on the problem you’re fixing. Start small and build from there.
- Know your problem
- When you have a goal tough tasks become easier
- Find something you can be passionate about
Anne Pao, founder of Weaverlution, shared her journey as an entrepreneur.
Debre Barrett of Deloitte Digital gave us a lesson in User Experience Design just as we started designing our own client sites.
Daniel Guasco, founder of Groupon and current Chairperson of Silicon Cape shared his story as an entrepreneur, inspiring those in the room with dreams of making it big in business.
Fuel creates educational video content for employees of large companies such as Engen. They brought some of their devices so we could explore the Life Skills lessons they have created and we spent the day at their office learning about video production – from scriptwriting, design, editing and even filming.
Fatima Jakoet, a female pilot, told us about her career in Aviation. We spent the day at her organization, Sakhikamva where she taught us about the theory of flight through a paper planes exercise. We each got the chance to fly in a flight simulator – taking off at CT International and landing again!
Women in Tech mentoring
On Thursday nights at Code4CT we held a Women in Tech mentoring event. Women from various tech professionals shared their stories, their journey into tech, some of the challenges they faced along the way and lessons they’ve learnt.
Some of the great advice that our mentors had for us:
“If you can code, you can contribute to any field you care about.”
“Your degree doesn’t define who you are; it just gives you skills.”
“Coding helps you break problems down and approach them logically.”
“Stand together as women; advocate for each other and support each other.”
We then broke up into discussion groups and discussed questions like:
- How do you start small to reach your big dream?
- Who do you want to BE – what characteristics do you want to define you?
- “I am not my work” – how do you pursue excellence in your work, but still understand that your work is not your identity.
- What are your dreams for your future? What are your parents dreams for you? What tensions exist?
At the end of camp we pitched our websites to our clients, teachers, family and mentors.