Walk the floors of any tech company and you may notice that something, or someone, is missing: women.

Women hold only 25% of technology jobs in the United States, according to The Atlantic, and the number of women who earn computer science degrees has been declining since the mid-80’s.

Of course, getting a degree isn’t the only way to pursue a career in technology. Many people, including myself, realize their interest in coding after they’ve graduated with degrees in other fields. But once you’re outside of the classroom, you have to motivate yourself to continue learning.

As a member of Girl Develop It (GDI), I’m inspired every day to keep going. Despite the bleak statistics about women in technology, I’ve met dozens of women who code and have made friends who I can talk to about my latest projects and about anything else that’s going on in my life.

GDI is a non-profit organization that empowers women who code. GDI Buffalo chapter has over 350 members and hosts monthly meetups where women can learn about technology, coding, and meet others who share their interests.

As Western New Yorkers, we ‘re in luck. Our region is one of the few areas that can boast two Girl Develop It chapters: one in Buffalo and the other in Rochester. Membership in GDI is free.

Hackathon Reaches Out to Women-owned Businesses

GDI is already making a difference for Western New York’s women in technology. On February 7th, the group is extending its reach to area businesses.

At GDI Hacks, Buffalo’s first all-female hackathon, women of all skill levels will create new websites for women- and minority-owned businesses in Western New York.

Local designers, web developers and marketing specialists will gather at 43 North to create an online makeover for three to five businesses, selected by Girl Develop It and its event partners International Institute of Business Analysts (IIAB) and 43 North.

What makes this event unique is that it’s about women supporting women.

For our participants, GDI Hacks is a place to code in a fun, supportive environment – even if they’ve never coded before – and where they can connect with other women.

For our businesses, GDI Hacks gives them a professional online presence and teaches them how to make the most of their new sites.

How to Get Involved with GDI Hacks

Anyone who wants to learn how to build websites can join us. Participants range from professionals in the industry to women who are completely new to the field and looking to gain experience.

On the day of the event, mentors will be on hand to guide the teams in making decisions about design, code, site organization and content strategy.

Teams will begin developing their sites at 9 a.m. and present the finished product to a panel of judges at 8 p.m.

Sponsors & Partners

GDI Hacks is sponsored by AT&T, Hodgson Russ LLP, InfoTech Niagara, Launch NY, M&T Bank and Liazon.

Partners include 43 North, International Institute of Business Analysts (IIAB), and such in-kind sponsors as Red Bull, Rosenfeld Media, A Book Apart, City Dining Cards and Sticker Mule.