DevOps Girls 2019 in Review
As another year passes for our DevOps Girls community, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate our accomplishments as a grassroots organisation with the goal to educate and celebrate women and non-binary people in technology.
We checked the numbers and can definitely say our community has grown. Since our first workshop in February 2017, our Slack member count is now 430, we have 979 Twitter followers and we gained an additional 244 members on our Meetup page.
We ended 2018 with a better understanding of our community. Turns out, the DevOps Girls community prefer workshops over talks and we aimed to deliver this throughout 2019.
Our year kicked off in February with a day-long serverless bootcamp hosted by SEEK at their head office on St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, organised by our co-organiser Franca Moretto. The day consisted of using the AWS console to create and deploy a simple web application. Attendees then repeated the process using the Serverless Framework. We had over 30 people attend, plus a team of organisers and coaches to help make the day a success. Here’s the write up of the day on Medium. Special thanks to Robofun who ran a free workshop for kids on the same day. We highly recommend using their services for events.
In preparation for shorter events, we surveyed our members and learned that Saturday mornings are preferred over other options, including week nights.
We then ran two half day events, one on 10 August and one on 5 October: ‘Taste of DevOps, for Women in Testing’. These were hosted at REA Group in Richmond, and organised by our co-organiser Theresa Neate. The workshop format consisted of smaller classes (capacity of only 25, not the previous 40–50) and as mentioned, on Saturday mornings (as opposed to full day and fully catered). Both events sold out within a day, with a higher turn-up rate of near 100% (between 23 and 25 attendees). This light-weight approach was really successful, which made the day more easily repeatable.
Another awesome thing that happened in 2019 was that ThoughtWorks re-packaged our Serverless Bootcamp content to be delivered in Xi’an, China. This was the second DevOps Girls event in China and we are expanding into even more cities and countries in 2020. You can see a class photo HERE.
The final workshop of the year was another day-long bootcamp at SEEK looking at Cloud Networking. This was an intermediate workshop on cloud networking from an AWS perspective. It was considered intermediate as we set the bar higher in terms of expected knowledge. This was no ‘intro to the cloud’ content. Here’s a write-up of the day on Medium.
Conferences & Partnerships
DevOps Girls had a great year partnering with different conferences. Conference partnerships allows us to give our community the opportunity to attend and contribute to conferences. These might be conferences that they wouldn’t have been able to attend or wouldn’t have been encouraged to attend. This also goes a long way to improving the diversity in representation of the technical community at conferences. Diversity and inclusion initiatives for conferences like partnerships is really effective. It’s a step towards making the broader technical community more inclusive and paves the road for under-represented groups to have a place in it. Here’s a summary of our 2019 partnerships:
After a successful partnership with DevOps Girls in 2018 in Melbourne, we partnered with Container Camp again in 2019 at their Sydney conference. Our partnership meant we could give away free tickets to the community to attend.
We partnered with the DDD conference and presented a DevOps Girls stall. This allowed us to network with our technical community on a broader scale and even get information about how people learn. Turns out people learn best through collaboration and solving real problems in workshops.
After a massive success in 2018, TConf partnered with DevOps Girls again. This partnership resulted in more first-time conference speakers from our community taking part in a lightning talks session, preceded by 8 weeks of coaching from Theresa Neate, delivered to them free of charge (thanks again to REA Group for providing the coaching premises). This is a great initiative to diversify the voices represented at conferences and is an excellent development opportunity for mentees.
At the end of 2019, we also announced our partnership with BSides Melbourne, for the sold-out conference in 2020. DevOps Girls will be sending 5 people from our community to attend for free.
If you would like to see the benefits of partnering with our community for your conference, please reach out to us on Twitter.
Karen Hutchinson was one of the speakers in our first group of DevOps Girls lightning talks coaching, the program lead by Theresa Neate in 2018. Karen then went on to present on her own at the Australian Test & Tech Automation conference as a speaker. You made us proud, Karen!
LIN YuanYuan and LIU Yuling met at the Xi’an DevOps Girls session that ThoughtWorks China ran in August 2018, and became friends. This year, they both ended up getting jobs at ThoughtWorks working as developers at REA Group.
As part of the preparation for the Cloud Networking bootcamp, we ran the content internally for people who were interested to learn. This was a diverse group of people from different technical and non-technical roles. The success of this was that two non-technical participants went on to obtain their AWS Cloud Practitioner certification.
In total, we’ve been able to deliver technical training to over 110 women as part of our workshops and coaching. Feedback from attendees indicate how grateful people are for these events and would recommend our events for more people to attend. For some of our community, it’s their first hands-on experience using cloud technology.
2019 also saw us as a community change and grow in the way that we run things. Now that we’ve organised several events, mentored people, partnered with conferences and built a community from grassroots; we’ve learnt some things.
We updated our Code of Conduct to help us be empowered to manage no-shows or flaky attendees. Any event organiser can empathise with us; this is something we always need to consider when organising our events. Moving forward, repeat flaky no-show-ers may be excluded from future events.
We also agreed to include quiet rooms at our larger events. We understand that learning and growth can be really overwhelming for some people and so we accommodate this by providing a space for people to escape to if they have a need to recharge and have some quiet time.
After our workshops we seek feedback from attendees. This lets us understand how we can improve in the future. Some of the consistent challenges we face are making complex technical concepts simple and easy to digest, making our content user-friendly and easy to follow at a self pace, and also making it relevant. So, we are always evolving and striving to improve the quality of what we deliver.
Thank You Volunteers and Coaches!
DevOps Girls is made up of a core group of 4 co-organisers, who are volunteers and do this in addition to our day jobs.
We are supported by an amazingly generous contingent of volunteers and coaches. In 2019, we saw our contingent grow with more coaches and volunteers stepping up to help us. We also saw people approaching us from different countries and cities volunteering to start their own chapters.
Without all the great humans helping us with logistics, technical guidance, coaching, mentoring, hosting, financial help and promotion, we would not have been able to do all the great things we do. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for being part of our community.
We’re looking forward to another year of great events and initiatives that further help and promote women and non-binary people in technology. To keep up-to-date, follow us on Twitter, join our Meetup.com page and ask us for an invite to our welcoming Slack community.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
Xx JC, Franca, Theresa and Javier