• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Hacker School: Day 90

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90 days later, we go back out into the real world, egos in check, building code of consequence, and destroying stereotypes.

By Martha Kelly Girdler (Alumnus, Hacker School)

I’m sitting in a cafe in Brooklyn, exhausted, disoriented, and happy. I’m thinking to myself, “Holy (enter your own choice expletive here). I did it, I finished Hacker School.”

I look back at my post recapping the first day and it’s clear the rules of Hacker School permeate our lives, and it feels completely natural. Several Hacker Schoolers have told me how strange the outside world feels now.

During my time at Hacker School, I’ve built my own CSS preprocessor in JavaScript and a static site generator in Python.

I’ve contributed to BPython. I built deployment scripts with Boto/Fabric. I built a CLI chat server with sockets. I built full applications with frameworks I hadn’t touched before (Backbone/Node/Django/etc), and quickly. I took a Stanford course on databases. I’m taking courses on Machine Learning now. There’s no way I’m stopping, and I wouldn’t have found this place without being inspired by my friends here.

Even more importantly, I learned how to believe in myself. I learned how to ask for help. I learned how to fight my own biases and those of the people around me.

What I’ll miss most:

  • Every single person here
  • Weekly gender and race discussions
  • Having deeply nerdy conversations with women I admire
  • Karaoke nights
  • Eatsy
  • IRC silliness
  • Epic email threads

One thing I know, we’ll bring the “rules” of Hacker School with us wherever we go.

After Hacker School I’m headed back to Nashville, a place I dearly love. This feeling of “otherness” is creeping in as I integrate back into the developer community there. A recent and popular developer conference had one female speaker. A company known for its great developer culture looks eerily homogenous.

I have a lot of work to do here, and Hacker School has given me the skill set to do it.

So now, 90 days later, we go back out into the real world, egos in check, building code of consequence, and destroying stereotypes.

Thanks Sonali, Dave, Alan, Nick, Tom

Never Graduate!

This post was originally posted at Martha Kelly’s blog.

About the guest blogger: Martha Kelly Girdler recently graduated from Hacker School, a three month “writers retreat for hackers” at the Etsy offices in Brooklyn. She is a Web Developer specializing in Front End architecture and performance. Martha blogs about programming culture, issues of gender/diversity, and code she’s been hacking on at marthakelly.github.com. Follow her on Twitter at @marthakelly.