There’s a focus at Hacker School to ship. People will ask you about what you build every week. You get to ship and tell people about it.

By Jane Wang (Hacker, Etsy)

Women who are interested in programming and computer science should be encouraged to take the leap in the new year and apply to Hacker School now. The application is open until Tuesday, January 1 at 11:59pm EST.

Here are 5 reasons why you should apply to Hacker School:

Reason #1 – You will find motivated people who keep you focused.

So much of what we do is affected by our environment. No matter how good you are as a developer, you will find that working with other smart and passionate developers to be highly motivating.

Reason #2 – Residents!

Residents at Hacker School are typically the leaders in the programming community and they may even be Benevolent Dictator for Life (GeekSpeak for open source leaders who have the final say to disagreements) of their own programming community. You can seat along side and code with them (i.e. learning from the best).

Reason #3 – If you are a woman, there will be other women.

You won’t be the only one. In fact the men at Hacker School are genuinely good people. I think the founders took care to select genuinely good and nice people.

Reason #4 – You will discover new programming languages.

Presentations and daily conversations with fellow Hacker Schoolers will introduce you to projects that are being working on. Hacker Schools are working on projects because they are interested in them, so it will be lead to exciting discussions. You will find out about languages, tools and frameworks that you’d didn’t know about and watch them live in action just by asking for someone to show and tell. It will expand your horizon and sometimes blow your mind.

Reason #5 – You will be asked to ship.

Steve Jobs said, “Real artists ship.” It’s no lie. There’s a focus at Hacker School to ship. People will ask you about what you build every week. You get to ship and tell people about it.

Other awesome benefits not to be overlooked

Hacker School is based out of Etsy.

You get to go Eatsy for lunch, which is ridiculous good food on Tuesday and Thursdays, and work next to the Brooklyn bridge with a park to stroll in that has a stunning view of Manhattan.

There are tons of social activities within each batch.

This includes official outings to Fat Cat and Black Swan restaurants that are inclusive of previous batches. Students also self-organize to go to climbing events, ramen outings, dumpling outings, game nights, poker nights, and so on.

After you graduate, you will have a great group of friends.

Your network will include friends at various tech companies and startups. We continue the tradition of having regular social events.

Reflections on the Hacker School experience

Reflecting on my own experience one batch ago: On my first day, I was nervous. But as soon as everyone started talking about their project ideas and what they want to learn, I realized that everyone is there to learn and to make friends. It was completely acceptable, in fact encouraged, to pair with someone, especially when they are interested in the same and collaborate. I discovered another woman was very passionate about JavaScript on the first day and we immediately started sharing tools and tips.

Fast forward three months

On the last day, I had a sense of reassurance in my ability to grasp complex concepts and pick up things on the fly. That’s the level of confidence a lot of hacker schoolers walked away with, because we have been doing it for three months since day one. I think this level of trust in your own ability by itself can help you tackle tough problems.

Thank you for reading. I wish that women out would give themselves an opportunity and make an investment in themselves. That’s the best kind of holiday present.

This post was originally posted at Jane Wang’s blog.

About the guest blogger: Jane Wang is a Hacker at Etsy. She was a hacker in the Summer 2012 batch of Hacker School and the founder of Parkit Labs. Formerly, she worked as a product manager at financial tech startup and an investment banker. She is a strong supporter of female hackers and entrepreneurs. In her free time, she makes things with brackets, numbers and paint. Follow her on Twitter at @janeylwang.