Girl Develop It is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable and judgment-free opportunities for adult women interested in learning web and software development. Beginning with only 1 Meetup in 2010, Girl Develop It is now in 52+ cities across the US, supporting more than 60,000 students!

My journey with GDI began when I was a student in the Philadelphia chapter. I took the very first class they offered: Intro to HTML & CSS. Soon after, I started helping organize classes and eventually co-led Philadelphia’s chapter into one of the organization’s largest and most active. And now, I’m Executive Director! Previously I worked with the news network producing large-scale technology conferences like Philly Tech Week and Baltimore Innovation Week and promoted diversity initiatives.

Today (aka: #GDIday), I’m doing this AMA, with support from Co-Founder, Vanessa Hurst to celebrate 5 impactful years and to encourage donations so GDI can continue to expand to new communities and help women of all backgrounds achieve their coding dreams! AMA :)

My Proof:

Edit (1:30pm EST) : Thanks for all your questions and discussion today! Signing off now. Best, Corinne and Vanessa Edit #2 (2pm EST 1/13): Wow, didn’t anticipate the enormous amount of questions that came through after we signed off (at 1:30pm EST on 1/12). We’ve collected some of your questions, and we’ll continue to take your questions and answer them indefinitely here:

Comments: 1516 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

myaccessiblewebsite155 karma

Teaching people how to code is often a long way away from getting them employed as a software engineer. How do you recommend new / enthusiastic coders prove themselves enough to get a job when they don't have a traditional CS degree?

girldevelopit6 karma

We recommend working on real projects, and sharing what you're working on even if it's not perfect! Our organization website,, is actually built by a community of our teachers, leaders, and students. Everyone is welcome to contribute to help us and build their own portfolio:

Oscar_The_Black105 karma

Is GDI a gender specific organization or is it in theory a resource for anyone to use?

In this day and age, of diversity and PC enlightenment, do you feel it is appropriate to offer gender exclusive treatment, services, and education? What are your opinions on single gender education?

girldevelopit34 karma

Girl Develop It is focused on creating opportunities for adult women, and we do this by being inclusive of all genders and identities (men are welcome in our courses, for example). GDI is for anyone who'd like to learn in an environment where any question is OK.

Additionally, we find it entirely appropriate to address the gender gap in software education with classes designed for women to be successful, as it is primarily women who've been excluded by the current culture in tech. In our classrooms and activities, however, we do not exclude anyone, we simply try to invert the ratio of the broader industry and create a space where women are well-represented.

lazylenz42 karma

What do you think are the top challenges that women deal with these days when they inter a tech field?

girldevelopit24 karma

It's always hard to be one of few people like you in a room, and women entering tech fields are in the minority. We try to help women get comfortable with their skills so that they're more confident, even in situations that would cause anyone to question if they belong.

jkjustjoshing29 karma

GDI is a very cool organization! As a man, what is the best way for me to get involved and/or support the organization?

rocketpastsix43 karma

Not OP, but as a guy, Ive taught classes for GDI. It was a lot of fun, and was worth the 2 and a half hours. I tend to only come if invited, cause I don't wanna intrude. But Ive going to a lot of their events, just as a mentor as a mid level developer, and a teacher to help.

I have their stickers on my laptop and water bottle, another great way to bring up the conversation.

girldevelopit7 karma

Thanks so much! Rocking Girl Develop It stickers can go a long way to inspiring people...without even knowing who you've inspired!

girldevelopit2 karma

Thank you for being an ally! 1. Donate to support our work (, 2. Spread the word about our classes to women you know who may be interested, 3. If there's a chapter near you, volunteer as a teaching assistant, 4. When you're going to a conference or doing professional development activities, reach out and invite the women you know, 5. Promote the work of women developers you know to give them more visibility

gszewcow27 karma

Are these classes something that a lot of women do on top of going to school and having a full-time job? Is that achievable?

girldevelopit6 karma

Definitely! Girl Develop It is all about reducing barriers to entry, so we design the courses to be really accessible to anyone. Specifically, most of our classes are in the evenings and on weekends, and run from 2-8 hours per class. Also, most of our students have full-time jobs!

leahstunts24 karma

I am a female at the beginning of a career swap to programming, I would never have decided to move into this field without the support of my partner (who is a programmer) and most of the women I meet learning to code also have this "supporting programmer" in their life. How does GDI focus on reaching women who might not know anyone who programs? Thank you for your work and doing this AMA!

girldevelopit11 karma

We believe community goes a long way. Connecting people with that "supporting programmer" is a lot of what our in-person community is based around. We see these relationships develop between students and TAs, teachers, chapter leaders, and even other students further along in their learning journeys. We also find that the classes and events with Girl Develop It help students clarify their questions and know what to ask their programmer friends about, so they don't feel like they're "annoying" but can still benefit from that mentorship and knowledge sharing. I've made so many friends and built a really great support network in the community throughout my journey as a student to chapter leader to ED. We recommend a Code & Coffee at a chapter near you! :)

sinningsaint9319 karma

Do you believe there's a lot of opportunity for someone who is self-taught in coding? I've been slowly teaching myself in downtime at my current job and sometimes - when I'm a whole new level of frustrated over whatever bit of code isn't working - I wonder if it'll ever pay off.

girldevelopit2 karma

Yes! We believe in you. Check out these thoughts on coding from one of our teachers:

Frajer16 karma

What drives the women taking your classes to get into coding?

girldevelopit3 karma

Our students come from very diverse educational and professional backgrounds and arrive with varied goals. Some students are interested in leveling up or updating their existing skillsets, some are interested in pursuing a career change, some have a business idea or a website they want to create themselves, and some just want to figure out what coding is all about.

rocketpastsix13 karma

You do a great job getting women involved with coding. But do you offer any kind of job placement? I haven't seen much in that way on the website.

girldevelopit3 karma

Most of the job placement for Girl Develop It students happens organically through our community. We have some great technology companies engaged in our work, but our focus is very much on an entry point for women and not purely on job placement. For example, we have many women entrepreneurs looking to develop their skills but not get a job and we also have women who are happy in their jobs and want to expand their skillsets rather than switch into software engineering. We're here to serve all of those women, not only to fill full-time software engineering roles.

cydonia9012 karma

I noticed that GDI focuses specifically on female adults and not female children. I don't think it's a bad thing at all, but I'm just curious if that was an intentional decision and what GDI's rationale is for it?

girldevelopit3 karma

Our founders chose to focus on teaching adult women for a few reasons. One, impatience. We didn't want to wait 20 more years just relying on programs for younger girls, especially because the representation of women in computing has ​declined​ since the 1980's ( Two, role models. We believe by educating and empowering adult women, we're creating role models who can influence future generations of technical women. Three, to prove a point. We heard over and over that people need to start programming in middle school in order to be successful and we couldn't disagree more. We've proven that point with the 60,000 members who are learning now and making things happen, regardless of what they knew about computer programming as kids.

cydonia9011 karma

We heard over and over that people need to start programming in middle school in order to be successful and we couldn't disagree more. We've proven that point with the 60,000 members who are learning now and making things happen, regardless of what they knew about computer programming as kids.

Do you often run into folks who get discouraged by age? (e.g. "I'm too old to learn a new language. My brain doesn't work the same way.") Can a person really become a programmer at age 40?

girldevelopit8 karma

One of the things we love about working with adult learners is actually that they tend to know themselves well and know what kinds of learning will work for them. We focus on that self-knowledge as a key asset when older people are interested, but hesitant about learning to code. Check out the story of our incredible GDI Minneapolis Chapter Leader, Susan Metoxen: Susan learned to program after 30 years working in healthcare administration.

MarbleShoes10 karma

What are some things you show these girls in order to get them interested in coding in the first place? I am trying to learn to code but it's hard without having something I really want to make.

girldevelopit5 karma

We teach everything from Intro to Web Essentials to help students learn some terminology and decide specifically might be relevant or interesting to them. A good starting point is to build a website for your professional portfolio (like [yourname].com) or something you're passionate about, such as cats or Harry Potter.

peabodygreen7 karma

What do you hope these women will end up doing with these skills? Is the goal specifically to become a computer engineer or just coding skills?

girldevelopit1 karma

We hope women will do whatever they want with their coding skills! We believe that women have been largely left out of technical education, primarily for cultural reasons, and we want to counter that and explicitly open the door for women. Our individual leaders have their own goals for what they'd like to see, but as an organization, we just want to empower women.

mo_mack6 karma

Corinne - Since you've become ED of Girl Develop It, what has been the most surprising thing you've learned?

girldevelopit-6 karma

I think the most surprising thing for me is how we've been able to scale so quickly, while maintaining the level of impact we have on people's lives. (We grew our membership from 32,000 to 60,000!) I'm constantly inspired by the stories that come from chapters across the country of women improving their lives. It really never gets old!

rwalds035 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! Have you personally developed any of your own apps/software/etc?

girldevelopit-3 karma

I mainly work on the Girl Develop It site now (, but my primary job as ED is to lead the organization. As part of an open source program we've run, I've had the chance to work on some really great projects with Code for Philly (

rofalafel5 karma

How are GDI chapters started?

girldevelopit4 karma

Girl Develop It chapters start with community interest and local leadership! Basically, if you're interested in starting a chapter and you have an sense that there are women in your area looking for learning opportunities, reach out and let us know. Typically, we look for 1-3 dedicated individuals from the community who are interested in fulfilling the "Chapter Leader" role: helping find students, teachers and TAs, and organizing classes to start. Here's the form to fill out if you're interested in starting a chapter:

svbtractinq5 karma

Seeing as though the company is expanding to a great number of cities and locations (congratulations on the success by the way!) , will the content that you offer to be taught also expand? As in will you teach other programming languages, ect?

girldevelopit4 karma

Absolutely! We'd love community help with expanding our offering to include more technologies and subjects. Our core curriculum is available at and our in-progress courses (which have been offered in some locations, but could use review and improvement) are available at Our courses are usually developed and taught in one of our chapter cities, and gradually shared and replicated in other cities until the curriculum is effective for our students and teachers. Once proven, we integrate the curriculum into our core set of materials for all teachers everywhere.

Yum_Kaax1 karma


girldevelopit5 karma

Our goal is for Girl Develop It classrooms to provide judgment-free learning opportunities. We don't claim the industry will be judgment-free, but rather want to create a safe on-ramp for women who are interested to get started, and then use the community and skills they develop within Girl Develop It to propel them when they engage in the broader industry. Basically, we think trial-by-fire is a rough way to get started learning, but that people further along in their professional paths can withstand it with strong community support.