Heather Payne was photographed by Jon Lim at a Ladies Learning Code workshop

Heather Payne was photographed by Jon Lim at a Ladies Learning Code workshop

It’s about time we featured a woman TOtechninja! Which reminds me. Why do so few women apply to our tech jobs? Heather Payne might ask the same question. She founded a wildly successful non-profit initiative right here in Toronto called Ladies Learning Code.

Heather Payne is making real progress towards getting Toronto women involved with technology by offering extremely affordable tech training that provides women with a friendly place to learn the most in-demand tech skills like CSS, WordPressHTML5Ruby and Python.

How Ladies Learning Code Got Started

Payne tells the story on her LinkedIn profile:

Back in May, I was in Los Angeles on business when I came across an event listing for an Introduction to Python workshop – intended for women. I signed up, attended the full-day session and had an incredible time. So much so that I thought to myself, “If this is what computer science class had been like for me when I was in high school or university, maybe I wouldn’t have been so turned off.” Upon my return to Toronto, I wanted to continue learning, and loved the idea of doing so with other women. After searching for an organization offering workshops geared towards women – and finding nothing – I wrote a blog post and sent out a tweet. It was a call-to-action for Toronto’s women. I received a dozen emails from people interested in joining a group, so I put together an event: a brainstorming session to help us determine what this group would look like. When 85 women (and men!) signed up, I knew we were onto something.

My Ladies Learning Code Experience

This is me at the Ruby workshop in March

I spent a wonderful Saturday learning Ruby with Ladies Learning Code instructor Dessy Daskalvov  (@dess_e). About 40 of Toronto’s finest coders voluteered to help us ladies (and a few lucky men) learn the basics of Ruby coding. The instructor-teacher ratio was about 4-1. I had so much fun learning Rudy at the workshop that I spent the next day playing with it online at http://railsforzombies.com/.

I’m really looking forward to attending my third LLC workshop on June 16 to learn how to make our website mobile-friendly with HTML5. That is if I can land a ticket. The workshops are so popular that they often sellout in minutes.

Donate a Laptop

Want to help out? Girls Learning Code Needs Eight Laptops

This summer Ladies Learning Code is running a two week Girls Learning Code Summer Camp and they are looking for some laptops.

More About Heather Payne and Ladies Learning Code