Developer Spotlight: Hackbright Academy

This is a guest post by Jamie Giedinghagen, a recent graduate of Hackbright Academy.

Hackbright Academy LogoHackbright Academy is a 10-week fellowship program for women. Coding experience is not required to be accepted in to the program. The main focus is on learning Python, but the course materials also cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, frameworks such as Flask and Django, and databases such as MySQL and MongoDB. When I got accepted into the program, I felt like I won the lottery. I’m pretty sure those were my exact words when I replied to my acceptance letter. I still feel that way. I now describe my life as “before Hackbright” and “after Hackbright.”

Hackbright Group Picture at LinkedInEleven other women and I were the first class at Hackbright. Some of us had no programming experience whatsoever, and others of us had a good amount. The training was intensive and there was a lot of material to absorb. For five weeks, we focused on learning Python and other technologies. We were divided into pairs and worked on exercises using a Markov chain as well as a movie-rating application. During the last five weeks, we focused on creating our individual projects.

Polyfind screenshotMy personal project, Polyfind, is intended to be a mobile shopping assistant. Users can search for items of clothing while they’re out shopping, and see sets featured on Polyvore that use the item queried.

We had many guests and speakers, most of which are prominent figures in the tech community. We went on a field trip and saw the offices of Google, LinkedIn, Y Combinator, and Five Stars. Hackbright also arranged for us to meet several companies who were interested in hiring us. We graduated from the program less than a month ago, and several of us already have jobs and internships.

My experience at Hackbright was priceless. Not only has it given me a working foundation of programming, but I’ve developed an intense curiosity for learning more. I am excited to apply what I learned at my new job as a Junior Product Manager at Cisco.