Five new mail alerts on our careers page and they are all male applications for an internship position in the company. Analyzing the mails, we realized that out of every 85 applicants, 2 are female. We tried leveling this ratio by reducing and simplifying job descriptions, after we found a study which claims men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. Link
The Hackathon was our second attempt at balancing the ratio. Girls with GRIT Hackathon is simply an avenue for bringing tech inclined girls to solve similar challenges an average intern faces at GRIT Systems. This will help us encourage girls in tech and also offer outstanding participants internship positions.
Planning for the hackathon was quite the experience. It was the first time GRIT Systems would organize such an event and so many factors had to be taken care of. It also came during a time when workers were extremely busy due to the influx of orders from clients. One of our interns was given the responsibility of handling the hackathon to this effect.
Selecting the challenges was probably the most difficult part of the hackathon. As noted above, we didn’t have any experience organizing a Hackathon. We had to design the challenges in such a way that:
- Participants would be able to attempt the challenge with little or no guidance,
- Significant progress would be made within the hackathon time frame
- Participants would have a feel of what an average intern does at GRIT Systems
There were difficulties getting a good venue at an affordable price because of the nature of the hackathon (It lasted 3 days). We heard prices that made us doubt if organizing a hackathon is something we should attempt as a startup. We tried to garner support from partners to ease expenses and present a nicer experience but unfortunately we could not.
Publicity spanned for two weeks. The developer society in Nigeria is very impressive especially when it comes to sharing tech events as it took no cash at all to spread the word on social media(twitter especially). We had lots of media support from Tech Cabal, AIESEC Lagos, GDG Lagos as well as many blogs. Within this time, we received 60 valid applications (there were male applications even though it was only meant for girls) out of which 30 confirmed attendance.
The event was started on June 24th 2017 at Galpin Suites Hotel by 1pm with 19 girls in attendance. Guests from Oracle, Jadeas Trust and GE Lagos Garage were around to encourage the girls.
Ifedayo Oladapo, the founder/CEO GRIT Systems was the first speaker giving the girls an insight into what we do at GRIT Systems and how our different devices work. Mrs Temi Majekodunmi from Oracle came on to talk to the girls about Careers in Tech. She explained the different opportunities open to girls in tech.
The Challenges which spanned across Blockchain technology, data visualization, data science and hardware were presented to the girls. Different members from GRIT Systems explained what each challenge entailed and gave enough resources for further learning. The girls chose their challenges and formed their teams. 6 teams of 3 girls each were formed in total, viz Anacon, Minions, A.R.E, GRIT-hdf5, ANDROID and Energize
The hackathon started proper on Sunday and the girls started working immediately. The team at GRIT Systems were there to offer the necessary assistance/mentorship required. The girls displayed real GRIT as they worked until Monday, the final day, barely blinking their eyes.
Tired and deprived of sleep, the participants got ready to defend what they had been working on. The panel of judges included two members from GRIT Systems Engineering and a guest speaker from WAVE.
Presentations were made and the judges made their decisions. At the end Team Minions came in third place after working on a buck boost converter.
Team A.R.E came second with their nice work on data visualizations. They presented data in very simple ways that laymen could understand
Team GRIT-hdf5 were the champions as they marvelled the judges with their hdf5 data set converter. They reduced a huge data set of 808mb to a small amount in hdf5 format.
In conclusion, it was really fun. The hackathon made us connect with girls of GRIT waiting to be given an opportunity. We were marveled with their determination and motivation to complete their challenges even though it was the first hackathon for most of them. Hopefully Girls With GRIT Hackathon v2.0 will be coming soon and we predict lots of participants.