Two stories from helping 545 women learn open source development

GitHub OctocatWomen make up only 2% of the free and open source software community. The Ada Initiative is working hard to change that, so we recently teamed up with GitHub to help women learn open source development by offering free private GitHub repositories to women. (Click here to learn what private GitHub repositories are for.)

Here are stories from just two of the 545 women who took us up on our offer:

“I recently applied for a cool freelance gig in which they are seeking someone familiar with GitHub. I was able to point them to my public activity on GitHub without worrying that they’d also see my gory, messy private repos. Not sure if I got the job yet, but they e-mailed for an interview the very next day, and they asked me to supply a reference shortly after we spoke on the phone. So, thanks again for making these free private accounts happen! :)”

The second story:

“I just wanted to say that thank you for this generous giveaway. […] I had actually gone through the experience of signing up for GitHub and then finding out that anything I placed on there would be public, with all of my learning curve on full display for the world to see. […]

I want to work on open source and give back to the community (I used to work in IT and have benefited greatly from open source software such as FreeBSD, the GNU tools, Linux, and sendmail to name but a few […]) I would be acutely self-conscious to do so in public, especially since my formal programming experience is slim — my work experience was all with scripting languages and in packaging software and such.

“So the giveaway had such a big response, I think, because I am not the only one who felt this way! It makes me feel good to know that I am not being unusually shy about my work, and that this is a normal thing for someone leaping into a new field. […] I am just happy that it exists and has brought so many people in.”

Two women smiling

CC-BY-SA Adam Novak

You can help women in open source too by donating to support the Ada Initiative’s work during our fundraising drive ending August 30th. As Kathleen Danielson put it, “Open source will be a lot better when it’s built by 50% women, not 2%.

What are GitHub private repositories and why do they help women learn open source development? GitHub is a service that allows people to share and manage the source code to their computer programs. Most open source jobs and many general programming jobs require GitHub experience. A private repository allows people to learn how to use GitHub without showing their mistakes to the entire world.