Girls Day was just around the corner for us and it had to be clarified beforehand who would be available to look after us. Since I never attended a “Girls Day” as a man, I didn’t know what the procedure was like. Can I be a Girls Day host as a man? When asked by the colleagues who take care of the administrative side, I was assured that this was not a problem. So I contacted them immediately in order to get the chance to show a young person hopefully the beauty of software development, and thus also one of my passions.
The preparation in the run-up to the event had some pitfalls, because the level of knowledge was not clear to me. Is the computer science class at school just as much Excel and Word as it was in my time or are the students already being trained to become the next IT experts? Did Sophie perhaps already develop so many apps and mobile games in her spare time that I should actually learn from her? Is there any interest in and understanding of the material at all? Questions about questions that spurred me on to select exciting and instructive tasks for all levels of knowledge.
On the day of the Girls Day Sophie and I first of all talked about different topics. I learned how much contact she has had with software development so far and what she would like to see in the work of a software developer.
Afterwards I showed her what a typical working day looks like for me and what I am working on right now. Since Sophie had no contact with programming so far, it was incomprehensible and probably raised more questions than answers (at this point again: sorry for that :)).
Then I explained to her how the subdivision between front- and back-end takes place and how UX plays a decisive role in this process.
I tried to convey that programming is actually just solving problems. Understanding, searching and solving the problems or tasks is like a puzzle and this is also the point I enjoy so much in my job.
In order to convey this approach in a more playful and simple way, Sophie and I have dealt with Scratch. With Scratch you don’t need to worry about syntax and semantics, but rather pull together individual blocks in such a way that they complete a task. At first, Sophie got time to find her way around. But since she was through with it pretty quickly and already started to develop her own exciting stories, I gave her a smaller task. Sophie mastered this within a very short time and asked for functionalities that were more complex than they were provided by Scratch. At the end of the day I gave her another task, which she tackled very ambitiously and purposefully but unfortunately didn’t make it in time.
As a conclusion to Girls Day I can only say that it was a lot of fun for me. It was refreshing to see the world of software development again from a young perspective.
Seeing the approach to problems from an unbiased and simple point of view once again showed me that sometimes you just have to keep your distance. To break down the distance and the problem more simply in order to then be able to tackle the problem in the right place.
I hope that Sophie had as much fun as I did and got a good insight into the world of software development.
Girls Day – 10/10, again!