Code it Like a Girl, 7 lessons and a “Thank You note”

Almost a year ago Anastasia Siapka and I felt that we would never be able to implement our incredible ideas because all of them required the creation of a website or an application. As Law students, we didn’t have a clue about how to create such things and the people who had the technological skills, they rated them at astronomical amounts of money, which we couldn’t afford. However, we didn’t quit and we tried to learn web development by ourselves. How can someone do this will be explained to you anytime soon when you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the work of Code it Like a Girl in person.

In this post I want to share with you everything I learned the last 6 months and in order not to tire you, I start:

  1. Never say you can’t do something before you try it: How innocent I was some months ago when I was thinking that creating a website needs complex algebraic equations and is something that only geniuses that never go out of their dorms can do. It is not like that! After 3 months of sparse studying of internet sources, I managed to create mariadermentzi.com and anastasiasiapka.com. Why? Because I said: “Oh well, I will try it. If it’s successful, I will save a lot of money and I will acquire knowledge, it not, I will know that I have done everything I could.”
  2. Begin before you feel ready a.k.a “Fake it till you make it”: You have acquired some basic skills but you don’t feel ready to create what you want. Guess what… No one was born ready! Fake it till you make it and along the way you will realize that you weren’t that clueless. Let alone that this way you will force yourself to improve dramatically. Women especially tend to postpone projects until we feel 100% ready. Quoting Sheryl Sanberg from her book “Lean In” ( a must-read for every woman) “Done is better that perfect”!
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (people you know or not): When Anastasia and I decided to start Code it Like a Girl, we were alone. We didn’t know how many people we would need to launch it, but we knew that we couldn’t do it alone. So, we decided to make an open call via social media and we managed to receive over 30 applications from extremely remarkable people and 6 of them are now part of our incredible team. The interesting fact was that most of the applicants were people unknown to us, so we met a lot of people with whom we hope we can cooperate in the future. At this point, I want to thank everyone that promoted our open call, especially FEAST Thessaloniki.
  4. In your first venture don’t wait a lot from your network: I don’t know if this is true for anyone that starts something but in our own beginning just a few friends and acquaintances were interested to learn what we want to do, or even offered our help to us. It didn’t bother us at all, in fact, it was beneficial because we made new friends and expanded our network, but I just want to mention it for all of you that want to create something of your own for the first time. Find supporters that you haven’t met before, it’s going to lift your spirits when unknown people believe in your ideas. We thank Mrs. Marica Lambrou and Evita Gantina that encouraged us in the event ‘Lady Geek’ organized by GDG Thessaloniki “Playground”, just by chatting with us, to continue what we were doing for just a month back then.
  5. Don’t stop searching for people for your team if you don’t think you have found the appropriate ones: At this point, Anastasia and I are very proud because we managed to find the perfect fits in the first application round. When I am talking about fits, I am not referring just to skills, but mainly to culture and mentality. Having a good team increases motivation and support and gives you a reason to run the extra mile.
  6. Choose your external associates smartly: When you will start something new and will need to have some legal form, you will understand the importance of having good and specialized associates in fields you don’t have any clue about. Don’t be stingy, try to find someone that can even give you something more that you need. We should mention here that the first critical step is to find a good accountant. We are really happy we met Sousana Patsoumi Kalfa and Atlas Consulting, because except for her knowledge on accounting and tax, we also found the ideal mentor. She has already given us very useful advice and we thank her for being so sweet with us even if we tire her with questions. Sousana, we want to call you a friend of ours!
  7. Don’t stop reading: Reading is a source of knowledge and ideas. Every time I was reading a book, I was taking at least three ideas that could be used in Code it Like a Girl. There is always one more good book out there and you should always try to find some time every day to read.

Enough with tips! My suggestion is that if you want to start something, roll up your sleeves and do it. You will learn a lot regardless the result! As Code it Like a Girl we invite you to follow our journey and we are waiting to greet you in our workshops. Our goal is every woman who is creative and has a thirst of knowledge to join our community. Come so that we can meet you! Women, technology needs your knowledge and ideas!

Translated by Maria Piskiouli

Recent Posts