Etsy offering female programmers $5,000 grants to attend Hacker School

This whole program sounds pretty cool. Three months of full-time, intensive hacking school:

Hacker School is a three-month, full-time school in New York for becoming a better programmer. We’re free as in beer, and provide space, a little structure, time to focus, and a friendly community of smart builders dedicated to self-improvement.

Unlike most schools, there are no grades, teachers, or formal curricula. Instead, Hacker School is entirely project-based.

We have a morning check-in at the start of each day. During this time we close our laptops and share what we worked on the previous day, what we plan to do that day, and where we’re stuck or need help. This social pressure keeps everyone focused and accomplishing what they say they will. It also fights scope creep, because someone in the group will surely notice when your spell-checker starts turning into an OS.

There are no formal instructors at Hacker School. Rather, everyone is a de facto teacher, which works because everyone enters Hacker School at different levels of development. Some people are much more advanced than others, but everyone has something to share. The primary expectations are that people start with at least a general programming proficiency and finish much better than they started.

While Hacker School is itself free, living in New York for three months without a full-time job isn’t. These hacker grants are going towards making it possible for women without means to attend the school. Etsy is a site that attracts a large female audience, and it makes sense that Etsy would want to help train more female hackers, as theywould probably love more female programmers to help design features that appeal to their core audience.

This application period is over, and there are no more grants to be had. I’ll be interested to see if this lead to more female programmers at Hacking School this summer.

Some people (see the comments) are upset that these grants are female only. I don’t have an issue with that. The lack of female programmers is a real issue.

More female programmers means more good programmers, and we all benefit from that. Beyond that, too much of what gets built is male-centric or comes from companies and teams that are narrowly built. Who knows what kinds of applications could be built with more female programmers. And getting more mixed-sex teams working together on projects could have a significant impact on what is created.