How an All-Women Team Won a 21-Day Coding Challenge

In October, Lighthouse Labs ran a 21-Day JavaScript coding challenge. When I saw that the winning team will be featured on the Lighthouse Labs blog, I decided to create a team for my Women in Web Development Facebook group. I wanted to put female developers on the map!

We won the Overall Leaderboard with 638 points, over 100 points more than the second team.

However, because most of my 130+ team members were not from Canada, we did not win the team prize, and therefore, will not be featured on the blog.

My whole motivation was to celebrate female developers, and I decided that just because we aren’t going to be featured by Lighthouse, it doesn’t mean that I can’t share our story!

The Numbers

Total team members: 130+
We actually hit the team cap, and the ones who didn’t make it onto the team officially coded along in the Slack channel.

Total Points: 638

Number of people who completed the challenge: 30.38 (638 / 21 Days)
Each completed challenge earns us a 1 point, so making a best guess here about how many people completed the challenge.

Congratulations to all members who completed the challenge: Christina Kopecky, Manvi Kapoor, Alma Sanchaz, Melanee Tessler, Fernanda Toledo, Mary Anne Woodman, Miriam Peskowitz, Jessie Johnston, Maya, Maria Lach, Rose Wan, and Karen Kua. (If you’re a member who completed the challenge, let me know and I’ll add you to the list.)

Completion Rate: 23%
This is twice as high the completion rate for the challenge overall (602 completed out of 4882 total participants – or 12%)!

Members’ Experience

“I loved the 21-day challenge, and doing it with new friends, and our slack channel made it so easy to ask for help, and to learn more. So much of JS programming is rendering to the DOM; I appreciated learning how to program functions in JS. Thanks Jenny!” – Miriam Peskowitz

“I loved working through these challenges – it helped to solidify that I kinda actually know how to code and help beat down that imposter syndrome feeling that I sometimes get when I feel like I don’t know enough, can’t know enough, and will never know enough to get a job.” -Christina Kopecky

How We Got the Biggest Team

The Women in Web Dev Facebook group is an active community with over 1,400 members, so many of the team members came from there. I also invited members from another female-only coding Facebook group. As soon as we hit over 100 members, I decided not to advertise it further since I wanted to make sure everyone could get the help that they needed.

How Members Were Supported

Slack group
We moved off of Facebook to Slack because you can actually format code snippets in Slack.

Since we completed the challenge at different paces, I created individual channels for each challenge to prevent people from seeing spoilers. If someone is struggling with a particular challenge, they can go to the appropriate channel to get help. This system worked quite well!

Our Slack group in action

With over 130 members, I worried about everyone getting the support they needed. The community really stepped up and helped each other, and everyone who had questions got help quickly! In particular, Christina Kopecky and Alma Sanchez were very active and responsive.

Tutorial Videos
Many members were new to Javascript. They did not understand multi-dimensional arrays or know how to see what their code was doing. In response, I created a few videos: 1) What is the GRID? and 2) How to Use the Browser Console

I also kept members in the loop with rule clarification and hints. For example, when the wrong email went out about using for loops for that day’s challenge , I let my members know that they didn’t need a loop.

Last Thoughts

I’m really proud of the team and what we’ve achieved! I’m bummed that we won’t be featured; however, it’s a blessing in disguise, because it made me realized that the only person silencing our story was myself.

I don’t need anyone’s permission nor any particular outlet to tell it, and that’s a much more valuable lesson than any feature I can get.

If you know a female developer, tell them about our amazing Facebook Group. If you are a female developer and want to join, please answer the Pending Member questions to be approved.

Featured Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Hi, I'm Jenny. I'm a developer with 3 years of experience. Welcome to the most supportive community for female developers!

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