How to Get Involved

By Marti Pates and Evan Thomas

Women leaders in technology are taking the initiative to help others succeed in a male-dominated industry through mentoring and education. Here are five Chicago-based organizations helping women and girls look beyond the ratio and toward a successful career.

ARA Chicago

About: The goal for ARA, which is pronounced “aura” and stands for Attract, Retain, and Advance, is to nurture the relationships among women in the information technology industry.
Benefits: ARA works with its mentors and mentees in two ways: through quarterly events that range from panel and round-table discussions and speed-mentoring sessions.
How to Join: Go to their website, sign up, and ARA will set you up with a mentor to help you set realistic goals and provide you with advice to help you achieve them.

Chicago Women Developers

About: A group of women from a variety of background and technical expertise who are passionate about coding. The group has a variety of classes and events at all technical skill levels.
Benefits: There are weekly events designed to create a space for women to code together and find study buddies who can help develop specific skills and expertise.
How to Join: Visit their website, click join and send CWD your information to receive the dates for the next meeting.

Chicago Girls Computing

About: This group encourages young women to get involved with technology. Chicago Girls in Computing provides girls and young women with support and mentorship as they explore the world of technology.
Benefits: Monthly meetings allow girls to discuss problems they are facing as well as ask questions. There are brief classes covering different aspects of technology, such as programming, or robotics. Meetings are focused on why it is important to stay involved in computing and meet women who are already in the field.
How to Join: Email the group directly at with your personal info and ask to join.

Girl Develop It

About: An international organization that exists to provide affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software development through mentorship and hands-on instruction. The group’s mission is to make software development easy, affordable and accessible to all women.
Benefits: Mentorship, hands-on instruction when it comes to learning coding. Classes and events focused on software development, as well as improving career opportunities and confidence.
How to Join: Go here and RSVP for the classes/events you want to attend.

Society of Women Engineers

About: A national organization that seeks to give women engineers more voice within the engineering industry and helps them innovate and succeed.
Benefits: Scholarships ($700,000 distributed in 2014), awards, events, career fairs, as well as online courses and podcasts
How to Join: For more information on how to apply for scholarships or how to become a member, visit the Society of Women Engineers.

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