Computer techies unite in Saskatoon for BarCamp

This was the 10th BarCamp Saskatoon has hosted. The event serves as a user-generated tech conference and networking opportunity. This years speakers talked about everything from bitcoins to online gaming.

Event draws software developers, IT masters and sophisticated coders

Saskatoon's 10th BarCamp drew software developers, IT masters and sophisticated coders to the Greenbryre Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

The event is user-generated in the sense that everyone who attends the free tech camp, is expected to contribute in some way to the activities of the day.

BarCamp drew in Saskatoon's tech/internet obsessed software and IT professionals, artists, activists, musicians, designers. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

At Saturday's BarCamp there were dozens of attendees, 11 of whom gave specific talks on their specific area of computing finesse.

Some women might have the idea that it is a boys club if you are a programmer...but it's not really like that at all,- Marli Bells

Marli Bells was one of them. She holds a degree in Computer Science from the University of Saskatchewan and works at Zu, a Saskatoon-based tech company.

Eleven different speakers gave talks at Saskatoon's 10th BarCamp - on everything from bitcoin to online gaming.

Bells is also an avid computer coder. Her talk revolved around get more people involved with the Ladies Learning Code group in Saskatchewan.

"I am really interested in outreach into the community, [so that] people can be aware that computer science is an option for a career or even a hobby," Bells said. "I am from a small town and we didn't have any computer science classes in my high school so I didn't even consider it until I was in university."

Bells said she thinks more women don't get involved with computer programming because of some common misconceptions about the field.

"Some women might have the idea that it is a boys club if you are a programmer, where you're going to be working in the basement with a lot of guys and it is kind of not really your scene," Bells said. 

"But its not really like that at all. When you are in the workplace you work with awesome people, both men and women, and everyone is really professional and it is super fun. I think people just don't give it a chance."

Ladies Learning Code (LLC) is a Toronto-based not-for-profit organization that runs workshops for women who want to learn beginner-friendly computer programming and other technical skills.

Bells plans to hold Saskatoon's first LLC workshop at the University of Saskatchewan on January 11th. To get involved visit ladieslearningcode.com. 

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