You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.
Women are increasing visible in the IT space, including the burgeoning field of cryptocurrency. It’s not possible to know everything, but the experience you acquire is invaluable. And if someone with experience offers their knowledge, then you should take advantage. Today we talk with women in the industry and get advice in a friendly environment from Elena Sinelnikova FOUNDER AND CEO CryptoChicks and Natalia Ameline CO-FOUNDER CryptoChicks
Elena Sinelnikova, FOUNDER AND CEO CryptoChicks
– Your company with Natalia Ameline, CryptoChicks carries an educational mission. Tell us about the desire to share knowledge of blockchain technology with other women?
– It was extremely difficult when we started learning blockchain with Natalia a few years ago. There were bits and pieces of information here and there. In order to understand and put pieces together you needed to be really tech savvy. Luckily we were. We both have a computer science degree and a strong math background. At the same time we started to attend meetups and conferences and noticed that we sometimes were nearly the only women in a room. That is when we came up with the idea to help other women and get them involved with blockchain technology. We created workshops where we explained the technology in simple, understandable language, and held them in a women-only environment. That was back in July 2017. The interest from women was and stays overwhelming.
– What exactly is your educational background, and how do you stay on top of all the rapid developments in blockchain?
– We both have Master’s degrees in Computer Science, and are strong in math. I have 20 years of software architecture and development experience, and Natalia has 20 years of experience in Finance. She is also getting her degree in cryptocurrency. It all helps, and when we’re able, we like to challenge ourselves and participate in blockchain hackathons. We also keep in touch with the latest technology news and interview existing blockchain companies about their experience and challenges. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date.
– You are based in Canada. The topic of blockchain and crypto currencies, I’m sure, is of interest to women around the world. Are you planning to expand your offerings to countries outside of Canada?
– We just started to record our workshops and make them available through our website for everyone to watch. We are also looking for international partners to have our workshops translated to other languages and delivered to women abroad. In the future, we see ourselves as a global educational hub for women.
– Let’s talk about the courses itself. Who are your listeners? Not all women have a background in IT, but they are nonetheless interested in the field. What’s the format for your classes?
– We have our lessons in the form of a workshop presentation, where we also answer a lot of questions. We explain technology in simple language. I even practice on my 10 year old when preparing for the presentation. The easier, the better. I know our listeners appreciate it very much. We constantly hear from them that our workshops help them the most. We focus primarily on women. We love teaching women in a women-only environment. It’s a priceless experience – they are so active, have so many questions, have so much to share. But occasionally we hold co-ed workshops where men are invited as well and lately, we have been getting a lot of interest from them. They want to learn from us and we don’t mind sharing.
– I often talk with women who are founders of IT companies, coin developers, programmers and they are all talented and intelligent people, including you and Natalia. What do you think attracts women to the IT industry?
– I can only speak for myself. I was always into technology; its changing and challenging nature feeds my curiosity and need for variety. As a software developer, I am building software out of thin air. This is truly magical. Blockchain, in its turn, is a technology without borders. It not only allows users to build applications, it also connects people of all races and ranks. You can’t beat that.
– We are organizing an all-female blockchain hackathon on April 6-8, 2018 at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. You can register to participate at http://cryptochickshackathon.com . We encourage all women to participate regardless of their knowledge or experience in blockchain. The purpose of this hackathon is in line with our mission to improve gender diversity in the blockchain space. For that, we acquired sponsorship from http://BlockGeeks.com, who will make all of their online courses free for our hackers. The idea is to teach women blockchain development before the event and provide them with an opportunity to practice their skills right away on a real project during the 36-hours of hacking. While our hackers work on their projects, we will also be running a conference, where we invite female leaders of the blockchain space to speak about their knowledge and experience. For the conference itself, there is no restriction – all genders are welcome to attend. We have so many topics to offer and so many great speakers from different countries so everyone can benefit. At the end of the conference, hackers will have an opportunity to present their work in front of the audience and judges. I hope many of them will be able to find jobs in the blockchain space as a result.
– Started in 2018. Which calendar of events is scheduled for this year at CryptoChicks?
– We publish our events on our website https://cryptochicks.ca
– According to the statistics of CryptoCapitalNews, half of our readers are women. What would you like to say to our female readership?
– I would like to congratulate them for getting involved in this fascinating world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and wish for them to stay curious, current and proactive. This technology will survive and thrive if we all do our part in supporting it.
Natalia Ameline, CO-FOUNDER CryptoChicks
– There are many coins in the market, not all of them as famous as Bitcoin or Ethereum, but behind each coin there is an idea and a team that develops it. Does your company help connect people with blockchain developer skill sets with employers?
Yes, you are right, the blockchain industry is booming and it drives the demand for specialists in this market niche. At the same time, there is a growing number of organizations within the space that are looking to build more balanced and diversified teams. We’ve been approached by several organizations asking for our help with recruitment of female talent. During our seminars and various industry events we meet many talented women eager to contribute to the growth of this exciting industry. Connecting this female talent with potential employers is a natural fit for CryptoChicks and goes very well with our vision of becoming a global hub for female talent in blockchain industry.
– You organize educational classes for women. Do you have plans to grow these classes into something like a school that issues certificates?
– We’ve identified three key areas for our long-term growth strategy: expanding our existing operations to different geographies, providing employment opportunities by connecting female talent with potential employers, and developing a program for kids, specifically girls, which in the long term will contribute to improving women’s participation in STEM fields.
Certification is a different and complex issue. Today, for example, there are no clear universal requirements or milestones for achieving certified developer designation. This gap needs to be addressed in the near future and we hope that foundations behind individual blockchain platforms will take a leadership role in working with communities to develop such standards.
–You must be excited about your upcoming Hackathon + Conference. Along with the recognition, what can the winners expect?
– Yes, we are looking forward to this event which is already creating a lot of excitement in the community. We believe that our event will provide the needed exposure to great female talent including both established entrepreneurs as well as aspiring leaders and students.
We are partnering with MaRS, the innovation leader, who has a long history of supporting initiatives around diversity and inclusion, as well as Blockgeeks, who will be providing free education to hackathon participants. These partnerships elevate this event to a different level and make participation in it that much more sought after. We’re also looking for sponsors to showcase their businesses and connect with our female blockchain hackers.
There absolutely will be prizes for the winners and runner ups but at this point we aren’t divulging the details. Let us assure you though that no one will be disappointed.
You can get involved in this event at https://cryptochickshackathon.com
— Natalia & Elena, thank you for the interview.