On April 27th, Scout24 hosted Girl’s Day for the second time. The event took place both at ImmobilienScout24 in Berlin and at AutoScout24 in Munich. Nineteen girls between 11 and 15 years participated in Berlin whereas twelve girls joined our colleagues in Munich.
Each year Girls’ Day is hosted by many companies in fields with a rather low representation of women to inspire girls to pursue those career paths. As a tech company, we at Scout24 want the girls to experience our working environment by introducing to them not only to the products we build, but also to the professions and positions that are needed to build them!
As for ImmobilienScout24, we started the day at 9am with breakfast in our canteen called ScoutCasino, followed by an introduction to the day’s schedule and a crash course in agile teamwork. After this, a tour through the building followed, showing different areas such as the lobby, the lounge area with table soccer and table tennis, the ScoutBar and our User Lab.
Inside the User Lab
In the User Lab, Alexander Kurt, one of ImmobilienScout24’s UX researchers, introduced the girls to the way we conduct user experience studies for new features on our website and in the mobile apps. The User Lab consists of two rooms, one where users test the website or the apps, assisted by a UX expert. In the other observation room, more UX experts, designers or developers can observe the user’s reaction to the introduced features through a unilateral transparent glass wall and cameras. Testers are of course informed about this beforehands.
A user is supposed to “think out loud’’ during the whole process. Additionally, an eye tracker is used to gather additional information about her or his experience. The girls were very curious about UX research, asking many smart questions, such as “How can we find the right people to test the website and apps?” or “How many people are enough to test a new feature?”
Workshops in HTML/CSS and Data Analytics
ImmobilienScout24 offered two workshops which made up the main part of the day: HTML and CSS and Data Analytics. The HTML and CSS workshop was organised by Christin Westermann and Myrtha Fuog, both programmers at ImmobilienScout24. The thirteen participating girls received all necessary material on USB sticks that they could use on our computers and take home to continue learning afterwards.
First, an introduction to the very basics of HTML5 and CSS3 was given. Then, nine software engineers, including myself, volunteered to act as coaches when the girls wrote their first own HTML snippets. The morning ended with a lunch break at the ScoutCasino and some table tennis and table soccer afterwards. In the afternoon, the girls were able to put their newly gained knowledge to the test by working on individual projects!
Similar to the ImmobilienScout24 website, where a user has a search result list of real estates and can inspect the details of each one, the girls’ task was to create the content of an imaginary real estate search list. Each girl could pick a house from a provided list and create her own website in the form of an exposé of that house. This part was a lot of fun for both the girls and the coaches! I thought it was such a good exercise how the girls learnt from and with each other while building their websites. It was exciting to see their various designs and approaches. Some of them were keen to continue learning programming and by the end of the workshop some even expressed their interest in studying computer science in the future.
In parallel to the HTML and CSS course, Jennifer Ahrens, Pricing Analyst at ImmobilienScout24, offered Data Analytics course. First, she asked the girls to express their understanding of data analytics and then followed up with more information about the topic. Again, some colleagues volunteered as coaches, showing some practical examples of A/B testing, regional pricing and more to the girls. The girls and Jennifer then started to work on data sets using Google Sheet. They created hypotheses about what they expected to find in the given data and then concluded whether the hypothesis was valid or had to be rejected. In the afternoon, they learned about visualizing data by creating diagrams and gained insights into the meaning of a decision tree and how it can be used to make predictions.
The Outcome and What We Have Learnt
After all the afternoon workshops, the girls shared their impressions with us in a retrospective. We were happy to hear that most of the feedback was very positive: Many said that they had learned a lot while also having fun and they were grateful for the close attention of the coaches that had answered their many questions. Also, many expressed being surprised about how much work it actually requires to program a website but said they were inspired to learn more nevertheless. All in all, the girls said they enjoyed the general atmosphere and appreciated the food, playing table tennis / soccer and the little giveaways they had received. But our favorite feedback was one girl’s statement: She said she was surprised to see that people working in tech are not necessarily boring after all!
I have to say, it was a very interesting and fun experience for me as a coach to share some knowledge with those girls and maybe inspire some of them to join the tech world! And I was definitely inspired by their ideas and their motivation.
Want to see more? Watch the recap video of our Girls’ Day.
About me: I joined ImmobilienScout24 in October 2016 as an iOS software engineer and participated in Girls’ Day 2017 as a coach for HTML/CSS.