Thinking of taking a HackerYou workshop? Jump right in. You won’t regret it.

Anna Starasts

October 16, 2012

This post originally appeared on the HackerYou blog on October 16, 2012. HackerYou is a new program from the team at Ladies Learning Code that offers hands-on, project-based learning about tech taught by industry professionals. You can read the original post here. 

As a fan of Ladies Learning Code, I was really curious to try a workshop with HackerYou. My work as a Community Manager in the Toronto tech space places me at the intersection of technology, social media, marketing and branding. I’m always on the hunt for ways to stay current on all of these areas.

After taking my first HackerYou workshop, Introduction to Social Network Analysis using Excel, I can now say that I’m also a big fan of HackerYou because they gave me exactly what I was looking for: a chance to learn something new about the tech and digital space in a bite-sized, practical and engaging way.

My workshop was led by Ashley Beattie, who guided us through 3.5 hours of serious social media data digging (with patience and humour to boot). Co-founder of social network consultancy Social Insight Agency, Ashley also has spent many years working for the Navy doing Social Network and Organizational Analysis. And I don’t mean that he manages their Twitter account; he helps the Navy improve their operations by studying the network of people involved in getting a job done within the organization, then figuring out how these tasks could be performed more efficiently.

Since the workshop was a room full of young professionals, Ashley focused on how we could analyse social networks with business and branding goals in mind. For example, by running certain types of analysis on your company’s Twitter network we could discover influential micro-communities in your industry that we didn’t know existed, or pinpoint who might make a great early ambassador for a new product we’re working on. To perform social network analysis on the spot, we tapped into the public data available from the APIs of Facebook and Twitter, then used open-source applications (NodeXL and Gephi) to analyze this information and turn it into brilliant visual models. I had never run an analysis like this before, so I found it to be a fresh and interesting way of looking at an online community.

When we wrapped up, I felt like I had met some interesting new people, learned a few new tricks about social media and grown about a million new brain cells (whatever was happening up there, I definitely had a few “ah-ha” moments).  If this sounds up you alley, check out Ashley’s next HackerYou workshop, Problem Solving with Excel.

Living in Toronto, we’re lucky to have access to so many rich resources to enhance our tech literacy. There’s no doubt that with HackerYou workshops, the founders of Ladies Learning Code have done it again: adding something fun, interesting and valuable to our local tech community.

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