Chicago Guild

What will you do in Guild?

You’ll take on a problem in society that means something to you.

You’ll meet new people (over Zoom!).

You’ll find that you can build an app — no experience required.

In five days, Guild will teach you about technology in a way that matters.

We identify a problem that is important to people in Chicago — food insecurity — and we work together (in teams of creative women just like you!) to brainstorm improvements for food banks, the families who need them, and communities across the city.

Then, we see how those solutions can be achieved with technology.

Guild teams bring their plans to life using a program called App Lab, which makes building an app accessible even to beginners. (Check out recent examples here, here, here, and here.)

Who should apply?

You should! Guild is open to women who are high school seniors, community college students, and freshmen and sophomores at UIC.

If you are curious about technology and coding, and if you want to join a supportive community of women who are also exploring tech, Guild may be for you. Apply here.

Or, if you’re just thinking about it, talk to us: visit our Students page, fill in the “Get Involved” form, and we’ll get in touch.

Note: Though women are our primary audience, we also welcome Guild applications from individuals who belong to any group that is underrepresented in the tech world.

How does Guild benefit you?

Participating in Guild requires five days out of your schedule. But they could be the five days that put you on course toward a rewarding job.

If you like this world of technology (which many Guild participants do!) we can help you take the next steps that can lead you toward a great tech job.

Consider this: the median base salary for an iOS app developer in Chicago is $101,181, according to Built in Chicago.

Every one of these app developers had to start somewhere. Maybe you start in Guild.

So you’re interested. Here’s what’s next.

Participate at no cost!

Guild is free of charge!

In addition, we provide each participant with $200 after the conclusion of the program.

Virtual format for 2021

Break Through Tech Chicago, like all programs at the University of Illinois Chicago, follows guidelines issued by the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and the university to maintain the health and safety of participants and staff. For this reason, Guild sessions will be held virtually for now.

Equipment needed

All you need to participate in Guild is a laptop and an Internet connection, both of which we can provide on loan if you need it.

Schedule and topics

Guild sessions run Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm. During part of each day, we will spend time exploring answers to these questions: 

  • Community-building: With so much work and study being online, how can we make meaningful connections to others?
  • Design thinking: How can we work with others to understand and work on solutions to real-world problems?
  • Programming: How do I use programming tools to get user input, process data, and provide meaningful output?
  • Careers: What do industry professionals advise in their roles as mentors? What do computer science jobs look like?
  • Study: What are the next steps for me to explore a career in tech at my current school? What is the pathway to graduate with a major or minor in computer science from UIC?

Program dates and application instructions

Guild for winter 2021 will be held from Monday, January 4, to Friday, January 8, 2021.

Fill out the application (which only takes about 10 minutes) here.

Questions? Email Elena Lathos at