Thank you Women Who Code for the opportunity to attend Tech Inclusion 2017 in Seattle. I highly recommend that other women apply for the give-aways in the emails.
As a woman in technology, I consider myself an identifiable minority. When I started my career as a software developer at major high tech industrial company in Canada, I was one of four female software developers in around forty in total. I appreciate being able to choose my profession and be employed in what is still considered to be a male dominated field. Not everyone is this lucky. The numbers of women going into tech has even dropped recently, according to Saara Romu from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who gave a discussion on the attitudes and data of women and work.
Tech Inclusion is about making these kinds of opportunities possible, and more. Throughout the event there was a common theme of being true, authentic, and driving change. Many of the things we think about inclusiveness and diversity, but maybe were not brave enough to say, were brought out into the open. We were encouraged to think critically about the world around us, and challenged to move forward and do what we can to effect change.
Galvanize in Seattle's Pioneer Square district was easy to reach by transit. There was both an interpreter for the deaf, as well as a video screen near the front in the main stage with textual transcription of what was being said. All rooms had this screen that seemed like it was voice-recognition-based, and was a really cool way of incorporating this technology which worked quite well.
All gender restrooms:
This was my first time walking into multi-stall restroom not knowing if I would see a guy in there or not. Later I was standing beside a guy washing my hands and I decided I did not mind. The novelty or surprise seemed to have worn off.
Some of the soda bottles must have been pre-shaken as I saw numerous ones explode, emptying mainly all over the person opening them and then onto the floor.
Mohawks are back, but less spikey than in the 80's.
The panel with Leslie Ekas, Bridget Frey, Tammarrian Rogers and Kim Vu was particularly awesome.
They gave career development advice. Networking is important for growing your career as well as finding allies, sponsors, and friends. To enable this, join non-profit boards, corporate boards, and scale up and build relationships with people outside your job network. Learn how to communicate and build productive relationships.
The panelists also talked about life lessons. Career is about intention. Ask yourself: what are your values? Why am I here and doing what am I doing. This will help drive you. Find the incongruence between what you are doing and why you want to do it. Be honest. Where are you and where do you want to go? Comparing yourself against others is like going down a rabbit hole.
Be intentional and reconnect to why you are doing what you are doing. Examine intention and ask yourself, how am I experiencing this journey? Be very aware of each other and what is going on with everyone. Connect to one another and have an interest in each other. The more you have the more you want to give. Take care of your neighbors. Life is worthwhile if others have what they need.
Make sure your family understands what you are working toward. Balance your work life deadlines with your physical and psychological needs. Learn how to coach and give value back. You will learn more while teaching than your students will.
Also some great book recommendations:
On the whole this event was different than I expected. It was more about how we work together, rather than about the content or substance of what we are working on. I learned so much!